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Cheney's removal not first time woman has taken stand against party, professor says

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

LAWRENCE — House Republicans voted Wednesday to oust U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming from her leadership post as the conference chair. The vote was taken to repudiate Cheney’s refusal to back former president Donald Trump’s false claims about the 2020 presidential election and for voting to convict in his impeachment. The move is not the first time a woman has taken a political stand against her party, says political history expert Teri Finneman.

Teri FinnemanFinneman, associate professor of journalism & mass communications at the University of Kansas, is available to discuss Cheney’s stand and political parallels between today’s action and previous similar instances. The story is similar to what happened in 1950 with Republican Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, Finneman said.

“This isn’t the first time that a Republican woman has stood up and tried to be the conscience for her party,” said Finneman, author of “Press Portrayals of Women Politicians, 1870s- 2000s.” “In 1950, Chase Smith also took issue with what she called the ‘selfish political exploitation of fear, bigotry, ignorance and intolerance’ in relationship to Joe McCarthy’s grip on the party.”

Chase Smith’s Declaration of Conscience speech raised her national profile to the point she was considered a potential candidate for the Republican vice presidential nomination two years later. Press coverage in 1952 called her “perhaps the most successful U.S. woman politician of any year.” She would eventually run for president in 1964.

In addition to her book, Finneman has written extensively on press coverage of first ladies, the Women’s Suffrage Movement and the history of journalism, hosting the podcast “Journalism History.”

To schedule an interview, contact Mike Krings at 785-864-8860, mkrings@ku.edu or @MikeKrings.

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