Reporter Mark Leibovich, who specializes in political personality profiles, filed another one Monday: A front-page story on Elizabeth Cheney, daughter of the former vice president and an emerging political influence in her own right.
More specifically, Leibovich specializes in celebratory profiles of Democrats, like the "compelling...pop culture icon" Al Gore, and in snotty profiles of Republicans, including Elizabeth's father Dick Cheney. His profile of Elizabeth Cheney, "New Cheney Taking Stage For the G.O.P.," insisted she's displaying "cable-ready ferocity" against President Obama on TV.
Liz Cheney looks nothing like her father, but it is clear who he is. She was introduced as "our favorite vice president's daughter" at a recent gathering of conservative women here. She kept invoking him in her speech, conveying his best regards, and likes to share cute stories about Dad trying to master his new BlackBerry.
Like her father, Ms. Cheney speaks in understated, almost academic cadences, head veering down into her notes. She also shares his willingness to pummel President Obama in stark, disdainful tones, not so much criticizing as taunting him.
Leibovich hints that the "hawkish" views of Elizabeth Cheney (and by extension those of her father) are out of the political mainstream:
It is a source of debate whether "Cheney" is an asset or a liability for this 43-year-old lawyer and former State Department official who keeps turning up on TV, at lecterns and in discussions about future Republican candidates. There is also the question of whether the "Cheney message" on national security - which essentially translates to an aggressive and interventionist approach - is something the Republican Party should be trumpeting, or burying.
What is clear is that Ms. Cheney, at a minimum, has become a rallying point for conservative views on national security. In a broader sense, she is being promoted as a rising star of the Republican Party, one who is hardly shying from the Cheney brand. (She is married to the lawyer Phillip Perry, but uses her maiden name.)
Working with only a Yahoo account, Ms. Cheney has been fielding dozens of speaking and interview requests a month, accepting many. (She declined to be interviewed for this article, saying she was uncomfortable with a story focused on her rather than her policy beliefs.) She is scheduled to appear at fund-raisers for Republican candidates through the rest of the year, and is a co-founder of a Web site, KeepAmericaSafe.com, that is scheduled to go online next month as a forum, resource and publication devoted to hawkish conservative views.
She argues her father's positions with a cable-ready ferocity reminiscent of her mother, Lynne (a former regular on CNN's "Crossfire").
I usually strip out the embedded links when I cut and paste quotes from nytimes.com, but I left in the link in the next paragraph to show Leibovich's source for his unflattering anecdote on Cheney - the left-wing media watchdog Media Matters. While the Times has just appointed an editor to monitor conservative media, it has no trouble finding story ideas on left-wing blogs:
Mr. Obama is "an American president who seems to be afraid to defend America," she told Larry King on his CNN program in an appearance that drew notice when Ms. Cheney appeared not to contest a suggestion that the president had not been born in the United States.
Leibovich makes the Cheney family's "insular" closeness sound slightly ominous:
By all accounts, the Cheneys are a tight-knit and at times insular unit steeped in the family business. The extended brood all live within about 15 minutes of one another in northern Virginia. They gather for Sunday night dinners, usually at Liz's house, and travel to family homes in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and the Eastern Shore of Maryland.