Lynne Cheney Fought Cultural Left

By Duin, Julia | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), July 26, 2000 | Go to article overview

Lynne Cheney Fought Cultural Left


Duin, Julia, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Lynne V. Cheney, wife of Republican vice-presidential candidate Richard B. Cheney, is a favorite of the political and religious right who is best known for her opposition to political correctness in academia.

Her doctorate in 19th-century British literature and chairmanship of the National Endowment for the Humanities from 1986 to 1993 under Presidents Reagan and Bush gives the Republican presidential team much background expertise in education reform.

"This is more like three for the price of one," Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said yesterday. "She is double good."

The Mississippi Republican added, "She was my wife's first choice. But she was the first choice of a lot of men, too. Lynne is very fine, she is very intelligent."

While at NEH, Mrs. Cheney oversaw its sponsorship of filmmaker Ken Burns' successful epic TV documentary "The Civil War," and ordered tougher standards for students in the fourth, eighth and 12th grades.

But she also turned down a $650,000 grant sought by a group of scholars and filmmakers to produce two films on Christopher Columbus for public television, on the grounds that Columbus was accused of genocide against Indians in the script. Columbus, she said, was not guilty of genocide.

In response, Stanley Katz, president of the American Council of Learned Societies, told the Chronicle of Higher Education in 1993 that Mrs. Cheney had surrounded herself with a "narrow" group of people mirroring her point of view.

Mrs. Cheney's opposition to multiculturalism is so well-known that one essayist, Jonathan Chait, writing last year for the American Prospect, called her "the leading policy assassin for right-wing cultural warriors. …

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