Jeff Flake attempted what he thought might pass for a profile in courage yesterday on the Senate floor.
Flake, the junior Senator from Arizona, railed against the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of Trumpism, blasted his co-workers for their complicity, announced his retirement and even found time to plug his new book.
The rhetoric in the speech was soaring and eloquent, without a doubt the message was the right one at the right time. We should welcome any and all protest against Trump. But we also need to look at the substantive record of this particular act of “Resistance” and the circumstances surrounding this entry into the Congressional Record.
Flake was in deep electoral trouble prior to his retirement announcement. He was trailing by double digit percentage points in Republican primary polls to former Arizona state senator Kelli Ward, who is backed by the Bannon-Mercer caliphate. He also trailed Democratic frontrunner Kyrsten Sinema. He likely would’ve been defeated in a primary race and would’ve had trouble winning in the general election as well.
Flake, like Corker and McCain before him, is recognizing that the GOP is Trump’s party now. Does he try and stay and fight, perhaps move to the center a bit more substantively and become truly independent? Nope, that political calculus was too heavy a lift, so it’s time to do the true Washington thing and cash in, while promoting a book about your views, instead of doing tough, bi-partisan policy work.
At least McCain had the decency and basic instinct of non-sociopathic humanity to deny Trump the opportunity to rip away health insurance from tens of millions of Americans just because a black man gave it to them. Flake couldn’t must that much during the series of health care votes this past year.
That’s not the only time Flake whiffed on showing actual courage. He couldn’t bring himself to vote for a bill to provide universal background checks, even after staring Gabby Giffords in the face and talking to her about it. He voted for every single Trump cabinet member. These are votes for the conduct of thugs like Ryan Zinke who’s respect for the American public can be measured inversely in monetary value to the $300 million dollar Interior Department contract he awarded his neighbor and then divided by the number of flags he’s had raised to massage his ego.
If there were any doubt as to the hollowness of this Grand Canyon State goon, immediately after that “courageous speech” he courageously voted to block consumers from bringing class action lawsuits against big banks and credit card companies. What a way to ride off into the sunset: on the back of the CitiHorse.
Goodbye Jeff Flake. Your claim to courage holds up about as well as a snowflake in the Arizona desert.