I can hear it already: the intolerant left strikes again! I do not care. If I’m never forced to hear, read, or otherwise consume another utterance from Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, it will be too soon.
Today’s Flake headline, from The Hill: “Jeff Flake: I hope that somebody runs in primary against Trump.” A deeply boring headline followed by even more boring, middle of the road remarks from Flake, who said he’s hoping from the sidelines that someone, anyone, is brave enough to take on Donald Trump in the Republican presidential primary so that members of his own party can be “reminded of what conservatism really is and what it means to be decent.”
“We haven’t had that kind of politics lately,” Flake also said.
Oh, interesting. Should we interpret “that kind of politics” to be making a big show over your hand-wringing reservations about Trump’s latest Supreme Court nominee before, of course, absolutely of course, voting with his apparently wayward party to put Brett Kavanaugh on the high court anyway?
A quick refresher: a few months after putting out a book gallingly titled The Conscience of a Conservative, Flake announced he wouldn’t be running for re-election back in October 2017, a million years ago. Shortly after, he took to the Senate floor to deliver an impassioned speech in which he—a man who officially had nothing to lose, politically speaking—criticized Trump and the Republicans, saying he could no longer be “complicit” with their bad deeds, saying he has “children and grandchildren to answer to.”
Fine, OK. But Flake has not gone quietly. This wise, tanned statesman is very worried for the direction of the country, you see, and he’s using his waning moments in the spotlight to promote himself while calling for a return to decency in glossy profile after glossy profile
Ever since then, Flake has been mildly criticizing Trump on points of style, but not substance. He’s voted to support Trump’s agenda 84 percent of the time, per FiveThirtyEight’s tracking. The media has given him broad leeway to do what they are too scared to: criticizing Trump directly, albeit in a milquetoast, toothless way. Enough.
His words are meaningless and hollow. They soothe no one, except perhaps Flake’s own conscience. He couldn’t do the one goddamn thing that could have made a difference, and actually taken a stand on Kavanaugh. Instead, he proved himself completely useless once again, and we’ll be likely feel the ramifications for the rest of our lives.
I’ll stomach no more of his bluster. Flake is retiring after this term, an action verb that doesn’t adequately capture just how agonizingly drawn out his long goodbye to his seat of power has been. We can’t, unfortunately, do much to hasten his exit from the Senate and the public stage. But we can ignore him until he goes away, hopefully never to be heard from again. Good riddance cannot come soon enough.