Jeff Flake (R-AZ) has a surprising Op Ed at Politico calling the Republican party to account for not only creating Trump and enabling him, but also behavior towards Obama.
But we conservatives mocked Barack Obama’s failure to deliver on his pledge to change the tone in Washington even as we worked to assist with that failure. It was we conservatives who, upon Obama’s election, stated that our No. 1 priority was not advancing a conservative policy agenda but making Obama a one-term president—the corollary to this binary thinking being that his failure would be our success and the fortunes of the citizenry would presumably be sorted out in the meantime.
He then lists particular ‘sins’:
- Silence over attacks on Obama’s legitimacy to hold the office;
- Embracing and legitimizing those on the fringe who advanced those attacks;
- Hypocrisy in insisting on being a co-equal branch of government when Democrats held the White House but complete failure to do the same with Trump.
To carry on in the spring of 2017 as if what was happening was anything approaching normalcy required a determined suspension of critical faculties. And tremendous powers of denial.
He talks about how he too has been gripped by denial, not wanting to accept the disease that has taken over the Republican party.
So as I layered in my defense mechanisms, I even found myself saying things like, “If I took the time to respond to every presidential tweet, there would be little time for anything else.” Given the volume and velocity of tweets from both the Trump campaign and then the White House, this was certainly true. But it was also a monumental dodge.
He discusses the fact that while few are in a position “to do something about an executive branch in chaos”, Congress does have that power. And yet it is failing to exercise it.
We have taken our “institutions conducive to freedom,” as Goldwater put it, for granted as we have engaged in one of the more reckless periods of politics in our history. In 2017, we seem to have lost our appreciation for just how hard won and vulnerable those institutions are.
Regardless of what you think about Flake’s politics when it comes to policy, with this editorial he is doing exactly what so many of us have been asking for: putting country over party. It is brave to be one of the early voices to speak up and, finally, someone took that first step.
Thank you, Senator. We can fight over policy tomorrow. For today, we MUST stop our worrying slide into destruction.
Ok. It pays to read the fine print at the bottom of articles. The article is an excerpt from a book Flake has coming out.
Jeff Flake is a Republican senator from Arizona. This article has been excerpted from his new book, Conscience of a Conservative.