Ed.: 102617 – Words: 1204 – Audio: N/A
Conservatives are celebrating Republican Senator Jeff Flake’s announcement yesterday that he will not seek re-election. This will not only rid Trump of a thorn of dissension in his side but also move the way toward replacing the Senator with someone more loyal and Trumpian in thought and deed. Kelli Ward tried to upset McCain in a primary race and failed… but now Flake’s retirement opens up some greater possibilities for her to step in, especially given she has Trump’s approval… so far.
Well.. all that nice stuff is great for Trump and his infamous conservative base and they can declare some kind of victory if that’s their read of all this; to them he surrendered. But.. there’s 18 months to go in Flake’s term.
Yeah, it’s very possible Sen. Flake may just spend the rest of his term slowing down and ultimately fading away from politics altogether at the end. I certainly can’t predict the future. Yet there is a wonder… why does a relatively well-liked traditional conservative Republican Senator who dislikes Trump as president, even publishes a book about his dislike, then announces his retirement for all the reasons given in that book and then some… just walk away from it all? On the surface he faces a pretty poor showing in his state polling so any re-election campaign would be a tough battle for sure… and that’s just to win the primary. Given his opponent is something akin to Trump’s mirror image the very things Trump represents will be staring him right in the face at home.
Also, it’s being bantered among the talking heads that it looks as if he’s given up in spite of the fact that his book and eloquent speech before the Senate suggests “we” must fight to not lose the soul of America. It’s also being suggested that Flake’s speech was in effect a sort of a kamikaze approach.. sacrificing his career by saying very effectively what much of America has been thinking… and calling for the Republicans in Congress to come forward and make a stand.
Is There A Greater Plan?
I would prefer to think there’s something afoot going on. Maybe there’s some collusion between Flake and McCain since they are buddies… maybe it’s all three, Flake, McCain, and Corker. All three have limited political futures… and all three have a dislike for Trump being president. Maybe these guys are going to spend their last days in office verbally attacking Trump like Minutemen taking pot shots from the woods.. maybe they are lying in wait for the next Trump buffoonery. Maybe… they will be an active part of impeaching the president; perhaps waiting until Mueller’s investigation results… although there’s enough to impeach without waiting for Mueller; after all it doesn’t take much to impeach, as the Bill Clinton debacle so aptly illustrated.
The Take Away From Flake’s Speech
“We were not made great as a country by indulging or even exalting our worst impulses, turning against ourselves, glorying in the things which divide us, and calling fake things true and true things fake.”
(from his speech)
What caused all this anger is a combination of many things; a kind of perfect storm of conditions all kicked into action by Trump’s caustic behavior. There is an element in the current right wing conservative ideology that feeds on this vitriolic anger; the idea that any vestige of liberal ideology is pure evil incarnate. That there is no room for compromise because the right feels their way is the only way. They honestly believe that the Second Amendment is the only amendment, and the First Amendment is ok… if they only agree with what you are saying. I am not saying this is only the far right neo-racists either. Much of this has slipped into mainstream conservatism as well. Just visit any conservative blog; it’s rare to find one not into anger and name-calling… and they actually have the audacity to assign a Christian “divine battle” into it all.
The internet is a reflection of our society and the rapid distribution of opinion gives even the smallest causes a large megaphone. Trump has inspired all this reaction and has awoken a groundswell of despondency from that part of the population that feels economically disenfranchised because of changing markets, changing economy, progressive politics to simply keep up with a changing world. Change is inevitable and conservatism needs to adapt to the changing world. Liberalism has to change to adapt to this same changing world; the need to accept personal responsibility for one’s actions and performance in life cannot be offset by imposing more government intervention.
To a large part it’s been the advancement in technology that has brought us to this struggle for ideological attention. The days of assuming our freedoms are tied only to how effectively we circle the wagons to protect us from the outside forces are way gone. Globalization is here to stay. You learn to lead, follow, or get out of the way. Right now it’s the “get out of the way” people who are angry; the worker bees of the old working class who want the old ways.
What Trump wants to do is isolate us and it is beginning to work; our national power, prestige, and with it our respect and admiration in world leadership has been sliced off in exchange for grabbing at some economic ghosts of the past. This is what Trump has given us… and by doing so he has taken it away. So far it’s been Trump’s bravado alone that keeps his base hungry for more… and accepting his moral deficiencies, to them, is a small price to pay toward meeting their needs of being pissed at the world.
Jeff Flake is absolutely correct in what he said in his speech.
Will Others Follow His Example?
Certainly not in droves; likely in a small trickle over time, if at all. This is a big decision for the average Congressperson because it pulls against their obligation to their constituents, loyalty to the party, and the internal personal struggle in what is morally right vs. passing laws as if nothing was going on. Trump has turned the entire issue into a culture war. What’s left of his conflicted base could really care not one way or the other if he does anything regarding his agenda and the more chaos is the measure of Trump’s success.
Is it important that others follow Jeff Flake’s example? Not likely. People can certainly act quietly if they so choose. There are so many cards floating up in the air that could dictate any number of future outcomes for Trump personally, Congress specifically, and most importantly the future of America.
Conservatives might want to hold off on the celebration; after all, the opera isn’t over until the fat lady sings.