Republican Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) is touting a new book in which he slams the Trump administration and states that Republicans are “in denial” about how dysfunctional our country’s government has become.
Flake’s new book, “The Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle” hearkens back to then-Arizona GOP Sen. Barry Goldwater’s 1960 book, “Conscience of a Conservative,” in which he writes that the country has entered “one of the more reckless periods of politics in our history.”
“Who could blame the people who felt abandoned and ignored by the major parties for reaching in despair for a candidate who offered oversimplified answers to infinitely complex questions and managed to entertain them in the process? With hindsight, it is clear that we all but ensured the rise of Donald Trump,” Flake writes. An excerpt of the politically-charged book was published in Monday’s Politico Magazine.
Flake acknowledged that liberals have “their own sins” to answer for, but points out that when Obama took office, conservatives “stated that our No. 1 priority was not advancing a conservative policy agenda but making Obama a one-term president” instead of working to advance the interests of the American people.
He writes that 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.”
Flake further writes, “It was we conservatives who were largely silent when the most egregious and sustained attacks on Obama’s legitimacy were leveled by marginal figures who would later be embraced and legitimized by far too many of us. It was we conservatives who rightly and robustly asserted our constitutional prerogatives as a co-equal branch of government when a Democrat was in the White House but who, despite solemn vows to do the same in the event of a Trump presidency, have maintained an unnerving silence as instability has ensued.”
The lawmaker goes on to point out that the phenomenon of Trump is completely out of control, and it’s time to admit this truth. “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,” says Flake.
“The government of the United States has been made dysfunctional at the highest levels, especially by the actions of one’s own party.”
He goes on to say that lawmakers are standing idly by, watching the White House drama play out, “all but saying, ‘Someone should do something!’ without seeming to realize that that someone is us. And so, that unnerving silence in the face of an erratic executive branch is an abdication, and those in positions of leadership bear particular responsibility.”
Flake makes several suggestions of ways in which lawmakers should counteract the era of Trump, urging them to “[s]peak out if the president ‘plays to the base’ in ways that damage the Republican Party’s ability to grow and speak to a larger audience. Second, Republicans need to take the long view when it comes to issues like free trade: Populist and protectionist policies might play well in the short term, but they handicap the country in the long term. Third, Republicans need to stand up for institutions and prerogatives, like the Senate filibuster, that have served us well for more than two centuries.”
Flake made the same types of comments on Sunday’s “Face the Nation,” adding that he believes the Republican Party has “lost its way” in the Trump era.
“I felt that, just like Goldwater had felt in his time, 56 years ago, when he wrote the original ‘Conscience of a Conservative,’ that the Party had lost its way,” Flake said, calling for the GOP to begin working with Democrats instead of opposing them and considering them to be “enemies.”
Flake also made headlines Monday when he agreed with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that abolishing the 60-vote rule and going back to a 51-vote procedure will never happen, following the measure being suggested by Trump.
“I don’t want to lurch back and forth every couple of years from one extreme to the other,” Flake said Monday. “Those rules are there for a reason. They’re good. … They invite us to work across the aisle.”
Sen. Ron Johnson, (R-Wis.) said Monday in agreement, “We’re moving forward. Maybe set this aside while we do tax reform, but we have to continue working on his healthcare system because ObamaCare is a mess.”
It’s been reported that Flake will be running for re-election in 2018. See video below of Flake’s book promotion:
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