Tag Archives: Jeff Flake

Arizona’s McSally loses, concedes, all is well and good

They’re fussin’ and fightin’ in Florida and Georgia. A Democratic candidate for Florida governor concedes, then takes it back while they recount ballots. A Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, also in Florida, accuses his Democratic foe of fraud and election theft. The Democratic candidate for Georgia governor refuses to concede, even though the vote totals against her are piling up.

Meanwhile, way out yonder in Arizona, two candidates fought long and hard for a U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Jeff Flake, who didn’t seek re-election. It came down to counting mail-in ballots. The Democrat, U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, won by a narrow margin. The Republican, fellow Rep. Martha McSally, did the noble thing and conceded. She wished her opponent “success.” The fight was over.

Oh, but wait. McSally might have an ulterior motive in showing such grace. Do not misunderstand me. I applaud her for taking the path she took.

GOP Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey might be appointing a successor to Sen. Jon Kyl, whom Ducey appointed to succeed the late John McCain in the Senate, Kyl might not want to serve the full term. He might retire from the Senate yet again; he served there once already.

McSally might be positioning herself for an appointment. That’s the buzz out west. Whatever the motive, McSally’s quiet and dignified concession — juxtaposed to what we’re witnessing back east — is a refreshing thing to witness.

Sen. Flake admits it: Lame-duck status enabled compromise

Jeff Flake has admitted something many of us knew already but it still is a bit of a surprise to hear him actually acknowledge it out loud — and on national television to boot!

Sen. Flake, an Arizona Republican, appeared tonight on “60 Minutes” in the wake of his stunning proposal to delay a Senate vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. He pitched the idea that the FBI needs to conduct a week-long investigation into allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a woman when he and the accuser were teenagers.

The senators agreed with him. Flake then voted “yes” along with his 10 GOP colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee to recommend Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Then came the question from “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley: Could he have made that proposal were he running for re-election? Flake said “no.” There was no chance he could — or would — do such a thing, he said. The mood on Capitol Hill just doesn’t allow compromise. The mood is too toxic, too divisive.

Flake announced several months ago that he would leave the Senate. Since his announcement he has become a staunch critic of Donald Trump and many of his fellow Republicans. He blames the president for fomenting the politics of anger and lays blame on congressional Republicans for refusing to stand up to the president.

He talked about his week-delay compromise with a good Senate friend, Democrat Chris Coons of Delaware.

This is how it has come down. Senators and House members are having to declare their intention to retire from public life for them to show the kind of courage they ought to show even when they must face the voters at election time.

It’s a sad time, ladies and gentlemen.

Jeff Flake: profile in courage

Jeff Flake’s demonstration of political courage almost made me rethink my long-standing opposition to term limits for members of Congress.

I’ll reiterate: almost.

Flake is a Republican member of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that on Friday recommended the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to a seat on the Supreme Court. Flake is not running for re-election this year. Thus, his lame-duck status has enabled him to grow a pair of, um, stones that he otherwise likely wouldn’t have grown.

You see, Flake — after announcing his decision to support Kavanaugh’s nomination — came back to the committee hearing room and asked that the Senate delay a full confirmation vote for a week to allow the FBI to do an additional investigation into some serious allegations leveled against Kavanaugh.

Christine Blasey Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her. They were teenagers when the even allegedly occurred. She presented a compelling case against Kavanaugh. Ford persuaded me that her allegation is credible enough to disqualify Kavanaugh from obtaining this lifetime judicial appointment.

Flake was cornered in a Capitol Building elevator by two women — sexual assault survivors, apparently — who demanded that he “listen” to the concerns of other victims.

Flake responded by making his request of the Senate. The Senate agreed. The president then called on the FBI to conduct a limited probe into the allegations. It should take about a week or so to complete.

I applaud Sen. Flake for his political courage, although the courage is watered down a bit by the fact that he isn’t facing Arizona voters this fall. He is free, therefore, to speak from his heart. He did so.

If only other members of the Senate and the House of Representatives could demonstrate such guts when they have to face the voters as they seek re-election.

Having said all that, I remain committed to the notion that voters in each state and House district have it within their power to boot out scoundrels at election time.

Flake, though, must have emerged as a GOP hero in this ongoing — and terribly frustrating — political battle of wills.

‘Look at me when I talk to you!’

U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake got a first-hand lesson today on the value of “constituent service.”

He walked into an elevator and was accosted by two women who just couldn’t understand why the Arizona Republican would support the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

They pleaded with Flake to stand up for the victims of sexual assault, which Kavanaugh has been accused of committing by Christine Blasey Ford.

Flake then came back to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room and, prior to voting “yes” on recommending Kavanaugh’s confirmation by the entire Senate, asked for a one-week delay on the full Senate vote, pending the outcome of an FBI investigation into the allegations leveled against Kavanaugh.

Now, I don’t know if the women who scolded Flake were actual Arizona constituents; they likely weren’t.

But … the point is that these women had something important to say to the lame-duck Republican senator and one of them implored Flake to “Look at me when I talk to you!”

Flake did look at her and he seemingly listened to what she had to say.

The Senate has agreed to hold off for a week before voting on whether to confirm Kavanaugh’s nomination. Donald Trump has issued an order to the FBI to conduct a limited investigation into the specific allegations leveled against the man he wants to seat on the nation’s highest court.

This is representative democracy at work!

Now the SCOTUS fight is on hold, waiting for the FBI

The U.S. Senate has done the correct thing in delaying the confirmation vote on the man who wants to join the U.S. Supreme Court. It will wait a week to allow the FBI to do — presumably — a thorough check on some serious allegations leveled against Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

It all came to a head this morning when Senate Judiciary Committee member Jeff Flake asked for the delay, sought the FBI investigation and seemed to attach his upcoming Senate vote on whether the Republican leadership would agree to his request.

It did. So now Kavanaugh gets to wait another week.

Christine Blasey Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when the two of them were in high school. Kavanaugh denies her allegation.

I am one American who believes Ford, but I’m sitting out here in the Flyover Country peanut gallery.

The FBI probe well might produce some more evidence to either prove or disprove what Ford has alleged. The FBI ought to talk to a Kavanaugh friend who reportedly witnessed what Ford has alleged occurred.

I have to hand it to Sen. Flake, a lame-duck Republican, who’s going out with a serious bang. He isn’t running for re-election, but he isn’t going out quietly.

I have sought to keep an open mind on this nomination. I have concluded that I believe Ford. Thus, I don’t believe Kavanaugh should get a lifetime job handing out opinions at the highest level of our nation’s judicial system.

However, I want to maintain my open mind as far as the FBI probe goes. I just want it done thoroughly and that the FBI reaches some conclusion about the veracity of what has been alleged.

Let the probe begin.

Lame ducks find their voices

Bob Corker’s lame duck status has enabled him to find the guts to say what he ought to have said all along.

The Tennessee Republican is leaving the U.S. Senate at the end of the year. He hadn’t been overly candid about Donald J. Trump until just before he announced his decision to call it a career.

Now, though, he’s talking about what he perceives to be a “cult” developing with his political party. The cult is devoted blindly, according to Corker, to the president who has seized the party by the throat, has throttled it and has bullied intraparty foes incessantly.

Corker isn’t alone among Republicans who have discovered their courage in the waning months of their political career. He joins Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, who has finally — finally! — called out the president by name for the manner he has chosen to govern the nation.

I fear that Corker’s cult description is far more accurate than even he would prefer. Cult leaders traditionally imbue their “followers” with fear over political retribution if they cross the man/woman at the top of the pecking order.

That just might explain the Republican reluctance to challenge the continual stream of lies and assorted nonsense that fly out of Trump’s mouth. Indeed, the president’s lying mouth has kicked into overdrive since his summit with Kim Jong Un, the North Korean despot who gave up virtually nothing but got a ton of concessions from the president who proclaims himself to be a “great negotiator.”

Why don’t they call the president out for his effusive praise of Kim, the tyrant who murders his foes, his family members, starves his fellow Koreans and threatens the world with nuclear annihilation? He has broken previous promises and kept his people in the dark — quite literally — while he lives in relative opulence.

Is it that cult thing to which Sen. Corker has referred? If only more members of his party would speak as candidly and honestly about what is happening within the halls of power.

Sen. Flake launches well-aimed barrage against …

He didn’t mention his target by name or even by title, but everyone who heard U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake’s speech today know of whom he spoke.

Flake, the lame-duck Arizona Republican, was talking about Donald John Trump Sr., president of the United States.

Flake’s scathing remarks spoke to an assault on the truth by the “most powerful person in government.” Yes, he called the president a liar.

He also scorched Trump for his ongoing assault on the media and lambasted him for undermining a valuable institution charged with holding government accountable for its actions.

Here is Flake’s speech.

Flake’s speech came just a day after his Arizona colleague, Sen. John McCain, wrote in a Washington Post commentary that Trump needs to stop his criticism of the media and stop invoking the “fake news” criticism of those media reports with which he disagrees.

The White House response was quite predictable. It spoke of the lousy poll numbers staring Flake in the face, which many have said caused him to announce his retirement from the Senate at the end of the year; he won’t stand for re-election.

Of course, the poll numbers retort dodges the point that Flake sought to make. Which is that Donald Trump has torn the truth to shreds with his constant prevarication and his frontal assault on those whose job is to report to the public about what the public’s government is doing for — or to — the people to whom those in government must answer.

Here’s a final thought …

If congressional Republicans are going to criticize how the president has conducted himself while in office, shouldn’t they mention him by name?

I mean, they chewed former President Barack Obama out for failing to mention the words “radical Islamic terrorists” as he spoke about the nation’s ongoing war against terrorism.

We all know about whom Sen. Flake was referring. He should have mentioned his name just to remove any smidgen of doubt.

I’ll close with these words from Jeff Flake himself: We are a mature democracy – it is well past time that we stop excusing or ignoring – or worse, endorsing — these attacks on the truth. For if we compromise the truth for the sake of our politics, we are lost.

Well stated, senator.

A felon for U.S. senator?

This is fantastic. A man convicted of civil rights violations and disobeying a federal court order is going to run for the U.S. Senate from Arizona.

Oh, sure, Joe Arpaio has received a presidential pardon from Donald John (Stable Genius) Trump Sr., which means that technically he’s no longer a convicted felon.

He had been convicted of violating a federal court order stemming from accusations that he discriminated against Latinos in his hunt for illegal immigrants. That’s when the president stepped in to pardon the former Maricopa County sheriff.

So, the ex-lawman is going to seek to pay Trump back by being elected to a Senate seat that would enable him to support the president’s political agenda. Is this a quid pro quo?

Arpaio wants to succeed Sen. Jeff Flake, the Republican who’s retiring at the end of his current term, which expires at the end of 2018.

I don’t believe Arizona Republicans should nominate this guy to represent the GOP, let alone elect him to the Senate.

Arpaio said this, according to the Arizona Republic: “I’ll outgun anybody running against me or otherwise,” Arpaio said. “I wouldn’t do this if I felt that I couldn’t put all my energy into being elected and also in Washington, doing what I can to help the country and the state. So I feel good about it. I’m not worried about the age.”

Arpaio would be 86 at the beginning of a Senate term.

Weird.

POTUS seeks to reaffirm his smartness

Why in the name of Mensa membership does Donald John “Smart Person” Trump Sr. keep doing this?

He keeps telling us how he got an Ivy League education. He keeps insisting he’s a smart guy. He insists as well that he’s fabulously rich, that he’s the best negotiator and deal maker since the beginning of Planet Earth.

The president was responding to the attack that came from retiring U.S. Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., both of whom have peeled the bark off of Trump in recent weeks.

So we hear — yet again! — from the Leader of the Free World that he really is the smartest guy in the proverbial room.

My experience over many decades of living — while working with other really smart people — has told me this fundamental truth: Those who really possess serious intellectual wattage never have to say how smart they are. They are not compelled to assert what should be obvious to those who know them.

I have members of my family along with a few friends who are bona fide geniuses. None of them has expressed — at least in my presence — that they are loaded with intellectual firepower.

My life’s experience has taught me another key lesson. It is that those who insist on telling you how smart and rich they are usually are neither.

Sen. Flake joins the anti-Trump exodus

What do you know about that?

Another Republican U.S. lawmaker of considerable standing has bailed out on his public service career and is launching a fusillade against the president of the United States — who hails ostensibly from the same political party.

Jeff Flake of Arizona has announced his retirement from the Senate. He took the floor of the body today and raked Donald John Trump Sr. over the coals, following the lead of another key Republican. Bob Corker of Tennessee has announced his retirement as well and has just recently said if he had to do it all over again he couldn’t — and wouldn’t — support a Trump presidential candidacy.

Folks, this is getting very strange.

Flake was facing a challenge from within his party. The Trump Wing of the GOP — however one chooses to define it — had planned a primary challenge for Flake. Why is that? Because Flake had the temerity to write a book that is highly critical of Trump’s tenure as president.

Flake quadrupled down today in his retirement announcement speech. As the Washington Post reported: The charged remarks from Flake — a totem of traditional conservatism who has repeatedly spoken out about his isolation in Trump’s GOP — came hours after Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) questioned the president’s stability and competence, reigniting a deeply personal feud with the president.

Flake unloads

More from the Post: Flake added: “We must stop pretending that the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal. They are not normal. Reckless, outrageous and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as ‘telling it like it is’ when it is actually just reckless, outrageous and undignified.”

Hmm. Who do you suppose he’s talking about?

Does it matter to the Trumpkins who keep standing by their guy? Oh, probably not. Sen. Flake, though, has said out loud what has needed to be said since the day Donald Trump was elected president of the United States.