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.