Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Are No Good Outcomes For Arizona In The 2018 Senate Election


Jeff Flake is a conservative. In fact, his career-long record in the House and Senate isn't just conservative; it's very, very conservative. He comes across as a likable enough guy for a politician; but he votes wrong on every important issue. There are Arizona Democrats-- and especially independents-- who admire him for bring one of the only Republicans with the intestinal fortitude to take on Trump and call him out on his bullshit-- he even wrote a book savaging Trump-- but just look at that voting record. No one who cares about healthcare or women's equality or economic justice or anything that makes someone a progressive can vote for the guy, no matter how anti-Trump he's being. And is being anti-Trump enough so that a great many Arizona Republicans have written him off. He's going to probably lose his primary, especially if its a head-to-head match-up with a Trumpist crackpot like Kelli Ward, who is announcing her official campaign today (with Bannon and Ingraham in tow). The co-founder of a revenge porn website, IsAnybodyDown, GOP lunatic Craig Brittain, doesn't count, but he's running too.

The latest polling in Arizona (last week) shows Ward beating him 58-42%-- and that's Flakes's best number in over a year! He's been endorsed by cronies who owe him-- like Marco Rubio, Joni Ernst, Mitt Romney and George W. Bush-- but Ward is a Mercer/Bannon candidate who's been endorsed by Señor Trumpanzee and the whole neo-fascist menagerie: Gorka, Hannity, Ingraham, Levin. Are Arizonans ready for Palin's bus chugging around their state? Flake is so cooked!

Yesterday the NY Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg described Flake as "the most endangered Senate Republican, with an approval rating in one recent poll of just 18 percent among Arizonans" and who has been savaged by Trump "as 'toxic' and 'a flake.'" He's being pressured from the right and the only good news he's had in months is that an always dependably clueless Chuck Schumer has handpicked a Democratic opponent, the most right-wing Democrat in the House, Kyrsten Sinema, who is not just ultra-conservative but also horrifyingly corrupt and completely inauthentic-- exactly what voters don't want. It's conceivable that even Kelli Ward could beat Sinema!
[Flake's] fate is an object lesson for other Republicans who might consider voicing dire thoughts about the president’s fitness: Cross Mr. Trump, and your political career could well be over.

Mr. Flake, who is known more for his decency than his independent streak, said he had no regrets.

In an interview here, he ticked off some of his earliest criticisms of the president-- from the days when Mr. Trump peddled the false theory that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya, to the time Mr. Trump referred to Mexican immigrants as “rapists,” to his call for a complete ban on travel to the United States by Muslims-- before looking up and stopping himself.

“In which of those instances,” the senator asked, “should I not have spoken out? At what point should you not stand up and say, ‘This is not right; this is not conservative; this is not where Republicans ought to be?’”

Mr. Flake said he had known from the start that taking on Mr. Trump might do him political harm. Even before he declared the president’s brand of populism a corruption of conservative values, he anticipated a tough primary challenge, given his policy differences with Mr. Trump on issues like immigration, trade and Cuba.

“The truth is, if my only goal were to be elected, re-elected to mark time in the Senate, there are much easier paths,” he said.

Mr. Flake is not the Senate’s only vulnerable Republican; Senator Dean Heller of Nevada is also facing a tough re-election race. And Republicans will now have to field a candidate to succeed Mr. Corker, who announced late last month that he was not running next year.

Last weekend, Mr. Corker said his concerns about Mr. Trump were shared by nearly every Senate Republican, even if few have spoken out. Mr. Flake, by contrast, has put pen to paper with his criticism; his new book, Conscience of a Conservative, published in August, is a blistering indictment of the Republican Party and of a president who, despite record-low overall approval ratings, has retained the support of about 80 percent of his party.

Mr. Flake’s main primary challenger at the moment, Kelli Ward, made clear in an interview that she intended to paint Mr. Flake as “an obstructionist to the America First agenda that Donald Trump touted on the campaign trail, and that the American people want to see enacted.”

Andy Surabian, senior adviser to the Great America Alliance, a Trump-aligned group whose political action committee has been supportive of Ms. Ward, said Mr. Flake’s troubles were “entirely self-inflicted.”

“If Flake wants to know why he’s vulnerable, all he needs to do is look in the mirror,” said Mr. Surabian, who had a stint in the White House as deputy to Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s former chief strategist. He added: “No one told him to go out and be the face of the anti-Trump resistance in the Republican Party. No one told him to go out and write a book that was basically an anti-Trump screed. The reason the race is in play is because of Jeff Flake’s actions.”

Mr. Flake said he felt compelled to write the book because Republicans had lost their way with the rise of Mr. Trump. His assessment of the president is biting.

“We pretended the emperor wasn’t naked,” Mr. Flake wrote. “Even worse: We checked our critical faculties at the door and pretended that the emperor was making sense.”

While Mr. Corker had likened the White House to an “adult day care center” and said Mr. Trump was treating his office like a reality show, Mr. Flake said in the interview that he might not have used those words. But he clearly agrees with his Tennessee colleague.

“A conservative is conservative in demeanor and comportment-- not just policy,” he said. “And the way you conduct foreign policy as a conservative is that you are steady and measured and predictable. And that’s not what we have now.”

Such comments have not gone over well at home, said Mayor Jim Lane of Scottsdale. The mayor, who calls himself a conservative Republican, said he was not currently backing Mr. Flake, whom he views as exacerbating divisions within the party and undermining the president’s agenda.

“It’s difficult, particularly when there’s a lot of people who feel very, very strongly about the president’s agenda and party’s agenda,” Mr. Lane said, adding, “Any time we sense that is not a priority, for any of our delegation, that becomes a bit of a problem.”

Mr. Flake favors immigration and free trade-- stances that put him at philosophical odds not only with the president, but also with many Arizonans. In 2013, he was part of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” group of senators who put forth an immigration overhaul that would have offered immigrants in the country illegally a path to citizenship. It passed the Senate with 68 votes but died in the House. He also worked closely with Mr. Obama to open relations with Cuba.

...[D]espite Mr. Flake’s criticisms of Mr. Trump, he almost always votes with the president. (An analysis by FiveThirtyEight, the political blog, found that Mr. Flake had voted with Mr. Trump 91.5 percent of the time.)

“He wrote a book about the conscience of a libertarian, yet he’s voted along the lines of the things he has criticized,” Dr. Riley said. “So my only conclusion is he doesn’t have a conscience.”

...In his early years in Congress, he developed a reputation as a budget hawk who challenged party leaders to get rid of so-called earmarks, in which federal money is steered to lawmakers’ pet projects. But in the Senate, which he joined in 2013, Mr. Flake has not carved out much of a reputation, other than for being a nice guy.

“He’s going to have to define who he is, what his record is and what he’s accomplished,” said David Winston, a Republican strategist in Washington. “This is really going to be a vote about him and his incumbency.”

As to who he is, Mr. Flake puts it this way: “I’m a conservative in, I think, the traditional sense of the word: a Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan conservative that believes in limited government, economic freedom, free trade, pro-immigration. That’s the kind of conservative I am, and that’s my record.”

But is that the kind of conservative who is welcome in the Republican Party in the Trump era? Mr. Flake smiled wanly.

“That,” the senator said, “is the question.”

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At 5:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


There are no good outcomes for the us in 2018.

If the Nazis keep the senate, we're fucked.
If the democraps scrape out a majority, we're fucked. 40 of those assholes cannot be trusted on ANYTHING. And they won't affect any of their mandate anyway.

so... we're fucked.


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