It's no secret that politics in 2017 is divisive. But the executive office of the current administration has become so controversial that a lawmaker has now written a book in which he laments his party's decision to go along with the president. Here are some of the most outrageous quotes from Jeff Flake's essay, published in POLITICO as an excerpt from his newly-released book, Conscious of a Conservative.
The title of the excerpt itself is bold: "My Party Is in Denial About Donald Trump." Flake, a senator from Arizona, doesn't beat around the bush. He immediately launches into a defense of voters who fiercely clung to President Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. He wrote:
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.
From there, Flake explains that while the Democratic Party has its own problems and made its own contributions to the current political state, the GOP has largely shrugged off its responsibility and ownership for Trump.
Flake has long been divisive himself. In March 2013, just months after his reelection to the Senate, Flake was polling at just 32 percent, according to a poll from Public Policy Polling. And he made headlines earlier this year when he supported legislation for states to withhold Title IX funds from Planned Parenthood.
So, it's not entirely surprising that Flake has decided to speak out in his new book. But the comments aimed at his own party are nevertheless a bit of a shock. Here's some of the stand-out lines.
Suspension Of Critical Faculties
Flake argues that conservatives are in denial. He writes:
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.
United States Has Been Made Dysfunctional At The Highest Levels
He also admits that the government has become dysfunctional, saying:
I’ve been sympathetic to this impulse to denial, as one doesn’t ever want to believe that the government of the United States has been made dysfunctional at the highest levels, especially by the actions of one’s own party.
"Someone Should Do Something!"
Flake speaks of the impulse to watch the drama unfold rather than step up to stop it, writing:
Too often, we observe the unfolding drama along with the rest of the country, passively, all but saying, “Someone should do something!” without seeming to realize that that someone is us.
He also scolds Republicans for putting the party before principles, saying,
If ultimately our principles were so malleable as to no longer be principles, then what was the point of political victories in the first place?
White House Rejected Authority Of Intelligence Agencies
He reminds conservatives of Trump's refusal to admit Russia interfered with the election, despite government findings that it did:
Even as our own government was documenting a concerted attack against our democratic processes by an enemy foreign power, our own White House was rejecting the authority of its own intelligence agencies, disclaiming their findings as a Democratic ruse and a hoax.
Taking Our Institutions Of Freedom For Granted
At the end of the excerpt, Flake classifies the current political landscape reckless, saying:
We have taken our “institutions conducive to freedom,” as Goldwater put it, for granted as we have engaged in one of the more reckless periods of politics in our history. In 2017, we seem to have lost our appreciation for just how hard won and vulnerable those institutions are.
Given that this is just a small slice of Flake's book, it will be interesting to see what else he has to say about the party.