Conservatism, Inc.

The GOP’s Jeff Flake Syndrome

It is difficult to know whether the decision of  Senator Jeff Flake to make his yes vote on Kavanaugh conditional on an FBI investigation was done to spite his nemesis, president Trump, or was based a genuine belief that the investigation would compel Democrats to accept his legitimacy as the newest member of the court.

The fact that Flake believed that he would be able to reach some compromise with the Democrats, despite their persistent and unrelenting strategy of delay from day one of the hearings, illustrates why the dilatory and bad faith tactics of the Democrats makes any agreement with them in terms of an investigation too risky. No sooner had Flake agreed to the extension for confirmation, that Senator Chris Murphy bellowed: “Kavanaugh Is The Most Dangerous SCOTUS Pick Of Our Lifetime — No Matter What The FBI Finds.” Did Flake not see this coming? Then Ford’s attorney, Debra Katz, piped in with her comments that there is no need to rush the FBI investigation. As Andy McCarthy in National Review has been arguing from the start, Democrat members on the Committee are interested in one thing and one thing only: delay.

Whatever his motives, Flake and other establishment holdouts give us a picture of how Trump, during the primaries, was able to put out to pasture members of the GOP establishment.

In my book, Election 2016: How Donald Trump and the Deplorables Won and Made Political History, I discussed how the establishment Republican Party was always duped by the Democrats,

“Republican politicians who were unaware or utterly indifferent about the nature of today’s Democrats had managed the party for too long. The GOP sought comity and congeniality, whereas the Democrats continually engaged in warfare both in the halls of Congress and in the media. John McCain was prone to this blindness on countless occasions during his tenure in the Senate. For McCain, the collegiality and comity of the Senate as an institution was of paramount concern when seeking to bridge partisan divides. Yet his longtime “collegial” colleague Ted Kennedy had no compunction in casting the collegiality of the Senate aside with his vituperative and entirely false character assassination of Robert Bork during his 1987 Senate confirmation hearings. Kennedy’s assault on this prominent jurist’s character was so offensive and egregious that it spawned a new dictionary term for the lexicon of the late twentieth century: to “Bork.”

Kennedy’s scorched earth and unprecedented breach of political decorum in 1987 marked the end of “comity” and “collegiality” in the Senate. The politics of personal destruction would rear its ugly head. From that defining moment on, the stewards of the Republican party were clearly unequal to the task at hand in confronting the opposition party and forcefully standing their ground against an onslaught of Democratic Party attacks against individual Republican politicians and the voters who supported them. Some deluded party elders seemed to believed that the media would function as the arbiter of Democratic Party misrepresentations and perfidy. Time and again, the press corps, acting as handmaidens of the Democratic Party showed this was wishful thinking.”

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