Arizona Senator Jeff Flake has a new book out and he’s been hitting the news talk circuit, calling on his colleagues within the Senate to be honest about the chaos in the Trump White House, and to speak up, in order to maintain integrity and begin working – even working across the aisle – to get results for the citizens that voted them into office.
He isn’t wrong.
There has been a lack of true boldness in the corridors of the D.C. power structure, especially in the age of Trump, when the slightest hint of dissent from Trump’s madness could result in a horde of red cap-wearing reactionaries threatening certain ruin to those career politicians.
The age of Trump has caused some who were formerly thought of as principled men to turn into something bizarre and desperate.
Take the sad case of Mike Huckabee.
His devolution from Republican to Trumpism is probably best described with a comparison found in “The Lord of the Rings.” In less than a year, we’ve seen him transform from Smeagol to Gollum, in pursuit of his Precious.
His bad social media jokes and public groveling for the attentions of the Trump White House are a thing of true, repugnant wonder.
I don’t know that Huck is even directed to behave as he does, but as a contributor, he’s regularly trotted out by Fox News to say really dumb things in defense of the throne.
“The problem is you’ve got globalists like Jeff Flake who are in total disarray with conservatives,” the former Arkansas governor told host Shannon Bream on Tuesday.
You mean “free market backers,” don’t you, Mike?
Any time you see someone alt-right to alt-right leaning bring up the term “globalist” as a pejorative, you have to remember that these are not the people who want to “make America great again.”
Globalism feeds the free market. The free market has made America strong.
The nationalism Trump’s faithful hold so dear, the tariffs on foreign goods, these are nothing more than taxation, and ultimately, it hurts us.
Flake wrote in his new book, “The Conscience of a Conservative,” that Republicans are “in denial,” largely supporting Trump on issues that go against long-held conservative principles.
Globalism. Nationalism. See?
“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,” reads one line in Flake’s book.
“If this was our Faustian bargain, then it was not worth it,” Flake continues. “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?”
Flake specifically disagreed with the president’s rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which he said goes against conservative principles of free trade and will “will haunt us for years.”
And yes, the Pavlov’s Dog response of Huckabee was coaxed, causing a reaction more assured than a dog’s drool: Swampy drainage.
Huckabee pushed back, saying that some congressmen know that “if they drain the swamp some of them are going to be drained with it.”
Given Trump’s habit of hiring Goldman-Sachs/Wall Street denizens, that particular drain is suffering some severe backwash.
“Conservatives want America to be strong,” the former presidential candidate said. “They want to make sure that if there is free trade, which we do believe in, that it is fair trade and we’re not getting sucker-punched by China and people in Europe and all over the world.”
I’m all for fair trade, but nationalism will not achieve that. Putting tariffs on foreign goods, attempting to control the movement of American businesses, forcing them to stay where they’re not being competitive or profitable, then calling it a win is not only dishonest, but puts our standing in the world at risk.
I do wish Huckabee success in his efforts to remain relevant and to earn a place at Trump’s feet.
As a matter of fact, I can think of no more appropriate place for a man like Huckabee than at the feet of a con artist.