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October 25, 2017


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Flake's words are just that. He's been asked on television news if Trump should be removed from office. "Oh, I don't think that's necessary." So, Trump is "a danger to democracy, " but it's okay for him to lead us down the path to nuclear war?

Jon, Flake is a Libertarian more than he is a Republican. In that regard, he is an ideologue. In his speech, he was critical of Trump, and not the GOP in its present form, but the direction he believes the party is headed under Trump's direction. Given all that, his voting record is not surprising.

I'll take my moral victories wherever I can. Flake is, to no one's surprise, a right-wing Republican who told the truth about his party's leader. I'm not sure why we should pearl-clutch about his actual political values. Of course, we abhor them since we're mostly liberal on this site. What he did, to his credit, is something virtually no Republican officeholder can do without alienating their low-information voters: stand up for personal decency. Donald Trump is a one-man wrecking crew when it comes to our political culture and democratic values.

The mordant observations we can and ought to make is that Republicans like McCain, Flake, Goldwater, Reagan, both Bushes, and the vast majority of the Republican Party have played footsie with white supremacists, culture warriors like Bill O'Reilly (!!!), and the entire Neo-Confederate counter-revolution. This is why the Republican Party is an extreme outlier in our politics (pace Ornstein and Mann). Their Overton Window was pushed hard to the right. But this ideological extremism was predicated on one thing: racism addressed to the reptilian brains of the white working class. There would be no rigged economy, no "wet kisses to Wall Street", no sociopathic legislation like repealing Obamacare absent this strategy.

There are parallel paths a thinking person can take on the road back to sanity. One is to make a full-throated defense of social democracy. The other is to point out how ugly, cruel, and crazy the Republican Party has become over the last 45 years. Hippie-punching blurs this point. We shouldn't obsess about policing college campuses for ideological heavy breathing. Kids tend to be crazy. Please: let's not help the right here. They're the problem, not our well-intentioned if zealous children.

Jack Nock, good to see your still with us.
As i recall it was around 1960 i first met you?
Good column, Jon, Flake couldnt win the primary against a fellow LDS member that would have resorted to a slime campaign likely including Flakes family.
Ward is a nut job that lives in a kooky fantasy world. Its that world Sinema needs to attack. It will be interesting to see Whacko Ward go against a Atheist/bisexual Democrat in ARIZONA???

And that Sinema is an EX LDS!

i'm coming from the place of having had flake and mccain as my senators as we go into darker and darker political geography. i'm a native arizonan.

the problem for flake is other than in matters of being polite and mouthing caring words flake will have the SAME voting record as chemtrail kelly. (kelly ward is advantaged by his absence..)..he has a 97% conservative rating so his vision is the destruction of the safety-net and the death of the middle class to the advantage of the ultra wealthy.

his objection is to the rhetoric, to the incivility; the hate and fear for greed is a little too obvious for the patrician vision flake has for himself. as far as the death of the middle class the republicans are arguing about the means, not the goal...firing squad?--messy, electric chair?--inconceivable!; now a quiet needle to tranquilize, paralyze the breathing....a quiet human death that makes you just as dead.

Good post dave.
As Charles Bowden wrote:
"Some of the dead are still breathing ".

An unsurprising sentiment popped up on the lively Facebook discussion of this column: We need to elect "a GOOD person regardless of party."

The axis is constructive vs. destructive. Unfortunately, the Republican Party has gone insane. Goldwater and Reagan couldn't win a GOP school-board primary today. Flake is a good man. But he represents and votes for a destructive ideology.

A good man stands and fights for his principles. Make the electorate choose a Chemtrail Kelli over a far-right conservative. What Flake did, to me, is chickening out.

Politics is not primarily about morality but if it isn't morally consonant, you will soon see the damage to a nation when its transcendant ideals become subservient to tribe. The Republican Party no longer obeys ordinary strictures of logic and language. It will weaponize the discourse to render meaning itself impossible. Any party that would nominate for president as delusional a human being as Donald Trump is probably beyond any realistic reclamation. Sadly, it has most of the political power in this country. If you're not nervous, you're not paying attention.

I spent a junior year abroad in Germany back in the early '70s. I talked to those still numerous Germans who lived through the war and they were mostly unapologetic about it. Love of the fatherland was the code for "I regret nothing." Millions of Germans died in that war, most in uniform, but not all. Their lovely cities were destroyed and the suffering they endured was immense. But at least they didn't have to suffer assimilated Jews anymore.

We have one future in America and it's not as a primarily white nation. We can either grow up and accept that reality or we can destroy this nation for a culturally and morally bankrupt ideal. Steve Bannon has the blueprint. Read it daily at Breitbart.com

I find it telling that someone like Jeff Flake could have become "too liberal" for the "alt-right (all white)" wing of the Republican party. The sensible among us might be wise to see THAT as a harbinger of HOW extreme the Republican party is likely to become in the next few years. This upward parabola of extremist ideology should concern and alarm all of us who care to realize freedom is under assault by the continued--and increased--right-wing extremism.

Flake is out
Chem Tails Kelli Ward is in

Should be ChemTrails.
but in all fairness to Kelli
"“I don’t really have any opinions about ‘chemtrails’ one way or the other,” Ward told The Republic at the time. “I think that environmental quality, though, is very important.”

Timothy Egan has a great column this morning in the Times, which is also pertinent to the broader discussion/disagreement about identity politics we've been having in this forum. FWIW, I agree with everything he writes. Every. Single. Word.


The problem, if there is one, concerns identity politics in a country with a rich and tragic history of slavery, genocide, oppression, terrorism (see: lynching), Jim Crow, and a white-identity politics as expressed through today's GOP. The power differential significantly favors them, at least presently. While I wish people were better than they are, today's illiberal liberals are understandably nervous. "Safe spaces" and similar rhetorical gambits play to this fear. This is the context for our national crack-up.

Culture is both a blessing and a curse. America has probably the greatest cosmopolitan culture in the history of the planet but it hasn't been enough to create an overarching national identity. Most of us here are quite comfortable with it, but you don't have to travel far to find the dissenters. The irony is that this war cannot be fought and won - there are no set battle-lines or armies, only voting combatants in this ongoing binary struggle for dominance. We can even give it a name: Whose Reality Is It, Anyway?

I was listening to a talk forum on WPR in Wisconsin this week. The three commenters were all conservatives. When the moderator asked them about whether sensible (and I use that term loosely)people like Jeff Flake, John McCain, and Bob Corker had a future in the Republican party, all three said, "No." These three commenters were of the "Trump is the new Republican party" stripe. When pressed by the moderator about Trump's white supremacist leanings, they all said "Trump's response to Charlottesville does not make him a racist," conveniently overlooking Trump's grandiose entrance to the 2016 campaign, where he singled out Mexicans as "rapists" and "bad hombres." They also failed to mention the matter of the 100 million Trump paid in the 1970's to settle a housing discrimination lawsuit. These commenters also said that these "middle of the road" Republicans might look to forming an new party with the aim of running someone like John Kasich as an independent in 2020. Basically, all three said that the "old" Republican party no longer existed, and that anyone who wanted to be called a Republican had to fall in line with Trump. I myself believe that as long as Trump is around, he will continue to energize his intransigent, bigoted, willfully ignorant, "America uber alles," "Ugly American" base with his undignified, unruly, and disrespectful "conduct unbecoming" style of verbal street-fighting. His core supporters--provincials and "freedom's just for me," "justice is "just (for) us" incorrigibles--adore him for openly speaking their true thoughts.

Trump and boys call themselves Republicans but that is FAKE BULLSHIT they are really john birch, posse comitatus white supremacist racist bigoted ugly fascistic Nazi psychopaths.
Thier dupes are those that think they can make an All White Mayberry.

Where are all these "good" Republicans I keep hearing about? You know, the patriotic ones.

The ones disgusted by the Traitor in Chief.

The only Republicans who take a stand seem to have one foot out the door, either figuratively or literally.

Flake himself admitted that voting with Trump more than 90% of the time wouldn't be enough to insure his victory in a Republican primary.

It seems the junior Senator from Arizona has discovered that it really is true that once you take the stopper out of the crazy bottle it's impossible to put it back in. The logical conclusion to this are the Kelli Wards of the world.

Nostalgia can be deadly, and right now we apparently have a large number of people nostalgic for a Republican Party that hasn't existed since 1968.

The Southern Strategy, trickle down economics, Lee Atwater, Willie Horton, the Project for the New American Century, dog whistles, voter suppression, Fox News, and lick spittle fealty to the NRA and AIPAC, have led the GOP to where it is.

To pretend that the Republicans are anything other than what they've consistently shown us they are, is foolishness.

In the histories of this period, "good Republicans" will carry the same taint as "good Germans" once did.

Trump and his cronies are also "intransigent, bigoted, willfully ignorant, "America uber alles," "Ugly American"(s) who hypocritically claim the mantle of "patriots" while doing all they can to deflect attention away from Mueller's Russian influence probe. Moral integrity and ethicality are meaningless to them because they operate in a completely passive-aggressive and self-serving universe.

B. Franklin,
I have one point of difference with you: Kelli Ward is just the beginning...the characters coming behind her will make her look positively tame.

Trump as a bomb
or the
Shock and Awe theft.
Keep your eye not on the pea
but the money.

I think it's safe to suggest the greatest upward redistribution of wealth since 1981 will abort on take-off. Sadly, the Trump presidency is now a total shambles. See: yesterday.

One thing that hasn't changed is the toxic core of white-identity politics. A third of this nation enthusiastically embraces reality inversions and political delusions. They are propelled in their insanity by right-wing media more brazen than Baghdad Bob. These Real Americans believe they are the Real Victims in a rapidly changing society. Given that most of these sad sacks couldn't even pass a high-school civics test, patriotism expresses itself more in symbols and hoopla than substance.

Change is an ordeal that most of us don't handle all that well. Many of us live in a permanent state of future shock. But there is no alternative to "what is" let alone a time machine accessed through a voting booth. We either wake up or we fall into such a deep sleep that it's indistinguishable from death.

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