Jeff Flake, Republican senator from Arizona, spoke emotionally and articulately from the podium in the halls of Congress earlier this week, informing his colleagues that he would not run for re-election next year because he is unwilling to be complicit with the Trump Administration in its divisive, angry, impulsive and dangerous words and actions toward Americans and people around the world.
This was big news because he joins another Republican senator, Bob Corker of Tennessee, in denouncing Trump’s leadership style and declaring that he will not run for re-election. These two men, along with Senator John McCain and former President George W. Bush, might be an indication that Republicans are no longer willing to allow the Trump model become the new normal.
I am not going to hold my breath.
Republicans and their leadership have shown themselves more than happy to live with the status quo, to put up with presidential behavior that leaves much to be desired. Former General and Chief of Staff John Kelly, whom many thought would be able to school President Trump in the diplomatic ways of world leaders, has shown himself vulnerable to the very disease of the mouth that others in the administration have caught.
Lying is now fashionable. Colleagues are not offended by it, nor do they chastise their peer for setting a bad example, or painting the entire Republican party with the same unethical brush.
I was very glad to hear everything Senator Flake had to say. I would have preferred it to have been delivered a bit more forcefully, or with a bit of indignation. But Jeff Flake is a nice guy, and too nice to get down in the mud. So I don’t expect much to come of this.
Senator Flake said he has had enough. So many of us have had enough. When I listened to him say this, I thought of a line from an old Looney Tunes cartoon called “Owl Jolson.” The cartoon owl father has had too much of his son’s singing jazz music. As he tears the feathers from his head he hollers “Enough is too much!”
Well, I agree with the owl. Enough IS too much. If only other Republicans of the same mind would shout it out for all to hear.