Flake and Corker Are Not Heroes … Yet
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Flake and Corker Are Not Heroes … Yet

The Two Retiring Senators Can’t Just Trash Trump as They Walk Out the Door

Photo illustration by David Pybas for DCReport.org.

While any patriot will surely welcome and concur with the recent comments by retiring Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) regarding the true nature of the troglodyte now soiling the Oval Office, the timing of their comments nullifies much of what they say.

Both have used the occasion of their impending retirements from the Senate to say what brave men and women should say as a requirement of public service, not as they leave it. Flake and Corker were in positions to do something about the Trump problem. Now they aren’t. Like King Lear, they’ve abdicated their power and handed off their authority.

Now that they have chosen to leave office, Flake and Corker are just another couple of homeless cranks wandering the Capitol, cajoling their fellow senators to speak out and to govern. While it may be personally satisfying and dramatic to declare, “You can’t fire me, I quit,” it’s cowardly. And to speak truth only as you’re shutting the door behind yourself is not the act of a leader worth following.

Both Flake and Corker were preceded in the Senate by Republicans from their respective states who, in earlier presidential crises, demonstrated immense personal bravery, principle and patriotism.

One can, and should, resist forever the libertarian ideology of Barry Goldwater, but that Arizona senator didn’t resign as he urged Richard Nixon to leave the office he had so cheapened. Yes, Goldwater came late, but he was unequivocal once the evidence against Nixon was irrefutable. “There are only so many lies you can take, and now there has been one too many,” the plain-spoken Goldwater said. “Nixon should get his ass out of the White House—today!”

And Tennessee’s Howard Baker twice saved the presidency from fellow Republicans who had diminished it. Baker’s role in uncovering and ending Nixon’s Watergate scandal is well known (“What did the President know, and when did he know it?”). Much later, however, Baker gave up his own presidential aspirations to salvage Ronald Reagan’s White House after Chief of Staff Donald Rumsfeld mismanaged that president to near impeachment over an illegal scheme to trade arms for hostages in Iran and divert the profits to anti-Communist Nicaraguan rebels.

That today’s Republican Party rejects the likes of Goldwater or Baker and turns its eyes from presidential criminality is fundamental to the crisis at hand. The sickness is within the party, not just the White House. Trump and his Republican enablers are a malignancy that has already metastasized … to Charlottesville, to Las Vegas, to Puerto Rico, to the denial of science, to the degraded environment, to our third-class healthcare system, to our miserable economy. On and on and on and on.

They must be stopped. Persons of conscience must act now. It is past time for all of the men and women of Congress to perform their only sworn duty—to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Listen to these two cranks. Flawed as Flake and Corker are, we can hope that they will use their next 15 months in office to continually speak out against Trump and the fanatics who created him. Flake and Corker must use whatever power they have left to renounce radical Republicanism and to remove Trump from office and put him away.

That is the only way Flake and Corker can redeem themselves. And the nation.

October 25, 2017