Jeff Flake, Traitor [Updated]

“Traitor” is normally considered a harsh word, but it is the only printable thing I have called “Republican” Senator Jeff Flake since he announced, a few hours ago, that he is “not comfortable voting yes” on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. His concern is the ridiculously stale allegation by Democrat professor Christine Ford that Kavanaugh groped her and tried to kiss her at a party when they were both high school students more than 30 years ago. You might reasonably think this is a joke. Unfortunately not.

Kavanaugh unequivocally denies Ford’s allegation, and the only witness to the event (per Ford), Mark Judge, says “It’s just absolutely nuts. I never saw Brett act that way.” I think Ms. Ford is pretty obviously lying (don’t get me started on the friendly “lie detector test” that the Washington Post says she passed), or, on the most charitable explanation, possibly has Brett Kavanaugh confused with someone else.

In any event, the idea that a 30 to 40 year old story of this sort–He tried to kiss me! He lay on top of me!–that has never been heard before, can derail the nomination of a man who by all accounts, including those of political adversaries, is of the most sterling possible character, is ridiculous.

Despite the feebleness of Ford’s complaint, it is easy to understand why the Democrats are clinging to it like a life raft. But what could possibly prompt Jeff Flake, who ran for office and was elected as a Republican, to join in their attempt to block one of the most superbly qualified jurists ever appointed to the Court? There is only one answer: his insane hatred for President Trump.

Flake is a never-Trumper. Like a number of others for whom I once had considerable respect, Flake has elevated his hatred for our president over every principle of politics and public policy. He would rather subvert his own allegedly conservative principles than allow President Trump to exercise his constitutional powers as president. Words can hardly express how contemptible this is.

Flake is a member of the Judiciary Committee, so Kavanaugh’s appointment cannot proceed to the Senate floor without his vote. (It goes without saying that there is no Democrat on the committee who will follow his or her conscience rather than the Schumer party line.) Flake has resigned from the Senate effective the end of this term, so this could be his parting shot against the party and the principles he claimed to represent. He is not yet a party-switcher like Jim Jeffords–remember him? He was briefly celebrated–but he might as well be. Rarely have I witnessed anything so disgusting in the world of politics.

Jeff Flake should be ashamed of himself. One can only hope that he sees the light between now and Thursday, when the Judiciary Committee vote is scheduled to be held.

UPDATE: Given that Flake ultimately voted to confirm Kavanaugh, my characterization of him as a traitor to his party may be harsh. On the other hand, his refusal to support Kavanaugh without “hearing from” Christine Ford, rather than rejecting her stale and implausible accusation outright, was an important source of the fiasco that was the Judiciary Committee’s second confirmation hearing–a public disgrace that never should have happened. Then again, popular revulsion against the Democrats’ conduct, as revealed in that hearing and the events surrounding it, evidently will help Republicans in next month’s elections. So one could say that Flake inadvertently did his party a favor.

All I know for sure is, I will be glad to see the last of this never-Trumper when he leaves the Senate in January.

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