NOT BUYIN’ IT, JEFF

1. It’s Wednesday, October 25, 2017.

2. It’s the 257th anniversary of George III’s ascension to the British throne.

Even he’s looking pretty good right now next to Trump.

3. A lot’s being made of the “rebellion” of two Republican senators yesterday.

In the morning, Tennessee’s Bob Corker unburdened himself to CNN’s Manu Raju. Among the things Corker said was that Trump is “debasing” the nation and is “absolutely not” a role model for the nation’s children.

Later in the day, after Trump lunched with the GOP senators, Jeff Flake of Arizona weighed in. He announced on the Senate floor he won’t seek re-election next year and laid the blame on Trump.

“We must stop pretending that the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal,” Flake said.

Corker, by the way, also isn’t running for re-election.

4. So the first reaction to this sense of outrage is “You think?”

I mean, it took these guys nine months of this eaf being in the Oval Office for them to realize what a creep he is?

Secondly, Flake rightfully is getting kudos for stating exactly what’s wrong with Trump and the Republican Party in 2017 – in fact, what’s been wrong with the Republican Party since Nixon.

It is a party of anger and grievance. It has no interest in governing. It’s interested in ruling.

As I’ve stated many times, there’s a big difference.

Democrats’ problem is always trying to find the perfect solution to a problem.

That’s why the party has failed to capitalize on what’s been an amazing success – Obamacare. A serious effort to tame one of the worst things facing most American families is foiled by critics who are upset that more wasn’t done.

Democrats ran away from the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and 2014. They paid for it. We’re still paying for it.

Republicans aren’t troubled by responsibility. They just want to be in charge. And they want to reap the benefit of that.

That was evident last night when they succeeded in gutting a measure that protected consumers from their moneybag friends, the bankers who gave us the financial crisis.

That will be evident as they push for tax cuts that no one needs but the donors they suck up to – the Kochs, the Mercers, et al. – crave.

If Republicans were serious about what they say they’re for – helping people by enabling private enterprise – they would have had a real proposal that they thought was better than Obamacare.

And the reason they didn’t – besides the fact that Obamacare was born out of a plan crafted by a Republican governor of Massachusetts in the first place – is that they didn’t care whether or not it helped people. They cared that Democrats passed it and Barack Obama signed it.

5. One other thing: Flake and Corker have reputations in their party for working with the other side.

In this Republican Party, that’s apostasy. Their attitude is: We rule. Period.

But Flake and Corker aren’t willing to fight for the idea that there’s a Republican way to govern. That there are ideas in both parties that could make life better for Americans. That there is an approach to the world that affirms America’s role as a leader without being a bully or scaring the whole damn planet.

Most of what Flake said is on target. But by stepping away, he’s conceding that the loons run the asylum. And that there’s little he can do about it.

Now, had Flake said he was voting to organize the Senate with the Democrats on his way out, there might have been something more than being pissed about Trump wanting a sycophant in his seat.

If Flake, Corker and one other of these supposedly ticked-off moderate Republicans chose to vote as Democrats and make Chuck Schumer majority leader, they would send a real message to Trump and the nut jobs in their party.

And it’s not as if they’d have to compromise their principles to do that. They wouldn’t have to support single-payer healthcare or immigration reform or gun control or anything else that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and the like stand for.

They would just put themselves in a position to work with others of like mind – in both parties – to affect the change they say they want.

To change the tone in Washington. To accomplish things for people. To put Trump in his place.

Instead, Jeff Flake and Bob Corker are giving Trump, Bannon and the rest of the Putin Pal Brigade exactly what they want.

The GOP nominees for those seats next year will carry the Trump Seal of Approval. Or Bannon’s. They might even be disciples of his holiness, Roy Moore, the Alabama kook who’s running for Jeff Sessions’ vacant seat.

In the end, Flake and Corker have done nothing to advance what they believe is conservatism without the anger. They’ve given in.

They prove two things:

One is that Trump is right. The only reason they’re squawking is they can’t get elected. Maybe, as Trump says, even as dog catcher.

The other is that Republicans are not about governing. They’re about ruling. If Flake and Corker wanted to govern, if they wanted to work for the American people and not on them, there’s a path to it.

They’re running – as fast as they can – the other way.

 

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