Shredding Jeff Flake’s Conscience

Shredding Jeff Flake’s book, “The Conscience of a Conservative.” I don’t need Flake on my bookshelf bragging about his conscience if he’s never going to actually act on it. So let’s do to Flake’s book what his vote does to the credibility of the Supreme Court and to survivors of sexual assault. (The shredding starts about one minute in.)

Flake, a previously undecided Republican who had been saying hesitant things, has announced that he will support Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, saying that he has as much doubt as confidence. And of course he should have doubt! Brett Kavanaugh has apparently lied on at least four occasions, two of them under oath. He has no credibility. Yet this is typical of Flake: Say one thing against Trump and values, but then vote with him in the end, every single time. It is good that this cowardly lawmaker is leaving Congress in January.

A fair hearing for the judge is important, don’t get me wrong. But a Supreme Court confirmation hearing is not a trial where we can only convict if there is no reasonable doubt. This is a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land. As in a job interview, if you have as many doubts as Flake has, you can turn to another candidate, or at least pause the process to learn more and give everyone a fair shake. The fact that Flake will join his fellow Republicans to rush the process and confirm a justice when he acknowledges he has these doubts — and when the stakes for women and for the country are this high — shows that even some of the most outspoken “Never Trump” Republicans care more for power than they do principle. We need more women in office.

Republicans left Scalia’s seat open for more than 400 days to stop Barack Obama and Merrick Garland, in the name of having an election first. We now have a midterm election just over one month away. If these Republican hypocrites could wait 400 days for Donald Trump and Neil Gorsuch, they can wait a few more days for the survivors of sexual assault now. Survivors like Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

Where is your conscience now, Jeff Flake?

AFTERNOON UPDATE: Jeff Flake is now calling for an FBI investigation and suggesting he won’t vote for Kavanaugh without one, which is good. But while I may be crossing my fingers, I’m not holding my breath. Flake’s calling card is to speak bold value-based words of principle, suggest or even promise action, then do nothing when it comes time to vote. And indeed, that’s what happened today: He could have backed up his floor threat by voting no, and it wouldn’t have even affected what comes next on the floor — this was just a symbolic vote on the committee’s recommendation. But he voted “aye” anyway.

I would desperately love to be wrong. I would love to see Flake vote no on the floor if the investigation either doesn’t happen or if it doesn’t inspire any further confidence in the liar Kavanaugh (the latter being a big worry: what will Flake do if he gets the investigation and it doesn’t change anything in either direction?), but nothing in Flake’s recent history gives me that hope. Today is intriguing, but Flake’s always intriguing and then nothing more. We’ll see if this time is different, but I think Murkowski and even Collins are still the bigger hopes.