Tuesday, October 24, 2017


Arizona senator Jeff Flake, a critic of President Trump who's been polling miserably and was up for reelection in 2018, announced today that he won't run next year, then attacked the president in a speech on the Senate floor.

And even though Washington insiders are predicting that speech will wind up in the history books, it won't make any difference. It certainly won't change any pro-Trump minds.

That's for a simple reason: Trump supporters are angry Fox News/talk radio Republicans, which means that they believe every accusation Flake leveled at Trump has already been proven ... with regard to President Obama.

Some examples from Flake's speech:
We must never regard as "normal" the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals.
From the beginning of Obama's presidency, Republicans were told that he was a dictator. They were told that he violated democratic norms by appointing "czars" (even though presidents before him had done the same thing). They thought Obamacare was totalitarian. They thought Obama's IRS abused conservative groups. They thought he flouted the law when he chose not to deport Dreamers.
We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country
Every Republican thinks that Obama was the most divisive president in recent memory.
... the personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms, and institutions, the flagrant disregard for truth or decency....
Personal attacks? Obama said mean things about Fox News a couple of times. Threats against principles, freedoms, and institutions? See what I said about democratic norms above. Flagrant disregard for truth? Obama said if you liked your doctor, you could keep your doctor! Decency? Obama invited rappers to the White House!
When we remain silent and fail to act when we know that that silence and inaction is the wrong thing to do -- because of political considerations, because we might make enemies, because we might alienate the base, because we might provoke a primary challenge, because ad infinitum, ad nauseum -- when we succumb to those considerations in spite of what should be greater considerations and imperatives in defense of the institutions of our liberty, then we dishonor our principles and forsake our obligations.
It's now an article of faith on the right that establishment Republicans are part of the same hydra-headed beast as Democrats -- they're all consciously endeavoring to destroy America. To these voters, "remain silent and fail to act" describes what Republicans did with regard to Obama -- they were too timid to neutralize him because they wanted to stay in the good graces of the elitist swamp creatures who run everything.
When a leader correctly identifies real hurt and insecurity in our country and instead of addressing it goes looking for somebody to blame, there is perhaps nothing more devastating to a pluralistic society.
That's what Republican voters think Obama did. He blamed George W. Bush for the economy he inherited. He blamed white people for being racist. He blamed Christians for being anti-gay. Blame, blame, blme -- to the right, that's all Obama ever did.
Now, the efficacy of American leadership around the globe has come into question....

Now, it seems that we, the architects of this visionary rules-based world order that has brought so much freedom and prosperity, are the ones most eager to abandon it.
To the right, Obama -- anti-colonialist, Muslim, Marxist -- is the president who deliberately set out to destroy America's influence in the world.

And on and on. This is what right-wing voters believe. They can't possibly take in Flake's message about Trump because they believe Obama was as destructive a president as we believe Trump is.

So this was a fine speech, but it was preaching to the choir. No one else was listening.

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