Jeff Flake is the media darling of the is moment because he is that example of "an elected Republican standing up to Trump" that they all crave.
If the "both sides are equally bad" lie that the media constantly tells itself is going to hold up, then there must be Republicans who stand up to Donald Trump. That's the life raft away from Trump's insanity.
But as I wrote over a year ago, there is no "Trumpism" without the Republican Party, and vice-versa. And there is no life raft for a Republican member of Congress to "distance" him or herself from Trump without changing parties.
No life raft. No Tea Party. No "No Labels." Trump was elected by Republican primary voters, nominated at the Republican National Convention, and in the end supported even by those Republicans who swore they would never be able to look at their daughters again if they backed him.
But now Jeff Flake has written a book, title "Conscience of a Conservative" -- a nod to Barry Goldwater's 1960's book of the same name -- and in it he supposedly stands up tall against Donald J. Trump, president of Flake's own party.
And then Flake appears on Hardball to promote the book and won't take the same stand that the book actually takes?
"This problem isn't just this administration. it came long before."
"I think you see it on both the Republican and Democratic side..."
Chris Matthews asks, "Is Trump a demagogue?"
"I think all politicians are demagogues, and Trump does it too."
Yes. For the first half of this interview Flake flakes out. He actually says "both sides" a time or two, and it confuses Chris Matthews:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: What's getting this book a lot of attention, and why I'm fascinated with it, is how tough you are on Donald Trump. Not this general critique you're offering here. You have a different tone in this room than you have in this book. This book is very hard hitting. Very hard hitting on Trump. Demagoguery is the word you used. You used all the tough words. You don't think this president is good for the country, do you?
JEFF FLAKE: "I'll talk about what I talk about in the book."
Oh no, he won't. Jeff Flake knows that Beltway insiders like Chris Matthews will fawn all over him because in a book that they at least glanced over (and that the book's publisher sent them for free) Jeff Flake was tough on Trump.
No Trump supporter is going to read this book. They will hear conservative commenters smack Jeff Flake for dissing Trump. But they won't read it. And Jeff Flake is not going to give any of them a video sound bite of him being tough on Trump. No attack ads of him actually reading this book on the air, or even repeating its critical tone of the so-called president.
Jeff Flake is a coward in thrall to the stupidest, most brainwashed, most vicious voters in the history of the United States, the Republican base. He helped build this, not as much as some others, but enough that he knows not to go full anti-Trump, except in print in a book that will only be read by elites like himself. (And certainly Donald Trump himself isn't going to read it. It's got four syllable words in the title!)
Check it out: Jeff Flake didn't even narrate the audio book of his "Conscience of a Conservative." Just the preface. No one is going to catch him saying words he wrote.