Sen. Jeff Flake Pens Blistering Op-Ed, Says GOP In Denial Over Trump

A GOP lawmaker is speaking out against both the president and Republican leaders, saying that anyone who thinks the state of things under the Trump administration is normal must be in “denial.”

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona has written a book criticizing not only President Donald Trump’s lack of conservatism but also the lack of principles among GOP leaders titled Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle.

Flake turned his attention to Republican leaders who haven’t fought for conservative policies and seem to be pretending the tumultuous White House has been business as usual the past six months.

“It was we conservatives who rightly and robustly asserted our constitutional prerogatives as a co-equal branch of government when a Democrat was in the White House but who, despite solemn vows to do the same in the event of a Trump presidency, have maintained an unnerving silence as instability has ensued,” he wrote in an excerpt of the book published by Politico.

Tuesday on radio, Glenn agreed but expressed skepticism that any politician can be trusted.

“I’m politician-agnostic now,” Glenn quipped.

GLENN: And so where does this even fit? Have you seen the Jeff Flake -- you know, my party is in denial about --

STU: Yeah, it's amazing that, you know, this is -- it's an op-ed he wrote, which is actually a part of his book. Saying he's in denial about Donald Trump -- the party is in denial about Donald Trump. And he signed his name to it. There's been a lot of these comments that have floated throughout the media since he was elected from unnamed officials. This is --

GLENN: Now, Jeff Flake. I'm trying to remember where we lost track of Jeff Flake. When Jeff Flake sold his soul.

STU: We were not a fan of his stance on one of the gun bills, I remember.

GLENN: Yeah.

PAT: And immigration.

GLENN: And immigration. Yeah.

PAT: Terrible on both.

GLENN: Yeah, he was really, really great. And then he started selling his soul to the party.

STU: To be fair, he still is good on certain things.

GLENN: Is he?

STU: Spending, he was good on.

GLENN: Was he ever for Trump?

STU: I would say he's --

GLENN: Agnostic?

STU: No, I would say he was more on the I'm not a fan of Trump side. He was more consistent on that. However, he was -- you know, public officials, particularly senators taking public positions against the president is pretty notable. It's not -- it's not as notable as if like one of his big allies came out and took him on. It's -- he's definitely on the side -- he's not a fan of Trump's.

GLENN: Our forbearers knew that keeping a republic meant, above all, keeping it safe from foreign transgressors. They all knew people could not live and work freely and develop national institutions conceived -- conductive to freedom, except in peace with independents. So where should Republicans go from here?

First, we shouldn't hesitate to speak out if the president plays to his base in ways that damage the Republican's party ability to grow and speak to a larger audience.

So listen to that. I mean, he's putting his -- the party -- second, Republicans need to take the long view when it comes to issue like free trade.

Populist and protectionist policies may play well out in the short-term, but they handicap the country in the long-term. Third, Republicans need to stand up for the institution and prerogatives like the Senate filibuster that served us well for more than two centuries.

We've taken our institutions conductive to freedom, as Goldwater put it, for granted. And we have to engage in one of the more reckless periods of politics in our history. In 2017, we seem to have lost our appreciation for just how hard-won and vulnerable those institutions are.

Well, it's nice to have you to the party, Jeff.

STU: You seemed almost dismissive. I almost got a sense that that was dismissive.

PAT: Really?

GLENN: I'm so done -- I'm so done -- I'm really so done with all of the politicians. I mean, honestly, should we have any politician on here? I'm politician-agnostic now. With the exception of very, very few.

PAT: You're not sure you believe they exist?

GLENN: Yeah. Yeah.

PAT: Yeah.

GLENN: No, I'm unfortunately -- I know they exist. I'm not sure how --

JEFFY: This is a struggle we've had for a while, right?

GLENN: I know they exist. I'm agnostic on how many good ones exist. I know one. I know Mike Lee. I would -- I would swear by Mike Lee. But what does that mean?

STU: I mean, there's certainly a few.

GLENN: Yeah, there are a few.

STU: There's no doubt.

GLENN: And I like a few of them. But the only one I know personally really well I feel is Mike Lee. And unshakable.

STU: And he has been --

PAT: Ben Sasse. We don't know him that well. But we know Ben Sasse.

GLENN: Ben Sasse? Yeah, I like Ben Sasse.

PAT: Like him a lot.

GLENN: I think there's several of them.

JEFFY: Louie Gohmert.

PAT: Yes.

GLENN: Yes. There's several of them. I'm not throwing all of them out.

PAT: Hank Johnson. His concerns for Guam.

JEFFY: That goes without saying.

STU: Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

GLENN: Okay. You guys aren't helping.

STU: But obviously there are some.

PAT: Yeah, there's a few.

GLENN: There are many there, and I hate to abandon them. But I'm just so done. I'm just so done with them.

PAT: Yeah.

GLENN: Why would I stick my neck out for any of you? Why would I endorse or help or anything? Because I don't know what you guys are going to do when you get in?

STU: You know, you're never going to know that. People are flawed.

GLENN: I know. I know. I know.

STU: The problem here is, the second you take that attitude or all of us take that attitude --

GLENN: Then you're done.

STU: -- then there is an unrestrained move to the dark side.

JEFFY: Yep.

STU: You have to have people who are at least standing up. And, you know, you get some things. And you lose a lot of them. You just hope to slow that roll a little bit towards the progressive side. That's really all you can do. But we can't -- it's like the Second Amendment. There was a time -- because I'm not a gun guy. I didn't grow up in gun culture by any means. Though I agree with the Second Amendment. And there was a time where I would hear some of the arguments, you know, made by gun advocates, and they were just -- they seemed almost irrational to me. Like, they were -- as a guy who has never dealt with guns. Like, why are you defending that kind of gun? Like, to me, on its face, without thinking about it deeply, it just kind of seems irrational. You're just defending anything that has to do with guns.

GLENN: Yeah.

STU: You have to defend anything that has to do with guns. Because the second you let them pass that barrier, they go to the next barrier. So you better stand up there and defend every single freaking thing.

PAT: That's right.

STU: Because the second they get past that wall, they are onto the next one. And they'll trample the next 50 walls past it. Wherever you set up your -- you know, your defense is where they will stop for the time being.

GLENN: Yes.

STU: So you better set it up as aggressively as possible.

Reform Conservatism and Reaganomics: A middle road?

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Senator Marco Rubio broke Republican ranks recently when he criticized the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by stating that “there's no evidence whatsoever that the money's been massively poured back into the American worker." Rubio is wrong on this point, as millions of workers have received major raises, while the corporate tax cuts have led to a spike in capital expenditure (investment on new projects) of 39 percent. However, the Florida senator is revisiting an idea that was front and center in the conservative movement before Donald Trump rode down an escalator in June of 2015: reform conservatism.

RELATED: The problem with asking what has conservatism conserved

The "reformicons," like Rubio, supported moving away from conservative or supply-side orthodoxy and toward policies such as the expansion of the child and earned income tax credits. On the other hand, longstanding conservative economic theory indicates that corporate tax cuts, by lowering disincentives on investment, will lead to long-run economic growth that will end up being much more beneficial to the middle class than tax credits.

But asking people to choose between free market economic orthodoxy and policies guided towards addressing inequality and the concerns of the middle class is a false dichotomy.

Instead of advocating policies that many conservatives might dismiss as redistributionist, reformicons should look at the ways government action hinders economic opportunity and exacerbates income inequality. Changing policies that worsen inequality satisfies limited government conservatives' desire for free markets and reformicons' quest for a more egalitarian America. Furthermore, pushing for market policies that reduce the unequal distribution of wealth would help attract left-leaning people and millennials to small government principles.

Criminal justice reform is an area that reformicons and free marketers should come together around. The drug war has been a disaster, and the burden of this misguided government approach have fallen on impoverished minority communities disproportionately, in the form of mass incarceration and lower social mobility. Not only has the drug war been terrible for these communities, it's proved costly to the taxpayer––well over a trillion dollars has gone into the drug war since its inception, and $80 billion dollars a year goes into mass incarceration.

Prioritizing retraining and rehabilitation instead of overcriminalization would help address inequality, fitting reformicons' goals, and promote a better-trained workforce and lower government spending, appealing to basic conservative preferences.

Government regulations tend to disproportionately hurt small businesses and new or would-be entrepreneurs. In no area is this more egregious than occupational licensing––the practice of requiring a government-issued license to perform a job. The percentage of jobs that require licenses has risen from five percent to 30 percent since 1950. Ostensibly justified by public health concerns, occupational licensing laws have, broadly, been shown to neither promote public health nor improve the quality of service. Instead, they serve to provide a 15 percent wage boost to licensed barbers and florists, while, thanks to the hundreds of hours and expensive fees required to attain the licenses, suppressing low-income entrepreneurship, and costing the economy $200 billion dollars annually.

Those economic losses tend to primarily hurt low-income people who both can't start businesses and have to pay more for essential services. Rolling back occupational licenses will satisfy the business wing's desire for deregulation and a more free market and the reformicons' support for addressing income inequality and increasing opportunity.

The favoritism at play in the complex tax code perpetuates inequality.

Tax expenditures form another opportunity for common ground between the Rubio types and the mainstream. Tax deductions and exclusions, both on the individual and corporate sides of the tax code, remain in place after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Itemized deductions on the individual side disproportionately benefit the wealthy, while corporate tax expenditures help well-connected corporations and sectors, such as the fossil fuel industry.

The favoritism at play in the complex tax code perpetuates inequality. Additionally, a more complicated tax code is less conducive to economic growth than one with lower tax rates and fewer exemptions. Therefore, a simpler tax code with fewer deductions and exclusions would not only create a more level playing field, as the reformicons desire, but also additional economic growth.

A forward-thinking economic program for the Republican Party should marry the best ideas put forward by both supply-siders and reform conservatives. It's possible to take the issues of income inequality and lack of social mobility seriously, while also keeping mainstay conservative economic ideas about the importance of less cumbersome regulations and lower taxes.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate studying economics at Tufts University. He is a contributor for Lone Conservative, and his writing has appeared in Townhall and The Daily Caller. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

Is this what inclusivity and tolerance look like? Fox News host Tomi Lahren was at a weekend brunch with her mom in Minnesota when other patrons started yelling obscenities and harassing her. After a confrontation, someone threw a drink at her, the moment captured on video for social media.

RELATED: Glenn Addresses Tomi Lahren's Pro-Choice Stance on 'The View'

On today's show, Pat and Jeffy talked about this uncomfortable moment and why it shows that supposedly “tolerant" liberals have to resort to physical violence in response to ideas they don't like.

President Donald Trump has done a remarkable job of keeping his campaign promises so far. From pulling the US from the Iran Deal and Paris Climate Accord to moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, the president has followed through on his campaign trail vows.

RELATED: The media's derangement over Trump has me wearing a new hat and predicting THIS for 2020

“It's quite remarkable. I don't know if anybody remembers, but I was the guy who was saying he's not gonna do any of those things," joked Glenn on “The News and Why it Matters," adding, “He has taken massive steps, massive movement or completed each of those promises … I am blown away."

Watch the video above to hear Glenn Beck, Sara Gonzales, Doc Thompson, Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray discuss the story.

Rapper Kendrick Lamar brings white fan onstage to sing with him, but here’s the catch

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for American Express

Rapper Kendrick Lamar asked a fan to come onstage and sing with him, only to condemn her when she failed to censor all of the song's frequent mentions of the “n-word" while singing along.

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“I am so sorry," she apologized when Lamar pointed out that she needed to “bleep" that word. “I'm used to singing it like you wrote it." She was booed at by the crowd of people, many screaming “f*** you" after her mistake.

On Tuesday's show, Pat and Jeffy watched the clip and talked about some of the Twitter reactions.

“This is ridiculous," Pat said. “The situation with this word has become so ludicrous."