Watch: Jeff Flake Was an ‘Incredible Disappointment’

What happened?

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) announced Tuesday that he will finish his term but won’t seek re-election in 2018. He took the opportunity to denounce today’s politics as “exalting in our worst impulses” and to say he would no longer be “silent or complicit,” which has been taken as a condemnation of President Donald Trump.

Key quote:

“The principles that underlie our politics, the values of our founding, are too vital to our identity and to our survival to allow them to be compromised by the requirements of politics because politics can make us silent when we should speak and silence can equal complicity. I have children and grandchildren to answer to.

“And so, Mr. President, I will not be complicit or silent. I’ve decided that I would be better able to represent the people of Arizona and to better serve my country and my conscience by freeing myself of the political consideration that consumed far too much bandwidth and would cause me to compromise far too many principles.”

(You can read Flake’s full remarks here.)

Glenn’s take:

Glenn didn’t shed many tears for Flake’s retirement announcement. He listed multiple times that Flake has failed conservatives by not fighting for limited government.

“Conservatives had great hope for him,” Glenn said. “He was a Tea Party guy, and he was an incredible disappointment.”

This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

GLENN: Regret. It is a complicated and torturous emotion. Yesterday, regret about the state of affairs and the White House is what Arizona Senator Jeff Flake said led him not to seek reelection.

JEFF: It must also be said that I have arrived today with no small measure of regret. Regret because of the state of our disunion. Regret because of the disrepair and destruction of our politics. Regret because of the indecency of our discourse. Regret because of the coarseness of our leadership. Regret for the compromise of our moral authority. And by our, I mean all of our complicity in this alarming and dangerous state of affairs. It is time for our complicity and our combination of the unacceptable to end.

GLENN: Jeff Flake's speech wasn't a thinly veiled criticism of the president. It was an outright condemnation.

JEFF: Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as telling it like it is, when it is actually just reckless, outrageous, and undignified. And when such behavior emanates from the top of our government, it is something else. It is dangerous to a democracy. Such behavior does not project strength because our strength comes from our values. It instead projects a corruption of the spirit and weakness.

GLENN: So there is some bravery, an element of bravery in speaking out and saying these things. But it's coming from Jeff Flake. So let's not overstate how brave it is to look at the polls and see yourself down by 30 and quit and then blame it on somebody else.

Still, as an elected representative, it is his responsibility to speak out like he did yesterday, if he believes he must. I know I worry about the nastiness and the belittling and the division coming from our own elected officials and from myself as well.

I have had my differences with Jeff Flake in the past, as you know. It wasn't the president that -- and the fight with the president that got him to be 30 points behind in the polls. That's not it, at all.

Conservatives had great hope for him. Remember, he's an establishment Republican. But he didn't come in as one. He was a Tea Party guy. And he was an incredible disappointment.

Let's remember, this is the guy who refused to fight to defund Obamacare in 2013. I mean, maybe we could say, well, at least he was honest.

He joined the Gang of Eight. He took a pro amnesty position. He voted to confirm Loretta Lynch as attorney general. He was for raising the debt ceiling, without any spending cuts. He has consistently advanced gun control legislation. He passed funding for Planned Parenthood and was for the Iran nuclear deal. So let's please not laud him as a conservative knight in shining armor. He is anything, but.

The truth is, Flake was in a difficult position. He was facing a tough primary challenge from Kelly Ward. This is a populist candidate backed by Steve Bannon. And instead of facing a loss, he pulled a legacy move, to leave as a statesman.

Personally, I'm happy that Jeff Flake is out. I have -- he has been a great disappointment, a real great disappointment, but who we replace him with is really important. We don't want another John McCain or another Jeff Flake. But we also don't need a Bannon mouthpiece.

We cannot afford to trade a Flake for a bigger flake.


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