Almost immediately after the news broke that Sen. Jeff Flake will not run for re-election in 2018, he took to the floor of the Senate to give a profound speech about the state of our union under President Trump (you can read the transcript here).
As far as I can tell, I don’t agree with Sen. Flake on a single issue other than immigration. But there is nothing in that speech that I would disagree with. He didn’t simply allude to political polarization in a way that came across as bothsiderism. He particularly called out this Republican president and denounced him. In a way that I have endorsed recently, he spoke to this country’s history and values, as well as our role in the world.
None of that changes the fact that I still disagree with Sen. Flake on almost every issue. But he did something important today. He also promised to use the remaining 14 months of his Senate term to stand up and speak out as if our country depended on it.
I’m sure there are those on the right who are celebrating that they’ve defeated another Trump foe, just as there are those on the left who will simply respond with “too little, too late.” But my reaction is to see this as a somber historical moment when a sitting Senator took to the floor of that august body to say, “Enough!” when it comes to the way his party has accommodated a man who is obviously unfit for office.