Is Jeff Flake Too Principled on Earmarks to Win a Senate Seat?

That's the possibility raised by the Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore, in a piece covering the hotly contested race to replace departing Sen. John Kyl (R-Arizona). In one corner stands former George W. Bush surgeon general (and independent-turned-Democrat) Richard Carmona; in the other stands the strongly libertarian-leaning Rep. Jeff Flake, famous (among other things) for refusing to accept earmarks for federal projects in his district. Writes Moore:

Flake—a six-term U.S. congressman—recently met behind closed doors with about a dozen leading businessmen in the state, including two powerful and respected CEOs: real-estate developer Mike Ingram and former Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo.

Both businessmen supported Mr. Flake's opponent in the Republican primary (Mr. Flake won by 40 points), and both are pushing for federal financing of a road project that would stretch from Phoenix to Las Vegas. In the western part of the state, the 300-mile highway would bisect their 34,000-acre Douglas Ranch, where they have plans to develop a luxury hotel and upscale homes. A person who attended the meeting recalls that the two asked Mr. Flake: "We need to know. Are you going to be an Arizona senator or a U.S. senator?"

I'm told that Mr. Flake responded by saying that with the country facing a $16 trillion debt, dealing with that problem was his priority.

Good answer; wrong audience. The two CEOs still haven't endorsed Mr. Flake. In an interview Mr. Ingram confirmed the meeting and explained that the business executives in the room "worry that Mr. Flake may not support business compared to [Rich] Carmona," Mr. Flake's Democratic opponent. Mr. Ingram added that Mr. Flake is too often "a no vote on many economic development issues," including "transportation bills."

Arizona's Senate contest is testing the age-old question of whether bringing home the bacon is what wins elections.

FWIW, I was in Phoenix this past weekend, and the ad barrage in this campaign is off the charts. Carmona isn't hitting Flake on insufficient pork, but he is describing him as an environment-raping, special-interest lady-hater. And at least one Flake commercial I watched suggested heavily that Carmona is a deranged and potentially violent misogynist. Good times!

The two are running close to neck-and-neck, in a race that could have major national implications. Also running–and trashing Flake's libertarian bonafides–is Libertarian Party nominee and longtime local activist Marc Victor, whose polling has occasionally been greater than the margin between Carmona and Flake.

Here's Reason.tv interviewing Flake last year:

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  • ||

    Whenever someone accuses me of just blindly worshiping "the rich" or "big business", I'll remind them of this quote. The conservative CEO worries that he won't "support business". Of course, to him, that means, "Giving me federal money for my business". What a scumbag.

  • ||

    Rent-seekers, unite! Form of: a CEO!

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Throw in some Michael Bay spolsions and you'd have something there.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    "spolsions" are like "splosions" except spelled even wronger.

  • Pro Libertate||

    No. The Wonder Twins reboot will be serious and gritty. And dark. Very dark. And incestuous.

  • Tim||

    Turns out Aquaman was involved as a foster parent...

  • ||

    JJ Abrams will make sure of that, ProL.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's fine with me. See, I believe it's impossible to not improve upon this source material.

  • ||

    DON'T TALK SHIT ABOUT JAN AND JANA...AND GLEEK

  • Tim||

    Are you kidding? The Herculoids could kick their asses!

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    The Herculoids ROCK!

  • Pro Libertate||

    I had forgotten about Gleek. I say he betrays the twins by revealing their incest to the world, which results in Superman kicking them out of the Justice League.

    How is it the Justice League is anything other than Superman and the Green Lantern issuing commands? They each have practically unlimited powers.

  • Tim||

    Wonder Woman has super you know what, which can take a woman pretty far.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I fail to see how she can safely have sex with Superman, as Niven has thoroughly explained in reference to Lois Lane.

  • Loki||

    Brodie: It's impossible! Lois Lane could never have Superman's baby. Do you think her fallopian tubes could handle his sperm? I guarantee you he blows a load like a shotgun blast... right through her back! And what about her womb? Do you think it's strong enough to carry his child?

    T.S. Quint: Sure, why not?

    Brodie: He's an alien, for Christ sake. His Kyrptonian biological makeup is enhanced by earth's yellow sun. If Lois gets a tan, the kid could kick right through her stomach. Only someone like Wonder Woman has a strong enough uterus to carry his kid. The only way he could bang regular chicks is with a kryptonite condom, but that would kill him!

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    How is it the Justice League is anything other than Superman and the Green Lantern issuing commands? They each have practically unlimited powers.

    Which is why DC sucks.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Which part? That they're so powerful, or that they aren't ruling the Earth?

  • Virginian||

    How is it the Justice League is anything other than Superman and the Green Lantern issuing commands? They each have practically unlimited powers.

    Because Batman has plans to kill any member of the JLA if they go rogue.

    In the DC Universe, the ultimate guarantee of liberty is not the 2nd Amendment, it's the goddamn Batman.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Of course JJ Abrams will do the Justice League reboot, the scene transition in the cartoon closely resembles LENS FLARE.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Meanwhile.... back at the Hall of Leeches

  • Pro Libertate||

    Bill Woodson, the narrator, is still alive. Approaching 100.

  • ||

    The greatest collection of parasites ever assembled!

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Rent-seekers, unite!
    You have only your competition to lose

    FIFY

  • Tim||

    Pigs don't have idealogy.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    The horse and the chickens and the goats don't believe you.

    /Aminul Farm

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    To be fair, they are dumping 35% of their corporate income into federal quicksand, so it's not entirely beyond the pale for them to want to get some money back.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Highways are a basic necessity that taxes should fund!

    Just kidding.

  • ||

    I know, right? We can always fund them by inflation.

  • Bee Tagger||

    By that picture, he looks to have the same qualifications for VP as Paul Ryan.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    He looks....better qualified....to my eye.

    no homo

  • Randian||

    If Flake has to lose because of this, so be it, but the stand is more important than the election. Ideally, of course, Flake would win in spite of the spurning of these rent-seeking fuckfaces, but the first step is to tell the fuckfaces "no".

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I don't think this is a very good hill to (politically) die on.

    1. The money is already going to be spent; all the earmark does is prevent the executive branch from deciding how to spend it.

    2. The sum total of earmarked funds is insignificant compared to entitlement and defense spending, and Flake's predilection with the former distracts from the real problems.

    Ron Paul, for example, thinks earmarks are a good thing.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    real-estate developer Mike Ingram and former Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo

    Developers and pro sports team owners, almost the very definition of rent-seeking parasites.

  • Tim||

    Wasn't this a plot point on Boardwalk Empire?

  • Drake||

    There is an environment to rape in the Phoenix area?

  • Tim||

    Sure it's a barren wasteland that can kill you in a matter of hours, but so's the North Slope of Alaska and we can't touch that either.

  • fabius||

    goddamnit. I hadn't been following this closely enough to know that Flake was actually a good guy. Now I have to care when he loses.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Flake is all right from a libertarian POV, not perfect (you know how low my standards are). Unfortunately, he also has a lush green lawn in the middle of the fucking Arizona desert, made possible by sucking the Colorado River dry hundreds of miles away using a system finanaced by federal taxpayers.

    Also note the difference between Flake and Ron Paul on earmarks. Ron Paul is all for earmarks given that the money is going to get spent, there's no sense giving the executive branch sole discretion on how to spend it. Plus earmarks are a red herring to a large extent; if we lopped off all earmark spending, it would put a tiny dent in the deficit. They're easy to understand and poke fun at, and the fact that Flake has made a name for himself by attacking a minor part of our spending problem while mostly ignoring the defense and entitlement elephants in the room is not a good sign.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Unfortunately, he also has a lush green lawn in the middle of the fucking Arizona desert, made possible by sucking the Colorado River dry hundreds of miles away using a system finanaced by federal taxpayers.

    If you want to complain about the Colorado River being sucked dry, turn your gaze to California--4.5 million acre feet a year, regardless of the amount of snowmelt that enters the river.

    Bitching about Flake using CAP water for his lawn is rather petty, considering 2/3 of that water is used for agricultural purposes.

  • R C Dean||

    I bet he drives on taxpayer financed roads, too.

    BURN THE HERETIC!

    Right, Tupla (LINO-PA)?

  • Loki||

    Mike Ingram and Jerry Colangelo: may you both burn in a special level of hell several steps lower than the one reserved for pedophiles and people who talk at the movies. These two individuals represent everything that is wrong with this country.

    I hope Flake wins, but I have my doubts.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Do any Arizona-residing HampersandRs have a link to the proposed Phoenix-Vegas highway these crony capitalists are supporting? I realize going up Highway 93 to get to Kingman can be a pain in the ass sometimes, but considering how much these cities have grown without this supposedly critical interstate, I can't see why it's absolutely necessary.

  • Moose Flunky||

    I know they want to call it I-11 (how original) and that it is supposed to parallel, if not run in the same easement, as 93. There was some mumbling about it being easy to build since 93 is already there, but I figure that they would have to straighten out some of the kinks, bypass Wickenburg, and connect into something useful, like Kingman, to be of any use.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "We need to know. Are you going to be an Arizona senator or a U.S. senator?"

    GIMME GIMME GIMME!

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