The Purging of Jeff Flake

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You know, it's going to be hard for Americans to rush back into the bosoms of the Republican minority if they keep doing crap like this.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, who had promised last May that "bad behavior" by House Republicans who voted against their leadership would not be rewarded, announced to a party conference Wednesday that reform Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona was being removed from the Judiciary Committee.

With the change in House control, several Republicans had to be removed from committees. However, Flake was about halfway up the Judiciary panel in seniority, and this was his priority appointment. The decision was made by the Republican Steering Committee, dominated by Appropriations members who resent Flake's vigorous campaign against earmarks.

Boehner later told Flake he was purged because of his verbal attacks on party leaders. Flake was undone by his critical remarks on CBS's "60 Minutes" just before the election.

In case you've forgotten (and sorry, I'm not loaning out my K-Tel Jeff Flake's Greatest Hits compilation), these were Flake's critical remarks.

As they work their way through Congress, earmarks are so shrouded in secrecy you often can't tell who benefits from them, who sponsors them, or why.

"The vast majority of them we have no idea. Sometimes you'll see a press release when somebody's taking a victory lap. Some of them don't want anyone to know ever that they got that earmark, other than the lobbyist that they got it for," Flake tells Safer.

So, no personal attacks on members… just bemoaning the culture of earmarks, which was one of the reasons the GOP lost. The nerve of that guy! Strike him down!

Flake was far more harsh in his interview for our "libertarian vote" feature before the election (which was conducted before the Foley scandal broke).

Reason: What policies could a GOP-run Congress enact that would appeal to libertarians?

Flake: At this late date? Adjournment.

For what it's worth, Flake claims he lost the Judiciary seat because of his stance on immigration. (He's against tying Mexicans to the hoods of pick-up trucks and driving them into the Rio Grande.)

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  1. So, will someone explain again why I, as a libertarian should throw my lot in with this cabal?

  2. I wonder if with this latest kick against him, who Flake would endorse for the Republican nom for prez-his home-state, now-establishment choice Senator or a real maverick congressman from a neighboring state?

  3. Issac:

    Because Gore would have been worse.
    Because Kerry would have been worse.
    Because the Democrats are worse.

    Didn’t you get the boilerplate?
    🙂

  4. Isn’t this actually a good thing? The Republicans continuing to expose how corrupt they are should be seen as a positive, because I’d rather see the party completely discredited and built up again from scratch (perhaps with people who think like Jeff Flake leading the way) than have them pretend to have any virtue whatsoever.

    Bruce Bartlett had some thoughts on back when the Dems acted similarly in the wake of Watergate, and how that was the eventual downfall of the “permanent” Democratic majority.

  5. I don’t think I can throw my lot in with a party led by a guy named Boehner. I know I’m not the first to make that joke, but to me, that will never stop being funny.

  6. I don’t think I can throw my lot in with a party led by a guy named Boehner.

    The real problem is that perpetual tan. It looks too much like endless junkets, paid for by pigs lining up at the trough.

  7. Oh, right, great antlered one from the boreal forests. I confess my many errors, and will not sin again.

    😮

  8. Stupid party is as stupid party does.

  9. The path to Reindeer-dom is often dark but never pleasant. It is why we must band together against the throngs of Twaddlenocks!

    JW: sadly enough, this citizen could only guess to which party you’re referring by context. It applies so well to both. Sort of an all natural peanut butter kinda thing. Sort of apply. Forget. Get chased by squirrels, attack hamsters, etc.

  10. “Adjournment.”

    Ha ha ha ha ha! Funniest. Response. EVAR.

  11. Watch yer back, Moosey.

  12. Is that what you get for accepting Pesos for campaign donations?

  13. Link

    “…The Pentagon has been using a little-known power to obtain banking and credit records of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or espionage inside the United States, part of an aggressive expansion by the military into domestic intelligence gathering.

    The C.I.A. has also been issuing what are known as national security letters to gain access to financial records from American companies,…”

  14. Maybe Reason missed it but the Republicans don’t control Congress anymore. Why is this a story? Isn’t the more important story now majority leader Harry Reid killing off earmark reorm in the Senate? Of course we don’t get that, we get some inside baseball story about some guy few have ever heard of in a post straight off of the Corner. Reason’s sell out to the DNC continues.

  15. Have the Democrats ever appointed a libertarian leaning judge……ever?

  16. You know what’s interesting? Apparently Pirate Bay is trying to buy Sealand.

  17. “Isn’t the more important story now majority leader Harry Reid killing off earmark reorm in the Senate?”

    That would be an important story if it had actually happened. But his motion to block it was defeated, and if you already know about the final Senate vote then the much bigger story is that you’ve got a time machine.

    “Maybe Reason missed it but the Republicans don’t control Congress anymore. Why is this a story?”

    You don’t think it’s a legitimate story on a libertarian blog when one of a handful of libertarianesque congressmen gets smacked down for his libertarianesque (or at least non-party flack) behavior?

    “Reason’s sell out to the DNC continues.”

    As does your record of unintentionally funny posts.

  18. Bob Barr, call Jeff Flake.

  19. Like Sparky said, Jeff Flake is one of the few more or less libertarian members of Congress, so anything related to him is news.

    Also, some of us were hoping to teach the GOP a lesson when we voted them out of power. Apparently, they have a lot of learning to do. And this makes me sad, because I was kind of hoping we’d see some vetos and filibusters and all that good stuff, as a sign that the GOP is relearning some of its better instincts.

  20. “So, will someone explain again why I, as a libertarian should throw my lot in with this cabal?”

    Because it’s a lot better to have someone in Congress without a particular committee position than to have nobody in Congress at all. Why was that hard to figure out?

  21. Amen, Sparky.

  22. Flake/Paul in ’08
    ===========================
    Let’s do Paul/Flake in ’08 instead. This guy’s doing good work, but Ron Paul is a rockstar.

  23. Maybe Reason missed it but the Republicans don’t control Congress anymore. Why is this a story?

    Well, maybe because it speaks to how the elephants will act when they are in the majority again. Hate the donkeys all you will (and I instictively do too) but the fact that there is now a donkey majority is a pretty sure indication that the electorate was generally dissatisfied with the GOP way of doing things.

    Looks to me like the Republican leadership is utterly tone deaf to the tune that vox populi is singing.

    The path to Reindeer-dom is often dark but never pleasant. It is why we must band together against the throngs of Twaddlenocks!

    I am forever willing to make whatever sacrifice is called for in the struggle against Twaddlenockerism. The survival of civilzation is at stake, after all.

  24. So, will someone explain again why I, as a libertarian should throw my lot in with this cabal?”

    Because it’s a lot better to have someone in Congress without a particular committee position than to have nobody in Congress at all. Why was that hard to figure out?

    Reread what you wrote there and get back to me if it made any sense to you.

  25. We got a Pres. who orders an attack in Africa to get 3 “El Qaeda” leaders, but, according to the foreign press, killed 70 nomads instead. (While missing the bad guys)

    This Govt. has gone so far down hill morally and ethically, Flake should be proud he was kicked out of it.

  26. I am forever willing to make whatever sacrifice is called for in the struggle against Twaddlenockerism. The survival of civilzation is at stake, after all.

    some things are worth dying for.

    -cab

  27. What are the chances we can we get my li’l homie Jeff “Flake” into the United States Senate after that redolent buffoon John McCain slips on his enormous ego and falls on his cynical ass in the upcoming Presidential election?

  28. Unfortunately, a guy named Flake is unelectable as President.

  29. “Unfortunately, a guy named Flake is unelectable as President.”

    How is “Flake” any worse than “Bush” or “Gore”?

    If his name was Fagg you might have a point.

  30. Where are all the Libertarians to defend Flake? They always scream that Ron Paul is the only Libertarian in Congress. That Ron Paul is a fluke. They have completely ignored Jeff Flake and other libertarian Republicans like Tom Feeney of Florida, and Dana Rohrabacher of California.

    Maybe this will serve to wake the skeptical Libertarian Party people up that there are actually other libertarian Republicans in Congress besides just Ron Paul.

  31. Yea, demote the conservative Flake, and keep the corrupt, earmark loving Jerry Lewis as ranking member on appropriations. That’s the way to win our limited government hearts back. I’ll be cheering when Lewis is hauled off to jail.

  32. Where are all the Libertarians to defend Flake?

    That’s a remarkably odd question to ask on a thread that is about what a good guy Jeff Flake is and what a raw deal he is getting.

    Nobody is denying that there are good libertarian Republicans. You don’t seem to notice that they are marginalized by the current GOP leadership.

    The GOP power brokers have abandoned any semblance of fiscal responsibility and the only way libertarian Republicans have been able to promote anything in opposition to the war on drugs is to team up with evil Democrats. Needless to say the establishment of both parties have shot them down there too.

  33. I agree with Eric Dondero: it’s a shame, the way the Reasonoids harp on Ron Paul and just totally ignore great guys like Jeff Flake.

    But, hark! I heard there’s this guy named David Weigel who works for Reason magazine. Maybe (just maybe) if Eric Dondero told Weigel what a great guy this Jeff Flake is, Weigel might start a Hit and Run thread about it. “Man, it sucks the way the GOP is treating Jeff Flake,” might be the theme of this hypothetical thread Weigel might start.

    I mean, I wouldn’t hold my breath or anything, but it’s certainly possible. Eric, if you don’t e-mail Weigel with news of this Flake guy, I’ll do it myself. SOMEBODY has to let him know, dammit.

  34. in dondero’s defense, i think he might have meant libertarian party people, not libertarians or reasonoids in general.

    -cab

  35. I think barneca is correct, as Mr. Dondero did use the big “L”, and reference the Libertarian Party.

    It’s MLK weekend, can’t we all just get along?

  36. There are many reasons that Ron Paul’s name is a household word for libertarians while Jeff Flake is a relative unknown.

    First RP has about a twenty year head start.

    Second Ron Paul has cultivated a “libertarian” image and has promoted it and himself relentlessly*. What with the newsletter and a deliberate hand out to the LP (including the presidential run) he has the closest thing in libertarianland to a political machine.

    Those who know of Jeff Flake are well aware of his bonafides but face it he has not yet built a national reputation.

    Less hard to understand is Dana Rohrabacher’s status. I think this might have something to do with the fact that while he is most certainly among the original libertarians he has become increasingly (and unfairly) become identified with the GOP establishment. It’s too bad. He’s probably the most influential libertarian sympathizer in the House. But I suspect he has paid a price for that position.

    I live next to Tom Feeney’s district (my CONgressMAN is the perfectly awful John Mica). Every time I see anything about him he is either pandering to the religious right or bragging about some program that will cost billions and benefit (typically for a CONgressMAN the benefit is not obvious) for his district. These are hardly libertarian qualities. Ric Keller is about the same. To his credit Mica doesn’t even pretend to be a libertarian.

    So while I agree with Eric Dondero that we need to look beyond Ron Paul for libertarian sympathizers I say we need to look beyond the GOP.

    It’s perfectly true that Barney Frank’s positions on Social Security and gun control are utterly unacceptable to libertarians. But the same can be said for Tom Feeney’s stands on abortion, gay rights and the Patriot Act.

    *I believe it is a mistake to take the mild-mannered, humble doctor persona to literally. In my opinion Ron Paul is that major rarity in libertarian circles, a serious and aggressive political animal.

  37. Maybe this will serve to wake the skeptical Libertarian Party people up that there are actually other libertarian Republicans in Congress besides just Ron Paul.
    I’m getting the impression Dondero doesn’t actually read the posts and comments in H&R, if he thinks it’s dominated by LP members.

    For that matter, he might not read his own remarks, as a more sensible person might suggest that this will serve to wake up libertarians and let them realize how thoroughly hated they are in the GOP.

  38. So, will someone explain again why I, as a libertarian should throw my lot in with this cabal?”

    Because it’s a lot better to have someone in Congress without a particular committee position than to have nobody in Congress at all. Why was that hard to figure out?

    Reread what you wrote there and get back to me if it made any sense to you.
    *********************

    “This cabal” refers to the GOP, right? The GOP gave Jeff Flake their nomination for US House, right? The GOP nomination got, or very much helped get, Jeff Flake the election to that office, right? They put him on the Judiciary Committee, didn’t they? If they hadn’t done those things first, he wouldn’t even have been position to have that assignment taken away from him.

    So you ask why you should throw your lot in with that cabal. Let’s see, the cabal got Jeff Flake into Congress, and got him a committee position for a certain amount of time. You think somehow that cabal had a net negative effect, or even just no effect?

    Would the world be better off without Jeff Flake in Congress? Or are you just saying you have nothing good to contribute to a political organiz’n?

    And Eric, the 05.b, if libertarians are so hated among Republicans, then why do they do so much better among Republicans than they do with the gen’l public?

  39. if libertarians are so hated among Republicans, then why do they do so much better among Republicans than they do with the gen’l public?
    ===============================
    Because the democrats get panicky and irrational whenever socialism is questioned. That doesn’t make the Libs closer to the GOP than to the Democrats, it just means that they have a longer history of hatred with the conventional left.

  40. Well, considering that Flake is from my state, and he’s about as libertarian as you can get from the two major parties (and no, I’m not forgetting Dr Paul), I’ve been touting Flake’s bona fides for quite some time now.

    Yes, he’s a Mormon, but at least the dude puts his money where his mouth is.

    I’m with lovecat in thinking that Flake should be proud that those jackals have turned on him.

  41. if libertarians are so hated among Republicans, then why do they do so much better among Republicans than they do with the gen’l public?

    Wow, you really haven’t been paying attention the last several years.

  42. I would totally vote for a Hagel/Flake ticket. Yeah, I know, those who want to can find things to dislike about both of them, but compared to Hillary? Please.

  43. Hell, compared to just about any other Republican (except Ron Paul, of course, but he can’t win) Hagel/Flake would kick ass.

  44. Indeed.

  45. And Eric, the 05.b, if libertarians are so hated among Republicans, then why do they do so much better among Republicans than they do with the gen’l public?

    Yeah, among the general public Libertarians get point-five percent of the vote, whereas among Republicans Libertarians will get as much as point-seven. Take that, Eric the fifty-one-hundredths of a Bee!

  46. So, will someone explain again why I, as a libertarian should throw my lot in with this cabal?

    Perhaps to get more Jeff Flake types in office, or maybe a Janice Rogers-Brown on the SCOTUS.

    I’m not saying it will happen, but that’s the general idea.

    We’re going to get the shaft from either major party. Personally I’ll just cherry-pick and support whoever is most libertarian in a particular race. Sometimes that will be a Democrat, sometimes a Republican.

  47. Republican true believers tend to hate Libertarians because we syphon more votes from them than we do from the Democrats.

    Also, more authoritarian Reps see us as promoting drug use, homosexuality, and everything else that they would like keep under their boot.

  48. “Isn’t the more important story now majority leader Harry Reid killing off earmark reorm in the Senate?” – John

    Isn’t it amazing? The Republicans launch an offensive by sponsoring an amendment to the Democrats’ ethics bill, in the hope that it will be shot down in the standard First-100-hours style, and then spend the day trumpeting the assumed Democratic rejection of the amendment. And as that media campaign is going on, John shows up on a completely unrelated thread and proclaims exactly the line that the RNC is trying to get out, and that house organs like National Review are so helpfully trumpeting.

    I would assume that this was merely a coincidence, if it weren’t for one little problem: they story the RNC is reporting, and that John so helpfully passes on to us, isn’t true. Not only that, but John reports exactly the same incorrect information that the GOP house organs report.

    John, are you getting paid to do this? Or are you a volunteer? Which is it, hack – corrupt, or pathetic?

  49. joe,

    Will you be thanking the Republicans, particularly Jim Demint, any time soon for forcing Reid to adopt the stricter amended bill?

  50. And, while I’m demanding that credit be given where it is due

    A motion to delay consideration of the amendment was voted down by a 51-46 margin — including “no” votes from Democratic senators as Barack Obama of Illinois and John Kerry of Massachusetts, as well as Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.

    From a CNSNews report. Senator Obama has gained a bit more respect from me. Maybe he is some sort of “new breed” of Democrat that actually takes seriously his responsibility to the American people.

  51. “Republican true believers tend to hate Libertarians because we syphon more votes from them than we do from the Democrats.”

    To the extent that’s true, it shows that libertarians do do better among Republicans than among the gen’l public (which includes Democrats).

  52. Taktix, you have a point about a politician named Boehner. However, former Rep. William H. Boner (D-Tenn. 1979-1987), while never having held a leadership position in Congress, was elected mayor of Nashville during the first year of his fifth Congressional term.

    During his single term of office, Mayor Boner divorced his third wife to marry a younger nightclub singer, who stated to a reporter for the now-defunct Nashville Banner that the mayor was capable of passion for “seven continuous hours”.

    Keeping in mind that this was before Viagra, Cialis, etc. came on the market, perhaps there is something to rising to the expectations of an unfortunate name.

  53. jf,

    “Will you be thanking the Republicans, particularly Jim Demint, any time soon for forcing Reid to adopt the stricter amended bill?”

    I’ll have the same warm place in my heart for them as for the guy who added “sex” to the Civil Rights Act in hopes of sinking it.

    It’s good that the Democratic leadership is being walked back from the “my way or the highway” inflexibility of the “First 100 Hours” strategy. Consideration of legitimate, meaningful amendments can only improve the process. The message of November 7 was not “Go on like before, but change places.”

  54. Current plan seems to be for the Dems to win the 2018 House elections, install Obama as Speaker, then impeach and remove both Trump and Pence.

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