Reality Show Traps Two Senators on a Desert Island. Why Stop There?


Appropriations Subcommittee meeting in session.
Discovery Channel

Republican Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake simply cannot get enough of desert islands. He keeps popping off to them to get away from it all and work on his survival skills. You never know when the ability to start a fire might be useful to end a boring subcommittee hearing.

But his latest stunt is dragging a senator from across the aisle with him and filming what happens for reality television. A new show for the Discovery Channel, called Rival Survival, is sending Flake and Democratic New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich to a remote location in the Marshall Islands. The Hollywood Reporter notes:

The duo will be given a modest choice of items from which they can select only three. They're forced to use the limited resources and work together as they attempt to spear fish, build shelter and find enough water to survive for a week on Eru in the Marshall Islands, where the reefs alone are littered with venomous stonefish, lionfish and scorpion fish.

Flake is a conservative republican who served in the U.S. House of Representatives for six consecutive terms, from 2001-13, before he was elected to the U.S. Senate. He's a reformer who has backed immigration reform. Heinrich, meanwhile, is a conservationist and strong progressive and a member of the Senate's Energy and Natural Resources Committee who backs education, health care and Social Security. The duo is described as being polar opposites and were often at odds in the Senate.

Eru, meanwhile, is home to the wreckage of downed WWII aircraft and the largest shark sanctuary in the world with more than 2 million square miles of protected waters.

So far they only appear to have done this one episode (which will air Oct. 29), but they're hoping for a series. Sadly, the way the Reporter describes it, they won't continue on sending legislators off into the wilderness and out of our hair. They'll be looking for other volunteers and they aren't even all that committed to the concept of sticking only to "rivals."

Back in 2012, we classified Flake as one of the more libertarian-leaning candidates for office, and ReasonTV interviewed him in 2011. Watch below:

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  1. Obvious joke about dumping all members of Congress (and the White House) on an island with nothing but weapons. Last man standing wins.

    1. I support this plan. I would watch that television show.

    2. Like Battle Royale or the Hunger Games, but with a differentsomewhat older demographic.

    3. The American people would be the winners.

  2. Huh. My dad was stationed in the Marshall Islands during WW II. He’s never mentioned the scary fish.

    1. Well, lionfish are beautiful and stonefish and scorpionfish are really well camouflaged. Maybe he didn’t know what to look for.

      1. Lionfish are delicious and not afraid of people so they’re easy to spear. They require careful handling, though cooking denatures the venom.

    2. He might have had other things on his mind at the time.

  3. I would watch a reality show about every member of Congress who votes to authorize military force against ISIS being deployed to fight the good fight themselves.

    1. Don’t forget the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces! He should be leading the fight.

      1. IIRC, the last time a President, qua President, led troops in the field was when President Washington went to put down the Whiskey Rebellion.

  4. That island will have its own Patriot Act in two weeks.

  5. Hmm, Legislators surrounded by a shark sanctuary. This has real possibliites.

  6. Senator celebrity island death match is some made for TV entertainment. Two Senators enter the island, one leaves.

    1. We could probably get Tina Turner to host.

  7. So, let me see if I got this right. A libertarian-leaning Senator with a history of going on survival trips to remote islands invites a political rival to spend a week with him on an island with a large number of life-threatening perils. Flake, you magnificent bastard! I’m suggesting next episode you invite Reid or Franken.

  8. A new show for the Discovery Channel, called Rival Survival, is sending Flake and Democratic New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich to a remote location in the Marshall Islands.

    Don’t they both have another job they ought to be doing instead of futzing around in the Marshall Islands?

    1. Like what, wasting more of our money? Send all of them, in pairs, to 50 different islands and tell them they are on a reality show.

      1. Stormy doesn’t like the idea because it came from a Republican, had it originated from a Democrat he’d either be silent or totally on-board.

  9. First we nuke them, and now we send them our Senators.

    Haven’t the Marshall Islands suffered enough?

  10. This bad-buddy-movie reality show is actually a great concept. How about one pairing a 40-something libertarian engineer with a 20-something singer/starlet/model, and stranding them on a deserted island? I can be the 40-something dude.

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