November 13, 2018

"When his book came out last year, I saluted Flake for doing something politically contraindicated and Rubicon-crossing, establishing himself..."

"... as the first Republican senator to call President Trump the domestic and international menace that he is. I applauded him for describing the president’s tweets as 'all noise and no signal' and for daring to charge his administration with Orwellian doublespeak, 'dividing us along fissures of truth and falsity and keeping us in a kind of low-level dread.' I said that Flake’s book had rhetorical power. But looking back on it, it didn’t. Jeff Flake’s book couldn’t even convince Jeff Flake. As of this writing, he has voted with Trump 84 percent of the time... It wasn’t that I was too kind to Flake when his book came out. It was that I mischaracterized his book altogether. 'Conscience of a Conservative' was not a cri de coeur, a critique of Trump, an analysis of the sorry state of our politics or an invitation to recommit to Goldwater’s philosophy. It was a relic. It was a bit of quixotica. It was a tragedy."

From "I Take Back My Praise of Jeff Flake’s Book" by Jennifer Senior (NYT).


Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Behind a paywall. So she's upset with him for voting mostly along party lines? Is that it?

Fritz said...

There comes a redeemer, and he slowly too fades away
And there follows his wagon behind him that's loaded with clay
And the seeds that were silent all burst into bloom, and decay
And night comes so quiet, it's close on the heels of the day

whitney said...

Is 'cri de coeur' the phrase of the week then? It would make sense. Trump in France. They just can't stop themselves

D 2 said...

What was the 16% Flake didn't like? Conversely, does anyone vote 0%? Like, out of principle/spite? What is the floor on this thing? Does X and Y ever not vote in unison? Has X ever voted across lines?
So many tangents from one throwaway stay cited....

D 2 said...

"Statistic". Never go with shorthand w autocorrect.
But always check for white spaces.

gilbar said...

curious what Jennifer Senior thinks about her other old boyfriend, lindsey graham?

Henry said...

Oh for fuck's sake.

Rob said...

Quelle surprise. For the New York Times, being Republican is the original sin. There's no absolution for that.

JPS said...

This whole criticism from the left, that it does no good for anyone in Congress to criticize Trump if they then "vote with him", is an attempt to have it both ways. If criticism of Trump is negated by siding with him on policy, then your objection to Trump is based on policy, not on his supposed unique personal awfulness and threats to democracy.

Senior could have left Trump out of it, and just criticized Flake on the grounds that she thought he'd become a liberal, but he actually hadn't.

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Henry said...

I'm not going to crawl through the wreckage, but my guess is that voting with the leader of the party you belong to 84% of the time is quite low.

I am proven correct.

Amazingly, the man who is last among Republicans? Rand Paul, at 75%.

Don't expect Ms. Senior to send him a greeting card anytime soon.

* * *

But try this as a thought experiment: Imagine if, by some cosmic twist of dystopian lunacy, Sean Penn captured the Democratic nomination in 2020 and then won the White House. Would Democrats consider him worth the trouble in exchange for a tax increase and the appointment of two liberal Supreme Court justices?

Some undoubtedly would. But they’d be cowards. Their objective should be to render him as impotent as possible.

Oh for fuck's sake.

Try this as a thought experiment. Imagine, that a book reviewer actually applauded a conservative for being consistent and principled. Would that book reviewer find that opinion worth the trouble in exchange for the mockery of colleagues and a few hostile dinner parties?

Some reviewers would. But they'd be courageous.

Earnest Prole said...

The Times did the same thing to Flake’s hero John McCain, praising him heavily when he criticized fellow Republicans and then savaging him when they realized he hadn’t actually switched parties.

Angle-Dyne, Samurai Buzzard said...

"...and for daring to charge his administration with Orwellian doublespeak..." [my bold]

They keep using that word. I do not think it means what they think it means.

robother said...

How lame is this, taking back a favorable book review? Does Flake's publisher have to cut out the blurbs on each cover of the books in the remainder bin?

Do I get a (literal) take back of every dollar I contributed to John McCain's Presidential campaign? That would almost be worth the humiliation of admitting I made it in the first place.

chuck said...

Eventually, everyone ends up in the Gulag.

Henry said...

If you look at the comments you'll see that the majority of the Times Picks -- not the most upvoted, but the comments that the Times Picked -- all accuse Flake of bad faith, of being a fraud and a liar.

It almost makes Ms. Senior look objective by comparison. She only accused him of being a coward.

Yancey Ward said...

What an idiot- nothing in Flake's book ever claimed he was becoming a fucking Democrat.

Rabel said...

Trying to figure out her Sean Penn reference and all I can come up with is that he was mildly critical of the metoo thing and thus he must be rendered impotent.

Is that about right?

chickenlittle said...

Look at the author's other opinion works for the NYT: Anti-Kavanaugh, anti-Trump, etc. Oh and some Obama leg humping mixed in there. Was she a Jill Abrahmson hire? Should we check her purse for Obama icons?

Henry said...

One additional comment. Ms. Senior does pull a neat Emporer's New Coat act ... against the idea of books. She depants her own profession. A book review starts with the conceit that books have meaning based on their own internal force, logic, evidence, and authenticity. Likewise a newspaper editorial. If the words aren't meaningful except as a footnote to a writer's hairshirt collection, there are very few writers left we need ever read.

Comanche Voter said...

Well dang! At least one person liked Flake and his book, at least for a while.

Luke Lea said...

Thomas Sowell on the Vulgar Pride of Intellectuals:

Explains it all.

Jack Wayne said...

Choose one:
A Rube self-identifies
A Credentialed Person shows they are not Educated

MadisonMan said...

So in other words, Senior's blind rage about Trump clouded her judgement about the book. Probably like so many other things in her life.

Mike Bunge said...

If you view something as an existential threat, anyone who does NOT view it that way becomes part of the existential threat.

George W. Bush is arguably a war criminal who got hundreds of thousands of people killed for no good reason and authorized the torture of prisoners. He's also responsible for spying on Americans without warrants and led the nation into the worst economic crisis since The Great Depression. He's LITERALLY the worst and most destructive President in at least the last 50 years. He actually DID the things we're supposed to be afraid Trump MIGHT do.

Yet George W. Bush is treated like he's a perfectly acceptable public figure by the same people setting their hair on fire over Donald Trump. And no, it's not because he's out of power. People still hated Nixon decades after he left office.

But George W. Bush is acceptable and Donald Trump is not because W. is "one of us" and Trump is not. It's the same reason a bunch of Republicans who won't say a word in defense of Trump suddenly cared a great deal about the character assassination of Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh is "one of us" and Donald Trump is not.


Jupiter said...


mccullough said...

This woman is stupid. The NY Times is a ladies newspaper for wealthy whites in NYC.

EDH said...

"When his book came out last year, I saluted Flake for doing something politically contraindicated and Rubicon-crossing, establishing himself..."

I can understand why Althouse excerpted that gem.

"I Take Back My Praise of Jeff Flake’s Book" by Jennifer Senior (NYT).

Why does she seem convinced that someone gave a shit to begin with?

Achilles said...

Don't worry about Senator Flake.

I am sure his sinecure is safe.

He did just what his globalist masters asked him to do and he is serving his purpose faithfully.

He has given all sorts of pieces of shit cover and "bipartisan" legitimacy. Just like Bush and Bush and Romney and the other globalist servants.

Amadeus 48 said...

I love cinema. I am not so hot on Sinema. McCain, RIP, you cocky bastard. You have screwed us over for the last time. McSally, you failed. Flake, you got played in that elevator. It worked out fine, though. I wish you were back in the Senate instead of Sinema, but you didn’t make the sale. I guarantee that Sinema won’t vote with Trump 84% of the time.

Ken B said...

That prose is over-plucked.

narciso said...

Yes he'll join the uranium lobby or some Castro fracking outfit,,

William said...

Flake is soon to be an obscure ex-Senator and has lost all value as a tool with which to bash Trump. It's kind of her to give his book one last plug before it reaches oblivion. She didn't have to take the trouble.......Who reads these books? How can Flake's book possibly outsell that of Charlotte Pence, the VP's daughter. She has written a memoir about her time on the campaign trail with her father. In spare, unadorned prose that somehow underlines the complexity of the emotions, she writes about the pain and the loss of her pet dog's death and how she had to keep smiling through it all. I understand Charlize Theron has already secured the movie rights.

Phil 3:14 said...

Now he’ll be one of only two ex (and still ex) Arizona US Senators. Quickly forgotten.

Can you name the other?

Tank said...

Didn't Flake call "no backsies"?

Roger Sweeny said...

he has voted with Trump 84 percent of the time

The other way of looking at this is that Trump is actually fairly moderate. He may have sounded radical, and perhaps he once was, but now he has been pretty much captured by the Party establishment.

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