Republican Senators now comprise 52 of the exclusive 100-member Senate club. Who can liberals respect, even if they disagree with them?
I have been watching Senators for a few decades. As a liberal, I think many Republican Senators are ordinary politicians. A few are dangerous demagogues. At least one — maybe two — are dunces.
Now, we have recently been consumed with the Trump spectacle. In the meantime, Senators have been speaking, acting, and writing. Recently, they have been prominent in the health-care debate. And one Senator has written a courageous book critical of both Trump and his Republican colleagues. That author is Senator Jeff Flake from Arizona.
Jeff Flake joins his Arizona colleague, Senator John McCain, as two Senators who even liberals can respect.
Republican Senator Jeff Flake
Senator Jeff Flake is no moderate. His ratings from various conservative organizations are in the mid-to-high nineties. As a Mormon, many of his views are on the same page with evangelical Republicans.
Further, Jeff Flake is no Senate rebel. He has voted with President Donald Trump’s position 93.5 percent of the time, as of today.
Still, he is worthy of liberal respect for three reasons.
First, Flake has consistently criticized some of the worst aspects of Trump’s behavior and statements. He did not endorse Trump for President.
Second, Flake has continued to display courage even after Trump became President. His book, Conscience of A Conservative, criticizes Trump even though Flake is up for re-election.
Third, Trump is not the only object of Flake’s criticism. His book calls out the GOP for its surrender to “populism, nativism, and demagoguery.” He is also harsh on fellow GOP senators for their “unnerving silence in the face of an erratic executive branch.”
As the junior senator from Arizona, Jeff Flake has a noteworthy model in its senior Senator, John McCain. McCain is also worthy of respect.
Republican Senator John McCain
McCain certainly seems to vote less often with his party than Jeff Flake. The American Conservative Union has given him a lifetime score of close to 82 percent. Another tracker ranks him as the 32nd most conservative Senator.
Since Trump came to power, McCain has supported Trump’s legislative actions almost 85 percent of the time. This is even though Trump and McCain have had a history of conflict. Trump seemed to have no respect for McCain’s suffering as a prisoner of war.
Unlike Trump, many liberals respect McCain’s Vietnam war experience. Barack Obama, for one, had called him a “genuine American hero.”
Liberals also praised McCain for his courageous defense of Obama during the 2008 Presidential campaign. McCain defended Obama’s patriotism after an ignorant woman cast aspersions on Obama’s loyalty to the country.
If you are a liberal, which Republican Senators do you respect?