Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., speaks to members of the media as he walks to a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington Thursday, July 13, 2017. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., rolls out the GOP's revised health care bill, pushing toward a showdown vote next week with opposition within the Republican ranks. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Jeff Flake is No Martyr. Steve Bannon Did Not Defeat Him. And the Media is Full of Crap on This Story.

I cannot help it that the Washington media and much of both the anti-Trump and pro-Trump forces have narratives they want to push that are falsehoods, but I can tell you the truth about Jeff Flake.

Flake is no martyr. You can love his speech, and it was good, but let’s not kid ourselves. Flake says our kids are going to ask what we did to stop what is happening and Flake’s honest answer will be he quit. And he is quitting. But the media narrative on both sides is convenient, self-serving, and a fabrication.

I’m sorry Trump haters, but Jeff Flake is no martyr who spoke truth to power and met defeat for doing so. I’m sorry Trump humpers, but Steve Bannon did not defeat Jeff Flake in a game of 13 dimensional chess. The truth is Jeff Flake defeated himself.

Jeff Flake had a 100% lifetime Club for Growth record in the United States House of Representatives. He was a conservative’s conservative and stood up to the House GOP leadership. He used that reputation to catapult himself into the Senate with the backing of most every major conservative group. He towed a tough line on the budget, Obamacare, immigration, etc.

Then he got to the Senate and promptly caved on it all. Friends of his tell me that he had no support system in the Senate. In the House, at least, there were other Club for Growth candidates. The smaller Senate with even fewer conservatives unleashed Jeff Flake’s need to be liked. He went from being a reliable Club for Growth members to a reliable Mitch McConnell member.

Voters in Arizona felt betrayed.

Democrats had no use for Flake because he spent years campaigning as a hard core conservative. Republicans had no use for him because he lied his way into the Senate, promptly doing the opposite of many of his core campaign promises. Flake failed to build a new coalition of support while heaping scorn on his existing coalition.

Flake could have been opposed to President Trump and even been outspoken about it. But he could not sell out his conservatism and then become an outspoken Trump critic. That is, however, what he chose to do.

So yesterday he gave a fancy speech giving all the anti-Trump forces their rhetorical viagra. The media fell over in a rapturous applause. And no one bothered to remember all politics is local. Jeff Flake defeated himself with a series of poor decision over six years that alienated him from his base, alienated Republican donors who he heavily pursued in 2012, and then alienated Trump fans.

He was in jeopardy before going to war with President Trump. His war with President Trump and his cri de coeur yesterday were opportunistic attempts to gain sympathy from the city he once pledged to shrink and rewrite the truth.

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Erick Erickson

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