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)

Spare Me Your “Poor Jeff Flake is a Victim” Horsecrap Hot Takes

Oh poor Jeff Flake. Jeff Flake got bullied out of Washington by Trumpism. Flake is such a nice guy and there is no room for nice guys in the GOP any more. I am seeing all this all over social media and it is such horse crap.

Jeff Flake is leaving the Senate because he is a crappy politician who built his brand as one thing, used it to get to the Senate, then betrayed that brand once there.

I have covered this before, but Washington Conventional Wisdom would prefer you think this is about Jeff Flake vs. Donald Trump. The reality is that Flake could have stood up authentically to Donald Trump and been supported by his voters if Flake wasn’t such a bullsh…crap politician who essentially lied his way into the Senate.

The Club For Growth’s scorecard is the one Jeff Flake used to recruit donors and national support. Going all the way back to 2005, Flake had a consistently conservative record on fiscal issues. He was one of the very few congressmen supported by the Club with a lifetime 100% score. He literally was the candidate people pointed to as the model Club For Growth candidate.

But once in the Senate he gave all the fiscal conservatives the middle finger.

In 2013, the Club For Growth’s model candidate had an 84% score on their score card, below Mitch McConnell.

In 2014, Flake went up to 90%, but was still outperformed by porkers like Chuck Grassley who had a 91% score that year but, unlike Flake, an 80% life time score. In fact, seven senators with lifetime scores lower than Jeff Flake’s outperformed Flake on the Club’s scorecard that year.

2015 was an improvement for Flake, who went up to 93%, but in 2016 his score was just 84%.

This is mirrored with Heritage Action for America. In Flake’s last year in the House he had a 97% score with HAFA. Once he got to the Senate, he dropped to a 59% score below the average for Senate Republicans. In the last Congress, his HAFA score was just 67%.

Flake has the right message about principle and standing for conviction, but Flake has not done that. He is now, with the help of a willing press corps and Republicans who dislike President Trump, trying to claim he is the victim of the President’s wrath and he is standing on principle. If only that were true. Ben Sasse is doing it, without writing a book about it, and has a HAFA score of 94% and a Club for Growth score of 100%.

Both men talk the same talk, but only one of them is really walking the walk. Jeff Flake has the right message. He’s just the wrong messenger because he does not really believe it and is not really living it. So spare me your hot takes and conventional wisdom on Flake.

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Erick Erickson

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