Sen. Jeff Flake Cites McCarthyism In Brutal Editorial Blasting “Contagious Sickness” Of Trump Administration

Retiring Sen. Jeff Flake cited the most famous moment of McCarthy hearings today in a Washington Post editorial which continues his savaging of the Trump administration. An excerpt:

In words that today echo from his time to ours, Joseph Welch delivered the coup de grace: “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?” The moral power of Welch’s words ended McCarthy’s rampage on American values, and effectively his career as well. After Welch said his piece, the hearing room erupted in applause, those in attendance seemingly shocked by such bracing moral clarity in the face of a moral vandal. Someone had finally spoken up and said: Enough.

By doing so, Welch reawakened the conscience of the country. The moment was a shock to the system, a powerful dose of cure for an American democracy that was questioning its values during a time of global tumult and threat. We had temporarily forgotten who we were supposed to be. We face just such a time now. We have again forgotten who we are supposed to be. There is a sickness in our system — and it is contagious.

You’ll want to read the full editorial.

  • gaycuckhubby

    Creeping authoritarianism has been my biggest fear from the Trump Administration since the very beginning.

  • bkmn

    This need to constantly drive the party farther to the right is the problem and this exists because the GOP has allowed the right wing media to set the agenda, not the party itself. Until the GOP stops listening to the media it won’t get better.

  • clay

    I don’t give a shit what they say, until they use their words to DO something.

    I don’t care if the “poor GOP senator” lost his party if he’s not over on the House end of the building kicking ass.

    • MBear

      Is grandstanding considered doing something?

      • clay

        Grandstanding? He can’t even work himself up to a Tweet drizzle.

        • MBear

          Tweet drizzle=small penis+prostate issues?

      • Tawreos

        In the GOP, of course it is.

      • Gerry Fisher

        I think this is indicative of how far we’ve fallen, but…”saying it out loud” is an improvement, and important first step. Enough of this whispering about it the hallways while pretending that everything is OK in press conferences.

    • bkmn

      Yup, Flake revealed himself to be full of it yesterday by voting in line with Trump and the big banks

      • gaycuckhubby

        Flake isn’t arguing against trumps policy positions. But his Fitness in office

  • Leo

    Not interested. ‘You take your allies where you can get them’ people will say in response to that but, again, NO. The wound’s still fresh for this catastrophe and you are complicit. You will vote for the 1% in your tax bill under your banner of decency before you waltz out the door to avoid electoral embarrassment. Whatever.

  • Tawreos

    Has the morning tweetstorm from Twitler started yet?

    • Joe in PA
      • Gustav2

        Ewwww, all these conservatives in a love fest when all their resentment of the 1960’s and 70’s is about not getting invited to the Summer of Love.

      • KarenAtFOH

        What a fucking narcissist.

      • greenmanTN

        It was a love fest? I assume lots of penicillin and herpes meds are on the way…

      • gaycuckhubby

        Ewwwww…

      • Karl Dubhe

        Must be nice to be able to live in your own reality.

        Damn… Bragging about getting standing ovations? Expecting them at a bloody meeting of Senators? Jesus fucking christ…

        • Joe in PA

          He bragged about it yesterday as well. JFC, he is fucked up.

      • TheGrandWazoo2

        Republican Senators gave him the clap?

        • Joe in PA

          LOL, among other things. 🙂

        • Robincho

          While standing, no less…

      • Anastasia Beaverhousen

        Why does this remind me of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown? “Linus, do you know what I intend? I intend to be a queen. When I grow up I’m going to be the biggest queen there ever was. And I’ll live in a big palace with a big front lawn and have lots of beautiful dresses to wear. And, when I go out in my coach all the people… All the people will wave, and I will SHOUT at them and… And in the summer time, I will go to my summer palace and I will wear my crown in swimming and everything. And all the people will cheer and I will SHOUT at them. (And I’ll…) What do you mean “I can’t be queen?”

      • Acronym Jim

        They’ve all been told that praising the orange menace will help get what they want. They weren’t celebrating Trump; they were trying to manipulate him.

        Toadies and Wormtongues, each and every one of them.

  • SkokieGuy [ChicagoAdjacentGuy]

    Anyone think the next Presidential primary will be Flake vs. Bannon?

    • Tawreos

      Bannon could never handle that level of scrutiny

      • SkokieGuy [ChicagoAdjacentGuy]

        With enough bluster and outrage to suck up the airwaves, no time left for scrutiny. Trump didn’t release taxes, didn’t divest, had a history of racial discrimination, sleazy business practices and was under in the middle of a lawsuit for Trump U fraud. Oh and bragged about assaulting women.

        Scrutiny didn’t stop him. And mainstream media scrutiny is irrelevant to the hardcore right, they only care about what the hear in their own media bubble,

        • clay

          He was also in the middle of lawsuit for raping a girl.

          • fuow

            Still is, no?

          • clay

            Dismissed.

          • -M-

            Due to death threats.

        • fuow

          They only thing which will stop this insanity is the one thing which will never happen: Those of us on the left accepting reality and voting for whomever the Democrats nominate, no matter how repugnant.
          This is the sole reason I am active in my party – to prevent the worst of the worst candidates from getting a chance. No, as a person who comes from the left side of German leftist politics, I am not happy with most of the watered-down Democratic positions on just about everything. But – the alternative is far, far worse.

      • agcons

        Post-Trump I’m not sure that scrutiny matters any more.

        • Tawreos

          Cockroaches will never love the light

      • Todd20036

        After Trump walked through unscathed with his past crimes, I put nothing past the GOP

  • TheGrandWazoo2

    What’s the over/under on death threats Flake has received so far?

  • TK

    YOU. ARE TOO. LATE.

    We knew this already. Hell, his supporters voted for him because if it!

  • SoCalGal20

    OT but this guy is running against Devin Nunes.

    https://twitter.com/janzforcongress/status/922852000001224711

    • Joe in PA

      I’m liking the snark with that one.

  • Ninja0980

    You voted yesterday to help big banks fuck us over.
    I care more about that then you acting high and mighty because you were going to lose a primary.

    • GeneInSJ

      And he’s probably betting that the GOP will blow up shortly and he’ll look like a hero. He’s likely laying the groundwork for a 2020 presidential run. He didn’t deny it when asked.

    • MrRobotoLA

      Precisely. This GOP hero narrative is bogus from the ground up. He’s voted consistently to hurt everyday Americans. I actually don’t think he’s setting up to run for President, as Gene suggests. I think he’s setting himself up for a lucrative lobbying career for the banks or some other cultural/social rapist.

  • Scott Fitler

    So you finally do the right thing when you have nothing left to lose and you were instrumental in creating the problem, and now you try to associate yourself with a heroic moment in history? Whatever…

  • Anastasia Beaverhousen
    • Joe in PA

      Forget the symbolism…that’s a great song/performance.

      A few years ago some friends gave us his two-album “greatest hits”. Love it, and I was never a particular fan before getting that album.

  • CanuckDon

    Did Joseph McCarthy have wealthy backers too?

  • Rex

    Words, words, words.
    It’s just all talk until someone does something substantive.

    • Todd20036

      Kind of like sex….

  • Talisman

    And yet, Mr. Flake, how often have you voted *against* bills promoted by your party and the dumpster? Did you vote against ObamaCare repeal? Against DumpsterCare? Have you supported gun regulations? Have you opposed a single person that the dumpster has nominated to his administration or the judiciary?

    You are already complicit in the dumpster disaster.

    • Gustav2

      97% of the time voted with Trumpians.

    • gaycuckhubby

      Of course he’s going to vote conservative. He is a conservative

      • Joe in PA

        Voting “conservative” is one thing. I haven’t checked, but I presume he voted to confirm Trump’s cabinet picks. I don’t see how many of those nut jobs could be considered good for the country, conservative or otherwise.

      • -M-

        Even so most of those bills and nominees were destructive garbage that they supported just to appease Trump and their insane base.

  • Harveyrabbit

    tRump voters have no clue who (Joe) McCarthy was although a few probably think they agree with her antivax ideas.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6066a8d30ea3dcce040903ccf0b3027388907212e8fbd86d78901d8abb844f6c.jpg

    • Gustav2

      Some think McCarthy was right.

  • greenmanTN

    This fucker just voted to prevent people from suing banks and similar institutions so pardon me if I hold off on a ticker tape parade for him.

    • AmeriCanadian

      Agreed but you know what is said about the enemy of my enemy…

      • greenmanTN

        It’s still a bitter pill to swallow.

        • AmeriCanadian

          I know but this country needs this said out loud over and over, ad nauseam, and from who better than a fellow Republican?

  • gaycuckhubby

    Just a thought… If Alan Grayson had somehow became president and proven himself to be completely unfit for office, as he is. Would we expect Democrats to all the sudden vote for restricting abortion or vote against gay rights just because they thought he was unfit for the office? Of course not. Senators will still vote for what they believe in no matter who the president. It should be that way. Even though I strongly disagree with them.

  • Rex

    If it’s all the same with you Sen. Flake, I’ll be watching what you do rather than listening to what you say.

  • Karl Dubhe

    He’s tweeting up a storm… Let’s hope the man finally capsizes.

    https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/923165619868131329

  • GayOldLady

    I’m starting off the morning disagreeing with almost everyone here. If you read the article or listen to his speech on the Senate Floor yesterday Jeff Flake was not speaking out against what he considers to be Conservative principles, he was speaking out against the dangers Trump poses as an unstable, unethical, uneducated, cruel, mentally ill, morally bankrupt and verbally abusive President. Republicans will nearly always support Conservative policy, but supporting Madness is another thing entirely.

    • gaycuckhubby

      Yes! 1,000 upvotes

    • Leo

      Complicit in the madness to get the policy. Means to an end.

      Sorry but I disagree.

      • gaycuckhubby

        Complicit in what? The conservative agenda? Of course he is that’s not a secret

        • Leo

          Of course. Accepting the morally bankrupt tweeter to get tax cuts. At what cost is a representative achieving their legislative priorities – the debasement of all civil society in a spiral of proud nihilism makes one wonder if it’s worth it.

        • greenmanTN

          This isn’t regular conservatism, it is aimed at the destruction of everything this country has alleged it stands for, all in service of the VERY wealthiest.

          • gaycuckhubby

            Is it any different than anything that Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz has proposed?

      • GayOldLady

        That’s why we have competing parties. If we want liberal policies we have to convince Americans that Liberal policies are better policies than conservative policies. If we want to get rid of Trump and all the Dangers he poses as the Chief Executive of our Country than we want more people like Corker, Flake and McCain to speak up against his madness. Trump poses a danger to our society that is far greater than any policy initiative. His mission is to divide and destroy our country from within.

        • Leo

          It’s all empty symbolism to me. Our country is already divided and we pretended it wasn’t pre-Trump. We know the majority of Republicans feel that way privately and they aren’t willing to come forward because they want to get re-elected.

          What would it do? Honestly. They’d get voted out by Trump’s supporters, proud deplorables that want Rome to burn and won’t be convinced otherwise.

          • GayOldLady

            I agree our country is divided, I’m in my 70’s and I never remember a time when it wasn’t, but what we’re seeing under Trump is a rise of vestiges of the past that most of us thought were dead. The KKK, White Nationalism, Nazism all of those things that threaten our community as much as they threaten the black, Latino and Muslim communities. Trump has breathed life into those hideous people and I don’t believe that the majority of Republicans in Congress support those things. Jeff Flake staying or leaving doesn’t benefit me in any way, but him breaking with historic precedent and chastising the sitting president of his own party from the floor of the U.S. Senate is a message to the country that we’ve never heard in our lifetime. If our goal is to stop Trump from dragging us feet first into a nuclear holocaust or into a Civil war, then we have to be glad for any Republican who speaks out against him.

          • Bj Lincoln

            YES! YES! EXACTLY!

    • clay

      but he’s doing nothing. He’s not engaging the Reps or the Cabinet Secs to get rid of this danger.

      • Nax

        Correct. There is no penalty for anything Trump does, other than to have some Republicans grumble a bit, and a few others quit.

    • greenmanTN

      While I agree with you, some of the the things Flake and Corker have voted for aren’t just “conservative,” they are also unethical, cruel, and morally bankrupt if not sadistic.

      • gaycuckhubby

        But the same bills probably would be passing if Jeb Bush was president or Marco Rubio.
        We disagree with the conservative agenda, flake disagrees with the competency of the man in office

        • Leo

          Yeah, just now because of electoral prospects. I don’t buy any of his moral piety on a page, I don’t. Timing is everything.

        • GayOldLady

          It wouldn’t matter which Republican was President, they’d be passing the exact same bills. The agenda on the Senate Floor isn’t Donald Trump’s agenda, he has no agenda other than “build a wall”, “Mexicans go home”, “No Muslims”, “Iran Bad”. What we see the Senate passing are, the ongoing projects of the Republican Party.

          • ColdCountry

            You forgot, “destroy anything with Obama’s name on it.”

      • GayOldLady

        We’re liberals. We believe anything that diminishes our social safety nets is unethical, we believe that all policy should be written to lift people not to burden them, but Conservatives have spent decades trying to dial back SS/Medicare and Medicaid and all other programs that underpin those goals. None of that is new, what is new is a totally unethical, ignorant, malicious, Mad Man that is purposely dividing our country along race, gender, religious and gender lines and who, at the slightest provocation, will take us to Nuclear War. That’s very new!

        • Leo

          Your nuclear point I agree with but as for divisions this has been the Republican party bread-and-butter since the Southern Strategy and Willie Horton – they just hid it under doublespeak and ads – Trump just puts it out in the open. I don’t look at that as new.

    • TexasBoy

      I’m old. I remember when GOP conservative values were mostly about fiscal responsibility. They ween’t about who someone loved or slept with. I remember when the Dixiecrats were the ones that thought they were morally superior. Turns out, Barry Goldwater was a prophet…embracing the religious right is destroying the GOP, just as it destroyed the Dixiecrats.

      • GayOldLady

        I’m old too and we both know that this entire country cared about who someone slept with. Neither party accepted us or supported us until the Dems decided that DADT and DOMA were a mistake and had to be undone. And i agree about Barry Goldwater. The problem happened when the GOP locked arms with what was called “The Moral Majority” and it’s predecessors.

        • TexasBoy

          Everyone gave lip service to being anti-gay…but they really didn’t care about anything that didn’t directly affect them. There was an older lesbian couple that lived across the street when I was growing up in Calif. No one treated them any differently than any other neighbor. And that is when neighbors were really neighbors. If you were ill, someone would mow your lawn, or bring you a meal. People would actually walk around and visit each other, and check on the elderly neighbors, take them shopping and such.

          Gay couples at that time just were considered “old maid” aunts or “bachelor” uncles that shared expenses by living in the same place.

          • Bj Lincoln

            I grew up in a neighborhood like that and took that with me where ever I lived. We get to know our neighbors and try to get along with everyone. We always seem to ‘adopt’ an older person or couple and help out in their yard and check on them during storms. It doesn’t matter what they voted or faith. It is being human.

        • ColdCountry

          My parents were Republicans, but there is no way they would support the sort of bigotry – and inhumanity – the Republicans of today endorse. As my sister said, “This is not the Republican party of our parents.” (I also have two friends who are “trying” to be Republicans, but they abhor what is going on with this administration.)

      • Librarykid

        Let us hope that the destruction is swift and total.

    • Pluto Animus

      Madness is endemic to Conservatism.

      Please remember that these are the same people who accused their own President (Eisenhower) of being a Communist spy.

      There are a thousand such crazy ideas built into Conservatism, going back at least sixty years. Adding fluoride to water and ending racial segregation were both considered Communist plots.

      Just a decade ago, all Conservatives warned that marriage equality was going to destroy civilization. Was that not madness?

      Trumpism is merely Conservatism carried to its logical end.

      • GayOldLady

        What is happening in the GOP now is not the fiscal conservatism that so many of them once swore an allegiance to. It’s a monster mix of white nationalism, christian extremism and xenophobia. It’s like nothing that’s preceded it.

        • Nax

          I disagree. The Southern Strategy, the Cadillac Queen, the Willie Horton ad, preceded. To me, they all indicate what the GOP was really all about–white supremacy. That’s why I was never a Republican, and never fell for their “fiscal conservatism” lies. Republicans explode budgets with their “tax breaks” and racketeering, over and over again.

          • GayOldLady

            There have been outspoken elements of white supremacy in the GOP ever since I can remember. I was born in the 40’s. There have also been elements of the same monster in the Democratic Party although much more in the closet.

            When Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964 he lamented that the Democratic Party had lost the South for a Generation. In fact we lost it for the better part of 50+ years, which is 2+ generations.

            The biggest difference in the two parties on the civil rights front over the past 60 years has been that the Democratic Party has evolved and the Republican Party has either stayed still or devolved.

          • Nax

            Thank you for proving my point. And I hope that people appreciate the history and civics lessons that you are providing. You have a much happier nostalgic sense of the GOP than I do.

    • Nax

      Conservative policy = giving white men all the money and power, who then have a choice as to whether they want to help anyone who isn’t a white man. In the end, Flake, and McCain, and all Republicans, will support Trump doing that. If Flake had it to do over, he would have been with Sessions endorsing Trump out of the gate.

      • GayOldLady

        I agree with the first part of your comment, but disagree with the last sentence. Flake has consistently spoken out against Trump’s behavior albeit a timid repudiation. Flake was against a border wall and he supports immigration reform. Corker endorsed Trump, yet he’s done an about face and has not only repudiated him, but has admitted to making a mistake in supporting him. I don’t agree with the policy positions of either of these men, but credit where credit is due. They both took an axe to their careers and their connections within their party. There will be a consequence for that. Unfortunately, whatever or whoever replaces them will likely be worse.

    • Gerry Fisher

      I’m with ya. (I’m interpreting a lot of the other comments as, “Let’s make sure that we don’t let the GOP get away with convincing people that Trump is not their own freakish baby. They birthed him.)

      • GayOldLady

        They absolutely birthed him and it was a long labor that required forceps and an episiotomy.

  • Sam_Handwitch
    • Joe in PA

      I swear…these parody accounts are SO HARD to distinguish from the real ones. 🙁

    • Joe in PA

      I presume “spiddle” is code for “liddle”? No wonder I get confused as to which account is real.

  • joe ho

    And yet he will continue to vote for Trump on taxes, health care, etc.

    • gaycuckhubby

      Because he doesn’t think Trump is wrong on those things

      • joe ho

        He voted yes on helath care without a debate or hearings. Will do the same on taxes. That’s part of Trump & complicit Rs destroying the system. McCain pointed that out. Flake didn’t. Flake goes along with it while complaining Trump destroys system.

        • Todd20036

          McCain didn’t vote against Gorsuch

      • Nax

        He voted to confirm the dangerous cabinet picks of the man who is a threat to our democracy. I’m glad he’s saying what he’s saying, but in the end, it’s meaningless. The only thing he’s doing is quitting in a huff.

  • Boreal

    Flake helped the arsonist light the country on fire and now wants us to be grateful that he pointed out that the country is on fire.

  • netxtown

    When ‘what you say’ and ‘what you do’ lack any equivalence – it doesn’t matter what you say. Nice try, flakey.

  • fuow

    So – we now have far-right, conservative Republicans with a firmer grasp on reality than the majority of Democrats (the majority of us stayed home in November).
    Wow. Just, like, wow.

  • The_Wretched

    OT – BTW The Senate voted 50/50 + Pence for 51 votes to block the CFPB from enacting consumer protections that would allow people to sue banks (instead of being sent to arbitration). This means more of the WellsFargo type bullS where the bank signs you up for services you didn’t agree to and then bills you for the honor.

  • JWC

    How many GOP heads were raised to listen and see and how many more glanced at their shoes neither hearing or seeing Was this a halolmark or just another ignored protest

  • Bad Tom

    Joe, you are right. Everyone should read the entire editorial.

  • Gerry Fisher

    IMO, this is “all hands on deck” to stop Trump. Along the way, let’s keep linking Trump to Republican politicking of the past decades. The immediate goal is to get Republicans to break ranks, and they are notoriously loyal and fiercely tribal. Right now, we need people like Flake, so let’s not shoot the messenger, even if he is being self serving. He and Corker can help to peel individuals away from the Republican herd.

  • Pip

    I get what he’s trying to say and to some extent do, but those who would need to listen and find their morals again aren’t going to do so. He’s already being basted as a RINO that just needs to get the hell out of the way for the Trump Train.

    Also, he continues to vote down part lines on things that gut the protections of the very people he’s supposed to help protect. So it’s not like he’s putting his votes to good use in this grand stand that he’s supposedly taking.

  • RoFaWh

    Trump has no sense of decency.

    He can only be embarrassed by someone proving that the gold lining his Trump Tower suite is fake.