Political conservatives have been scolded by one of their own.
Are they listening? Are they taking heed? Will they act differently in the future?
The scolding comes from U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, a lifelong Arizona Republican, who says conservatives were shamefully silent while the man who would become president told the ongoing lie about Barack Obama’s place of birth.
Flake also turned his fire on conservatives who chanted “Lock her up!” at Donald J. Trump’s campaign rallies.
Conservatives have misbehaved and have failed to follow in the footsteps of Flake’s political mentor, the late U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater. Indeed, Flake’s new book, “Conscience of a Conservative,” mirrors the title of Goldwater’s 1960 book.
Flake is concerned about the fate and future of the Republican Party, which is now being led by a president with no apparent ideological compass. Flake wants Donald Trump to settle down, to demonstrate some discipline, to allow the White House staff operation to function as it should — and to curb his use of Twitter to make policy pronouncements.
Flake said he’ll continue to criticize Trump when he deserves and will support him when he deserves that, too.
He does pose a fascinating question about the conservative movement. He wonders how actual conservatives can continue to support someone who espouses “protectionist” trade policies, seeks to isolate the nation from the rest of the world and wants to spend enormous amounts of public money with funds that are missing from the federal Treasury.
I’ll add as well that conservatives ought to re-examine their support for someone who has spoken so crassly and profanely about his political opponents and behaved so boorishly in his own personal life.
My hope is they would look inward. My fear — which is being demonstrated daily — is that they’ll continue to stand by their man.
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