“Democrats are not my enemy”: Flake


Courtesy: Jonathan Satriale (CC BY-ND 2.0)


Monday night, Republican Arizona Senator Jeff Flake spoke  at the Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, about the dangers of “tribalism” in politics today.

Flake started his speech with a comparison between Ronald Reagan’s America, and the US government today.

“In Reagan America we knew where the buck stopped,” said Flake. “But today we cannot find that buck.”

Following the controversy regarding the nomination and investigation of Brett Kavanaugh, Flake decided to direct his speech towards the need for unification among parties. Flake claimed that the lack of this was a main obstacle in D.C. today.

“There is a sickness in our system,” said Flake. “And we have infected the whole country with it.”

Flake discussed the pressure he felt from opposing parties regarding the Kavanaugh nomination.

“The left was enraged because I had failed to act exactly as they wanted me to behave and was not prejudice against the testimony of Brett Kavanaugh,” said Flake. “The right was enraged because I was not prejudice against the testimony of Blasey Ford.”

Flake compared today’s partisanship to “tribalism”, and identified this as a major issue in the government today.

“I had failed my tribe. I had been failing my tribe for quite some time now…” said Flake. “I hope to continue to fail my tribe.”

There were about 50 protesters lining the outside of the event, fighting against the inauguration of Kavanaugh. Many were women, who held signs, some saying “Kavano” and “My Rape Matters.”

When asked what Flake had thought about the future of women under a possible Kavanaugh supreme court, he was not concerned.

“I think it will be similar to having any other conservative on the court,” said Flake. “The court has a balance, and I think it will be okay.”

Flake also cited a friendship he had had with Arizona democrat Gabby Giffords, and the criticism he had received from his fellow party members for it. In 2012, he sat next to Giffords at a State of Union Address given by former president Barack Obama. Giffords, who was recuperating at the time, wanted to stand but could not without Flake’s help.

“That left me standing,” said Flake. “The lone republican in a sea of cheering democrats.”

Flake then said he had gotten angry texts and emails from partisans, angry at why he would stand for an Obama speech.

He also holds Republicans in office accountable for making compromises and working with Democrats who currently do not have as much political power in Washington.

“When we try to avoid compromise and take partisan advantage because we have the numbers is when we start to hurt the country,” said Flake. “If you want to make America great, be humble and if necessary to find compromise to solutions.”

Throughout the speech, Flake took pride in his own party, as well as showing support for democrats.

“I am a proud and lifelong Republican,” said Flake. “Democrats are not my enemy.”