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Corker and Flake: Heroes or Zeroes?

The so-called liberal media are hailing Senators Bob Corker and Jeff Flake as heroes for their denunciations of the behavior of President Trump. Are they heroes or zeroes?

Corker and Flake complain about Trump’s personality and statements (including tweets) but strongly support Trump’s policies, including those to enrich corporations and plutocrats at the expense of the middle class and those in poverty. Just this year they both voted at least four times to take away health insurance from upwards of 30 million Americans. They did not vote funds needed for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides healthcare for 9 million children.

Yesterday they voted to allow corporations to force consumers to give up their rights to justice in the court system and instead use only binding private arbitration, using arbitrators chosen from corporate-friendly panels in a system with no published opinions and no appeals to the real court system.

Corker and Flake are perfectly fine with stopping all government action to combat pollution and climate change.

They also like that the United States has troops in over 170 countries and actively seeks to kill people in many of them. Neither objected to Trump’s announced ban on transgender soldiers. They have done nothing to combat foreign interference in U.S. elections.

I have found only one actual significant Trump policy or decision that Corker or Flake have objected to. Corker and Flake support “free trade” agreements that allow panels of corporate attorneys to undermine democracy by nullifying national laws that protect workers, consumers, or the environment. Trump says he is against those agreements but has taken no action against them, except for exiting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). So, even where a policy disagreement allegedly exists, Corker and Flake seem worse than Trump for the average American.

Corker and Flake seek to enjoy the policy benefits of Trump’s presidency for their corporate taskmasters without taking responsibility for the personality that achieves those benefits for them (by getting himself elected President). They denounce Trump’s racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, “nationalism,” military blustering, and lying, but they support Trump’s actual policies and decisions. They want the fruit of Trumpism without touching the fertilizer that feeds the tree of Trump.

But, say the liberal parts of the media, at least Corker and Flake are better than those Republicans who fail to denounce Trump at all; they are the true “zeroes.” But those Republicans are not like Corker and Flake in making a big show of distancing themselves from the bad (Trump’s behavior) while still benefiting from the “good” (Trump’s policies and decisions). Corker and Flake want the Trump policy “benefits” without accepting the inherent connection to Trump’s behavior.

Do Corker and Flake rise to the level of heroes? Or even zeroes?

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Dan Meek is a public interest lawyer living in Portland, Oregon.

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