By Curtis Houck, Newsbusters | August 1, 2017
While on his book tour, Republican Senator Jeff Flake (Ariz.) stopped by Tuesday’s Hardball for an interview in which host Chris Matthews heaped effusive praise on Flake’s book Conscience of a Conservative as one that’s not only “tough” and “hard-hitting” on the GOP and President Trump, but a “very compelling” one too.
Flake strangely didn’t wade too deep into slamming Trump and the party’s voters as he did in previous interviews, but it was nonetheless a friendly segment in which his comments were no different than if Nicolle Wallace or Steve Schmidt were instead sitting next to Matthews.
Right from the get-go, Matthews set the tone:
With the publication of the new book today, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona has quickly emerged as the most outspoken Republican critic of president Donald Trump. And he makes it clear he blames his own party for enabling Trump’s rise to power. Well, with the title borrowed from former Senator Barry Goldwater, the book is called Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle.
After the interview started with a pointed back-and-forth about whether Trump is the leader of the Republican Party, Matthews teed up Flake by asking “what’s wrong with Trump.”
Flake flaunted himself as Goldwater (and, by extension, L. Brent Bozell II) when the latter wrote the original Conscience of a Conservative:
I talk about it in the book. Barry Goldwater in 1960 thought that the conservative party, the Republican Party had been compromised by the New Deal. And so he wrote Conscience of a Conservative. I think today we’ve been compromised by other forces. Protectionism, you know, populism and I don’t think those bode well in the long term. That’s not a government policy.
“Very hard hitting on Trump. Demagoguery is the word you used. Populism, protectionism, you used all the tough words and you don’t like them. You don’t think this President is good for the country, do you,” Matthews wondered.
Flake noted that he’s backed Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and Trump’s “great…cabinet picks” yet “where I think that he’s profoundly unconservative is on things like free trade.”
Matthews then continued to sit by as Flake offered red meat for viewers:
FLAKE: I mean, that’s something that we can’t abandon as Republicans. We are decidedly less conservative if we do so and also, being conservative on policy is just part of it. You’ve to be conservative in demeanor as well. Conservatives —
MATTHEWS: Is he?
FLAKE: — a conservative — No. Conservative foreign policy ought to be measured and deliberate and sober and that’s not what we have today.
Despite it having been at least five to six years after Trump’s despicable birtherism crusade against Barack Obama, Matthews gushed over how Flake spent time on this subject in his book.
“I think it is a tough, well-written book and I just want to keep you to it. Anyway, a portion of your book focuses on conservative conspiracy theories and the recent spread of fake news. Most notably, you criticized those who pushed the false notion that Barack Obama wasn’t born in the U.S.,” Matthews explained before reading two book excerpts.
“To me, the original sin was saying Barack Obama was born in Kenya or whatever and denying he was a legitimate President, calling him sort of a con-artist. That was, to me, racist in its nature, to claim the guy’s not a true American when he was clearly, to make fun of his documentation to say he was sort of an illegal immigrant. I think you’re dead right on that. I don’t understand why your party went along with it,” an appreciative Matthews added.
At the end of the interview, the longtime liberal pundit and former aide to Jimmy Carter and Tip O’Neil argued that Flake’s book contained the “same principles” as Goldwater’s Conscience of a Conservative. Media Research Center president Brent Bozell would probably disagree with that, as per his statement earlier Tuesday.
He also predicted that “everybody’s going to talk about this book” seeing as how “it’s a tough, hard-hitting book” and “very compelling.”
To be honest, Matthews’s asinine claim of “everybody” falling for this book should just be contained to The New York Times, MSNBC hosts, failed GOP campaign officials, and adoring liberal elites on the East and West coasts.