Whatever the Republican Party's problem is, the solution isn't for Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, to quit the Senate or Roy Moore and Kelli Ward to become Republican Senate nominees.
The fact is, Flake is a good man and is part of the solution in Washington — not part of the problem. A lot of what he said on the Senate floor Tuesday is the undeniable truth. But instead of staying in the fight, he just sounded the alarm and is now heading for the door. Not exactly heroic.
Leaders such as Flake need to stay and fight the good fight. The Republican Party needs more principled conservatives walking the halls of Congress, not fewer.
Flake stood for something, and he should continue doing exactly that. Surrendering to a potential defeat in 2018 is not the example that he should set. In this political environment, quitting is the definition of being selfish.
And while we are at it, I see the people who criticize those serving in the Trump administration as being enablers of the president. After all, Trump needs minding. I think a lot of people serving in this administration are guardians of the galaxy. Thank God they are there. If the rational, level-headed thinkers are discouraged and quit, the void will be filled by less competent, less committed individuals who will only encourage the president's worst instincts.
Flake is wrong; in Congress, the choices aren't to either be complicit or quit. There is the option of staying, being intellectually honest and trusting the voters that you have always said you trusted.
I hope Flake's shortsighted choice of quitting doesn't have a snowballing effect within the GOP. But the liberal media will treat Flake like a hero — and this is only the beginning of the retirement season. Let's remember, the mainstream media wants nothing less than to see the destruction of the Republican Party.
Oh and by the way, the anti-Republican media will celebrate Flake's retirement as a triumph for Stephen K. Bannon. But Bannon seems just to be following Lee Atwater's first rule of politics: be for what is going to happen. Bannon didn't create or launch the candidacy of Moore anymore than he did that of Donald Trump. And he didn't create or launch the candidacy of Ward in Arizona. He is just following the polls and supporting whoever looks like a winner. He is a classic opportunist. Bannon is no kingmaker.
Yet the allure of a hostile Bannon takeover of the Republican Party is irresistible to the media because it is what they want to happen. And in politics, bad gets worse. In two or three days, headlines will read that Flake's departure signifies the death of the Republican Party -- at the hands of Bannon. All the more reason real Republicans need to stay and fight.
ED ROGERS is a contributor to the Washington Post's PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush White Houses and several national campaigns.