Getty ImagesChip Somodevilla
Today in The Unmitigated Gall: CBS News has hired former ineffectual senator Jeff Flake to join their team as a future ineffectual correspondent. He appeared on CBS This Morning to reaffirm reports that certain types of American mediocrity continue to fail upwards at alarming rates. Flake, who left the Senate to pursue hemming and hawing in the private sector, will be contributing to a new series audaciously called “Looking for Common Ground.” The segment will reportedly be a deep investigation of the concept of irony.
Flake, who is rivaled only by Bartleby the Scrivener in his devotion to performative inaction, made a name for himself in the Senate by repeatedly announcing faint reservations about policies or candidates put forth by the Trump administration, posing for a series of morose photos like a Pieta in a pantsuit, and then doing exactly what the party wanted him to do without fail.
Hiring Jeff Flake to talk about finding common ground is like hiring Scrooge McDuck to talk about crafting an effective wealth tax. Hiring Jeff Flake to talk about finding common ground is like hiring Deadpool to talk about pacifism. Hiring Jeff Flake to talk about finding common ground is like hiring Robert Durst to do premarital counseling. Is there a different meaning of Common Ground? Are we talking about a chic coffee shop with a pun-y name? I am, honestly, vexed.
In his interview, Flake said “common ground might be dead in Washington, but it’s alive everywhere else.” So glad CBS hired a person who worked for a very long time in Washington to report on it then. So glad he got away from the highly partisan world of Washington and got to spend the last ::checks notes:: month really soaking in the real America, a land of mutual respect and reasoned discussion. Move over Profiles in Courage; there’s a new inspirational touchtone in town.
Respectfully, Jeff Flake couldn’t find common ground even if he had GPS and that person at Trader Joe’s who walks around holding a sign up to tell you where the end of the line is. He really showed up on his first day at Both Sides, Incorporated and reminded them how unqualified he is. This is sort of like reporting for your first day at the IRS and telling them, “I’ve always viewed paying taxes as a suggestion, but I hear it’s all the rage everywhere else.”
In addition to Flake’s frank assessment of his skill set in this area, one has to admire the literal quixotic nature of the segment itself, which is acknowledged in the title “Looking for Common Ground.” Not finding, not creating, not standing over here on the right side of history waiting for the rest of y’all to burn those red hats and move past an Antebellum attitude. Nope. Just looking. “Browsing for Common Ground.” “Window-shopping for Common Ground.” “Blowing On a Dandelion I’ve Named ‘Common Ground,’ with your host Jeff Flake, the Bob Ross of politics.”
Anyway, I look forward to a series of segments featuring Jeff Flake appearing thoughtful and melancholy while completely missing the point and creating false equivalencies in a conversation that will surely be set in a diner, a well-lit place of worship, or the classroom from The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. What a wonderfully common time to be alive!
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