Editorial: A call to arms or a political cheap shot?

Two Republican senators, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee, declared war on their party’s president in recent days and then sounded their retreat to the safety of political retirement.

Both senators, whose current six-year terms expire in 2018, announced they will not run for re-election and used their newly minted status as lame ducks to blast President Donald Trump. They threw everything but the kitchen sink at him, essentially labeling him a liar, a fake, a threat to democracy and world peace, a menace to society, a mentally unstable misfit and a general, all-purpose jackass.

OK. If that’s what they believe – and a lot of people in and out of politics agree with them – good on ‘em for speaking their minds and putting their fears and concerns about the commander in chief on the record for all the world to see and hear.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Flake assailed Trump’s “flagrant disregard for truth and decency.” He lamented Trump’s “regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals.”

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Corker, in a series of media interviews and other public statements, made similar assertions and accused Trump of setting the United States on a path to World War III.

Sounds bad. Sounds like the country is in serious trouble and in desperate need of positive, enlightened leadership.

So why do you suppose two respected members of the United States Senate would sound this alarm and promptly pack their bags to get the heck out of town? Wouldn’t you think these conscientious public servants would want to stay in Washington and fight this looming menace? Wouldn’t you think they’d run for re-election and take their case to the voters in a noble quest for reinforcement of their challenge to Trump’s fitness for office?

Yeah, you’d think. But they’re rushing for the door. So what are they? Courageous truth-tellers, or just Trump-bashing blowhards?