Specifically, he has been outdoing himself in the "clever" department. Witness his press release on his "no" vote on H. Res. 784, a resolution honoring the 2560th anniversary of the birth of Chinese philospher Confucius.
From Flake's press release -
“He who spends time passing trivial legislation may find himself out of time to read healthcare bill,” said Flake.His vote, and his quote, inspired me to see how consistent Congressman Flake has been in regard to his votes on "trivial" legislation.
For the purposes of this post, I'll only cover activities in Congress from 2003 thru 2005 (when the Republicans still had a majority in the House) and I'll define "trivial" having nothing to the regular business of governing or with the "big issues" of the day (9/11 aftermath, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Hurricane Katrina debacle, the massive budget deficit, etc.).
Let's see -
In 2003 -
- Flake voted "aye" in support of H. Res. 46, honoring the life and legacy of cartoonist Al Hirschfeld;
- Flake voted "aye" in support of H. Res. 111, honoring the life and legacy of Fred Rogers, the star of PBS' "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood";
- Flake voted "aye" in support of H. Res. 195, honoring Sammy Sosa on the occasion of Sosa hitting his 500th home run;
- Flake voted "aye" in support of H. Res. 357, honoring the life and legacy of entertainer Bob Hope;
- Flake voted "aye" in support of H. Res. 359, welcoming the Dalai Lama to the United States on the occasion of his visit in 2003;
- Flake voted "aye" in support of H.Res. 427, honoring the new leadership of the United Buddhist Church of Vietnam and calling for religious tolerance on the part of the government of Vietnam;
- Flake voted "aye" in support of H. Res. 578, supporting the goals of Financial Literacy Month. This one doesn't really fall into my definition of trivial (for the purposes of this post), but since it begins "Whereas the financial services industry in the United States benefits millions of people in the United States..." it merits inclusion here in light of the financial services industry's meltdown a few short years later due to the fact that it isn't run for the benefit of "millions of people," instead being operated for the benefit of a few people at the very top of the financial services corporations.
Credit where credit is due department: Flake voted against this one in 2005, when it was H. Res. 148.
- Flake voted "aye" in support of H. Res. 660, commemorating Randy Johnson's perfect game on May 18, 2004. Flake was a cosponsor of this piece of vital legislation;
- Flake voted "aye" in support of H. Res 479, recognizing the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution;
- Flake voted "aye" in support of H. Res. 500, memorializing a Bermuda Triangle disappearance from 1945;
- Flake voted "aye" in support of H. Res. 579, supporting the protection of the Christmas holiday and its symbols;
And when he wasn't voting for trivial legislation, he was sponsoring or cosponsoring some of it.
- In 2004, Flake sponsored H. Con. Res. 410, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the constitution of the Marshall Islands;
- In 2003, Flake cosponsored H. Res. 125, honoring the long history of Freemasons in the United States;
- In 2005, Flake cosponsored H. Res. 551, honoring the 50th anniversary of the conservative magazine National Review;
- In 2006, Flake cosponsored H. Res. 1089, honoring the life of economist Milton Friedman.
And it's not as if being in the minority has focused Flake's attention on matters of true import this year - he signed on as a cosponsor of H. Res. 388, honoring mothers and supporting Mothers Day and he voted "aye" in support of H. Res. 60 to honor U of Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford on winning the 2008 Heisman Trophy.
Now, I don't have any problem with most of the above bills and resolutions (excepting the financial service industry smooch-jobs, and Flake ended up voting against those after 2003), and even I think that the measure regarding the 2560th birthday of Confucius is more than a little unnecessary.
However, that bill, the one he so snarkily voted against, is no more wasteful of Congress' time than the bills that he voted for and/or sponsored earlier in the decade.
Flake should forego the hypocritical self congratulations and focus on leading by example - if he wants to criticize his colleagues for expending time and effort on meaningless matters, that's his prerogative.
He should just live and work to the standards that he is holding others to.