Jazz Shaw at Hot Air pointed out that New York Times book reviewer Jennifer Senior is trying to attract attention by retracting her book reviews. (Now, she's a columnist.) Her article is headlined "I Take Back My Praise of Jeff Flake's Book."
When his book came out last year, I saluted Flake for doing something politically contraindicated and Rubicon-crossing, establishing himself as the first Republican senator to call President Trump the domestic and international menace that he is. I applauded him for describing the president’s tweets as “all noise and no signal” and for daring to charge his administration with Orwellian doublespeak, “dividing us along fissures of truth and falsity and keeping us in a kind of low-level dread.”
I said that Flake’s book had rhetorical power.
But looking back on it, it didn’t. Jeff Flake’s book couldn’t even convince Jeff Flake. As of this writing, he has voted with Trump 84 percent of the time.
So...he wrote a book called Conscience of a Conservative, and Senior was furious...that he ever voted like a conservative:
You could make the case that Flake, as a conservative, had every right to vote for measures consistent with his philosophy: tax cuts, the appointment of Federalist Society-approved judges, environmental deregulation.
But try this as a thought experiment: Imagine if, by some cosmic twist of dystopian lunacy, Sean Penn captured the Democratic nomination in 2020 and then won the White House. Would Democrats consider him worth the trouble in exchange for a tax increase and the appointment of two liberal Supreme Court justices?
Some undoubtedly would. But they’d be cowards. Their objective should be to render him as impotent as possible.
Can anyone see a Senator from The New York Times voting for anti-abortion legislation or a conservative Supreme Court justice just to render President Penn impotent? That's hilarious.
Senior insisted a "Never Trumper" means never voting with Trump: "The truth of the matter is this: If Flake believed, all along, that Trump posed a genuine threat to democracy — that he is the least stable element on the periodic table of American presidents, with a half-life of 22 minutes and a terrifying potential to blow things up — then why did he slavishly follow the president’s desires at all? Why did he ever allow ideological ends to justify republic-endangering means?"
Shaw wondered "How can the book be worse now than it was then? It was either a good book or a bad book. She found it to be worthy of a read. The fact that she’s choosing to retract it now means one of two things. Either Ms. Senior was lying then or she’s lying now. But far more likely is the idea that the actual quality of the tome when it was first released didn’t matter to her. She wasn’t providing guidance to readers as to whether or not it was well crafted and worth their time. She’d found a Republican willing to spew some venom toward the President, and since that venom fit in with her world view, she gave it a thumbs up and tried to promote its sales."
Yes, that's pretty much the point. They review and praise the books that advance their worldview. Flake, now that he's leaving, can be disparaged.