Look at the fawning media coverage of GOP Sen. Jeff Flake's speech Tuesday. In reality, it was little more than a two-years-too-late declaration that he has some very important principles for which he absolutely must stand up – right after he works with Mitch McConnell to steal a Supreme Court appointment and, OK, maybe hold out a few more months to see if he can get some tax cuts out of it too. If not, well, voting to allow forced arbitration for nursing home patients is a pretty good consolation prize. In real life, speeches like Flake's – or John McCain's biannual soul unburdenings – serve a function: They get them attention and allow onlookers to have a feel-good moment. But they don't advance the plot. They don't change anything.
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Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a Managing Editor for OpEd News, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites.