I was surprised, and disappointed, by this release this morning:
Statement from Senator Lindsey Graham on President Obama’s Health Care Address to the Nation
WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made this statement tonight after the presidential address.
“I was incredibly disappointed in the tone of his speech. At times I found his tone to be overly combative and believe he behaved in a manner beneath the dignity of the office. I fear his speech tonight has made it more difficult — not less — to find common ground.
“He appeared to be angry at his critics and disappointed the American people were not buying the proposals he has been selling. The president’s confrontational demeanor increased the emotional and political divide. I hope the President will learn that true bipartisanship begins with mutual respect. Criticism of a public official is to be expected and not all criticism is demagoguery.
“When it comes to the public option, the President is either being disingenuous or misinformed. The public option, contrary to the president’s claims, will eventually lead to a government takeover of our health care system.
“One could easily be led to believe tonight’s speech is the beginning of a ‘go it alone’ strategy. If the Obama Administration and congressional Democrats go down this path and push a bill on the American people they do not want, it could be the beginning of the end of the Obama presidency.”
On a Member of Congress Accusing the President of Telling a ‘Lie’:
“The president’s combative tone did not justify a Member of Congress shouting out ’you lie.’ Our nation’s president deserves to be treated with respect It was inappropriate remark and I am glad an apology has been made.”
I’m proud of Sen. Graham, and of John McCain, for so clearly and unequivocally calling Joe Wilson down for his insupportable behavior. But given that Joe DID what he did, and any commentary on the president’s speech is unfortunately bound to be considered within that context, Lindsey’s release this morning just seems way off-base.
You’re “incredibly disappointed” by the president’s tone? The president was “overly combative?” He behaved in “a manner beneath the dignity of the office?” The president’s demeanor “increased the emotional and political divide?” He’s the one who needs to learn a lesson about “mutual respect?”
This was definitely not the morning to release a statement like that.
Such is my respect for Sen. Graham that whenever I find myself disagreeing with him (or Joe Lieberman, or John McCain, or Joe Riley), I stop and think again: Could I be wrong on this? So I analyze my own reaction. I think, Maybe the president was too combative. Maybe I didn’t notice it because I’m so completely fed up with the lies and obstructionism that are threatening to kill our hopes for a decent health care system in this country yet again. Maybe that’s what makes me think the president was, if anything, overly deferential to those who don’t give a damn about our health care, but want to see this issue be Obama’s “Waterloo,” because partisan advantage is more important to them than the good of the nation…
So I run those thoughts through my head, and then I think, Nah, this time Lindsey’s just wrong. That can happen, you know…