There’s a scene in “Bananas” in which Woody Allen’s character is discussing the economy of his new, adopted country, and when he’s told that bananas are its greatest export, he cries, “Bananas, bananas!” in a tone that conveys that he’s heard enough about that particular fruit. (I tried to find a video clip of that, but couldn’t. And is it my imagination that that movie used to be available on Netflix, but is not now?)
There were times in recent months when many of us would have a similar reaction to Lindsey Graham’s (and John McCain’s, and Kelly Ayotte’s) repetition of the word, “Benghazi.”
Subsequent events have indicated that further inquiry into what happened there last Sept. 11 is at least worth further investigation. There should be bipartisan agreement on that much. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that any investigation that involves the Congress will be tainted by consideration of the 2016 presidential election, and the anticipated candidacy of Hilary Clinton.
For that reason, I though it particularly unfortunate that Lindsey Graham should say, just as everyone is finally paying attention, the following:
If it had been known by the American people seven weeks before the election the truth about Benghazi, I think it would have made a difference in the election…
No, it wouldn’t have. You still would have had Barack Obama going up against Mitt Romney, and the outcome would have been the same. It’s hard to imagine any sort of statement that might have been made about Benghazi. I mean, really, what would it have been? Are you saying the president should have said, “I’ve done a rotten job of protecting the American people, because I just don’t care. I could have saved the ambassador, but I personally decided not to, because I just didn’t like him. And I’ll do it the same way next time…”
It was a terrorist attack in a politically unstable place where there are tremendous numbers of weapons circulating, and it ended tragically. It should cause us to review consulate security across the globe. That’s the “truth about Benghazi,” and if the administration had said that on day one, and continued to say it through the election, I see no way it would have affected the election outcome.
Anyway, you and your fellow senators were being heard as you cried in the wilderness about this topic, before the election. But you were being dismissed by some as Republicans who were trying to wring electoral advantage from the tragedy. So… why would you want to give credence to that by saying something like this?
BOSTON (AP) — The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings acknowledged to the FBI his role in the attacks but did so before he was advised of his constitutional right to keep quiet and seek a lawyer, U.S. officials said Wednesday.
Once Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was read his rights on Monday, he immediately stopped talking, according to four officials of both political parties who were briefed on the interrogation but insisted on anonymity because the briefing was private.
After roughly 16 hours of questioning, investigators were surprised when a magistrate judge and a representative from the U.S. Attorney’s office entered the hospital room and read Tsarnaev his rights, the four officials and one law enforcement official said. Investigators had planned to keep questioning him…
Authorities say they have more than enough evidence without a confession, but they no longer have a font of information on the Tsarnaev brother’s actions, plans or associations.
Which sort of makes this a perfect way of raising yet again the question which so divides the left and right of the political spectrum: Should terrorism be treated as a crime, with emphasis on what it takes to get a conviction, or should we shove prosecutorial considerations aside in order to get information to prevent future attacks?
In a way, we got both approaches here, and perhaps the best of both: A few days of interrogation that led to a preliminary conclusion that the brothers acted without confederates and that now that one is dead and the other in custody, there’s no further danger. Now, the prosecutors can do their thing.
And maybe that’s the way to do it. But I’m sure some would argue that he should have heard his Miranda rights immediately, while others would like to have him continuing to sing to investigators. The latter seems the preference of our own Lindsey Graham, according to Politico:
… Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who had been calling for Tsarnaev to be tried as an enemy combatant rather than as a criminal, on Thursday slammed Attorney General Eric Holder and said he sympathized with the FBI.
“This is the Eric Holder crowd basically refusing to embrace interrogation techniques available to us to make us safe,” he said on “America Live with Megyn Kelly.” After reiterating that Tsarnaev should have earned enemy combatant designation, Graham added, “I know that the FBI agent and the counter terrorism experts have to be incredibly frustrated that they could not continue to interview this suspect about what awaits us as a nation. This was a big mistake.”
There’s been a lot of overwrought reaction to Lindsey Graham’s suggestion that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be tried by military tribunal rather than under our criminal system.
For instance, there was this writer over at Forbes who moaned, “Why is it that those who spend an inordinate amount of time professing their dedication and fealty to the United States Constitution seem to always be among the first to toss our founding document out the window the moment it becomes inconvenient to their desires?”
Which is a grossly unfair mischaracterization of Lindsey Graham and what he said.
The reason you see some repetition in those Tweets is that Graham was responding to comments by others, and reiterating points.
As it happened, so far Graham’s wishes have been followed — the prisoner has not been Mirandized, and apparently has been interrogated to the extent that his wounds (he was shot in the throat) will allow. It is not necessary to consider him an “enemy combatant” to withhold the Miranda warnings, under the public safety exemption — in other words, to gather the intelligence that Sen. Graham values.
As to his being considered an “enemy combatant” — well that’s a war of words that Republicans have been carrying on with Democrats for 12 years now. Republicans prefer the rules of war; Democrats prefer to treat terrorism as a cops-and-robbers thing.
This case seems to be to dwell in sort of a twilight area — and arguments to treat it as war and as crime both seem to have some legitimacy.
Tsarnaev — the one who still lives — is a citizen. And not a citizen off in Yemen somewhere working with al Qaeda, whom President Obama might kill with a drone (just to help us remember that Democrats, too, have gone far beyond the bounds of due process in pursuing what can only be called a war — else there’s no justification for such actions). He’s a citizen who went bad like the Columbine killers.
His brother’s recent fascination with radical Islamism does suggest something that fits within the “War on Terror,” but I think we need to see more evidence that these attacks were somehow coordinated with a hostile foreign organization before we consider this something other than a mass murder. Perhaps such evidence will emerge.
When he is criminally prosecuted on state and federal charges, I wonder if there will be a charge — along with multiple counts of murder and many more of attempted murder — having to do with bringing Boston to a halt? I wonder what that cost, in terms of lost economic activity. This is on my mind after reading about the guy who we are told ran off naked on acid, and all the resources devoted to trying to find him. How much more did the Tsarnaev brothers cost the city, state and federal governments, plus untold thousands of businesses?
First, I saw this release from the state Democratic Party:
Columbia – Today, Winthrop University released its latest public polling data showing that once again, the majority of South Carolinians do not approve of the job Governor Nikki Haley is doing. The Governor made meager gains from within her Republican base but continues to turn off moderates in South Carolina with her politics before people approach that is standing in the way of creating 44,000 jobs by expanding health care, and is costing South Carolina’s taxpayers millions of dollars as a result of the corruption and dysfunction in the state government. The poll also contained bad news for the governor who got elected on a Tea Party wave and consistently chooses to put Tea-Party politics ahead of sound policy – the approval rating for the Tea Party continues to wan with only a quarter of respondents approving of the Governor’s Tea Party movement.
COLUMBIA — A pair of major 2014 candidates in South Carolina watched opinions about them go in different directions in a new poll released Wednesday.
Gov. Nikki Haley’s job approval is rising among voters — especially those in her Republican party, while U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham saw his support within the GOP falter over the past two months, according to a new Winthrop University poll…
So was she down or up? Well, while both reports were technically true, the reality is that statistically speaking, the level of support for Haley is the same as it’s been. The reported shift is within the margin of error:
Haley’s approval rating among South Carolinians rose to 43.5 percent, up a percentage point from two months ago.
The first-term Republican scores 45 percent among registered voters — also up a percentage point and the fourth straight gain in the past year of Winthrop polls.
More than one in three does not like the governor’s performance in office.
But Haley’s popularity among Republicans rose two percentage points to 69 percent since February — a high in two years of Winthrop polls…
The poll’s margin of error among registered voters was 3.5 percent.
Also… while Haley was “up” and Graham was “down,” Graham is still doing better than the governor is among all voters — although again, the difference between them is less than the margin of error:
His approval among registered voters dropped four percentage points to 44 percent in the past two months and slid among all South Carolinians two percentage points to 45 percent…
The most significant change for Graham was among Republicans, dropping “57.5 percent from 71.6 percent in February.”
Oh, by the way, though — if you think Graham’s numbers are bad, Tim Scott has a 38-percent approval rating among all voters, and 54 percent among Republicans.
It’s coincidences like this that make people think there’s some sort of conspiracy among news media. The story on thestate.com this morning, from the NYT news service, was headlined, “Rubio offers full-throated support for immigration bill.”
On Tuesday, the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” is set to unveil a proposal that would represent the most far-reaching overhaul of immigration laws since 1986. The process of developing the legislation, which features a path to citizenship for up to 11 million immigrants who are in the country illegally, was hammered out in two dozen meetings led by veterans of earlier immigration battles, including Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.).
But in many ways, the senators’ negotiations, behind the scenes and in public, have hinged on a party of one. Rubio, the tea party favorite whose parents emigrated from Cuba, has been considered the most crucial player all along. Although he has seemed to waver at times, his full-throated endorsement of the bill Sunday, in a marathon round of seven television interviews, put at ease a group of colleagues who have been working hard to ensure he stays the course. I don’t know how full his throat was, but his calendar was certainly crowded on Sunday.
Sort of makes you think there was an emergency meeting of the Press Establishment yesterday, and “full-throated” would be the modifier of the week.
The chances are good that I, too, will be offering “full-throated” endorsement of the bill when it’s unveiled tomorrow. Partly because, as you know, if both Lindsey Graham and John McCain are for it, I have a tendency to agree. (When Joe Lieberman was in the Senate, and all three of them agreed on something, I was almost always with them — the big exception being health care policy.)
Beyond that, after months of work by this bipartisan group, the pragmatic truth is that politically speaking, whatever they have come up with is the best chance this country has to achieve comprehensive immigration reform. Whatever this one’s flaws may be, I can’t imagine where a better bill would come from. And the country is overdue to address this issue.
I have another rule of thumb — if both David Brooks and E.J. Dionne are for it, I usually am. And I heard them praising the effort on Friday, in a way that implied they’d had a look at the bill. In fact, I thought for a moment that I’d missed something in the news, since they were talking about it as though it were already out there.
But to return to where we started, the fact that Marco Rubio is so “full-throatedly” on board is a good sign that this will be something worth supporting. While McCain and Graham are taking a big political risk with this — Graham faces re-election next year, and as we know, there are elements in his party who despise him specifically for such things as this — for Rubio, the stakes are bigger. Everyone’s speaking of him as a presidential candidate for 2016 (on NPR this morning, they were talking about him being “the GOP’s Obama”).
Presidential ambitions would help explain why he would support something like this, as it helps move him and his party toward the center. It also presents a big risk, since he’s already alienated much of his base just by being one of the Gang of 8.
Which is why all the political talk shows wanted him yesterday.
Whatever happens with Rubio, though, here’s hoping that, after all this buildup, the Gang’s bill doesn’t disappoint.
Two days ago in SC 1st district GOP primary, it was creationism, now it’s gay marriage. Ridiculous. Obsession with using the coercive power of the federal government in such “social conservative” matters is inconsistent with the principle of limited and constitutional government. I wish one of the candidates had answered the gay-marriage question like this: “I oppose federal government efforts to redefine marriage as something other than a union between one man and one woman, and my personal belief is that marriage should be between a single man and a single woman. But I also oppose federal government efforts to define marriage as only the union between a single man and a single woman. The federal government has only those powers delegated to it in the constitution and defining what constitutes a marriage is not one of them.”
The Twitterverse is still buzzing over Lindsey Graham’s criticism of Rand Paul’s filibuster last week, as the über-libertarian wing of the GOP desperately seeks a Great Right Hope to oppose him in next year’s primary.
How desperate are they? Well, they were floating Lee Bright‘s name last week.
Since then, other names have emerged. Tom Davis — again — and Nancy Mace. You’ll know Nancy as the first woman to have graduated from The Citadel, and more recently as a PR and web design consultant, and Will Folk’s partner in his well-read blog (Will handles content; Nancy handles the technical side).
WASHINGTON — The first woman to ever graduate from the Citadel — who is also the co-owner of a controversial South Carolina political blog — is weighing a primary challenge to Senator Lindsey Graham in 2014, two Republican sources suggested Saturday.
Conservatives have long mulled a challenge to Graham, seen in some circles as too establishmentarian for the state’s conservative grassroots, and allies of Senator Rand Paul — whose filibuster last week Graham denounced — hope State Senator Tom Davis, who backed Paul for president, will enter the race. But another conservative candidate could be Nancy Mace, best known in local political circles as the partial owner of FITSNews, whose name is short for “Faith In The Sound” after a George Michael lyric and which has for several years served as the center ring of the state’s sometimes hallucinatory political circus.
“She’s got an inspirational personal narrative, a gorgeous young family, the right ideological mooring and all sorts of political connections. Oh, and her name fits nicely on a 4X8,” FITSNews founding editor Will Folks said in an email. “Obviously I’m a little biased, but there’s a lot to like about her as a potential candidate in the event Tom Davis decides to stay out of it.”
In a separate email, Mace didn’t rule out a run, though she downplayed its likelihood…
At the height of tea-party fever in spring 2010, Sen. Lindsey Graham walked out of talks on a bipartisan climate-change bill, saying he was angry about Democratic plans to move first on comprehensive immigration reform. It almost seemed like he was anticipating a hypothetical, hyperconservative primary challenger more than four years before his reelection race.
But now the South Carolina Republican is in the thick of bipartisan talks on immigration reforms that include a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants; making overtures on a fiscal “grand bargain” that would include higher taxes along with entitlement trims; and praising President Obama for reaching out to him and others in his party. On Wednesday, Graham held a press conference to announce a bipartisan bill to strengthen mental-health provisions in gun background checks. He also attended Obama’s dinner party with Republicans at a Washington hotel. In fact, Graham drew up the guest list…
In 2010, Graham’s pal John McCain tacked hard right to fend off a tea-party challenger in Arizona. In 2012, Orrin Hatch did the same to survive in Utah. Graham could eventually back away from some of his bipartisan projects, and some skeptical Democrats expect he will. But for now he is gambling that changing times and his own political skills will keep him safe in 2014. And for now he is in a commanding position in his party. Among self-identified Republicans and GOP-leaning independents in a Winthrop University poll last month, he was at 71.6 percent approval.
Not surprisingly, no strong primary challenger to Graham has emerged. The antitax Club for Growth is keeping an eye on the race and will consider getting involved if a viable candidate surfaces, says spokesman Barney Keller. Graham scored 72 percent in the Club’s 2011 report card, close to what the group considers a “bottom-of-the-barrel” Republican. But he did better in 2012 and “obviously you can’t beat someone with no one,” Keller says. GOP consultants in the state predict Graham will have an opponent, but probably a weak one.
Of course, a couple of things stand in the way of Graham being in serious trouble: First, there’s the lack of an opponent, since Tom Davis said he wouldn’t run. Then, there’s that $6 million Lindsey’s sitting on. Politico quoted Wesley Donehue about that:
One name that surfaces regularly as a likely primary challenger is state Sen. Lee Bright of Spartanburg. His name was floated again by callers on Glenn Beck’s radio show Thursday, and although he’s undeclared, sources say he already has a campaign manager in place.
What may be holding him back is money. Graham has a war chest in excess of $6 million, which South Carolina-based GOP digital strategist Wesley Donehue said “goes a long way in our cheap media markets.” Donehue doubts the anti-Graham flare-up over Paul’s filibuster will last long because “there is no one for the pissed-off Internet crowd to give money to.”
I had heard Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., say on the radio that he and other GOP senators had a good discussion, and a good dinner, at the White House Wednesday night. Graham elaborated on that in a release:
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement after meeting with the President:
“Last night’s dinner with President Obama and my Republican colleagues was productive and substantive. I hope it will serve as the beginning of a new, long-overdue paradigm where people in elected office actually begin talking to each other about meaningful issues.
“The discussions with the President about our long-term budget problems were candid and differences in philosophy were apparent. However, also apparent was common ground on how to move forward.
“One thing I am certain of — the perpetual campaign will not solve the nation’s problems.
“Finally, I shared with my colleagues there is no dishonor in trying and failing to solve big problems. The long-term budgetary problems we discussed last night have defied bipartisan solutions for far too long. I’m ready to try to solve the serious, long-term budget problems our country faces and can accept failure as an outcome. But I cannot accept not trying.”
Lindsey Graham receives an award from Paulie Walnuts of “The Sopranos.” No, wait — that’s probably someone from the ACU. The release didn’t identify him…
With re-election coming up next year, you know that Lindsey Graham was thrilled to be able to send out this release yesterday:
Graham Named ‘ACU Conservative’
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) was recognized by the American Conservative Union (ACU) for his conservative voting record. The group honored him as an ‘ACU Conservative.’
“Senator Graham’s ACU rating of ‘92’ for votes cast in 2012 shows a consistent commitment to conservative principles on a wide range of issues,” said Al Cardenas, Chairman, American Conservative Union.
The Senate, on average, voted the conservative position 39.28 percent of the time in 2012.
The ACU, which describes itself as the largest and strongest grassroots conservative organization, serves as the umbrella organization for conservatives in America.
The ratings cover issues running the gamut of legislative action, including energy production, government reform, foreign policy, and social issues. These issues are carefully selected to ensure legislators are scored and rated on the bellwether conservative topics they voted on over the course of the year. According to the ACU, their ratings have become a go-to guide to determine whether an elected official’s philosophical rhetoric matches his or her record.
Among the conservative votes Graham cast that were part of the group’s 2012 scorecard:
Approving construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada
Increasing domestic energy production through new oil and gas leases throughout the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)
Opposing the National Labor Relations Board’s union-backed snap elections limiting workers’ rights
Prohibiting the transfer of terrorist detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the United States
Opposing the major expansion of welfare programs under the Obama Administration
A 92 is a pretty good score and all. But the people who are likely to give Lindsey a hard time are the kind who call you a “RINO” if you don’t get 100. All they want to focus on is what he does the other 8 percent of the time…
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made the following statement on his opposition to Chuck Hagel’s nomination as Secretary of Defense.
“I oppose the nomination of Chuck Hagel to serve as our next Secretary of Defense. The position of Secretary of Defense is one of the most important jobs in our government. There were other, more capable choices available and I regret President Obama did not choose one of them.
“Having said this, I do believe it is the President’s prerogative to pick his Cabinet and I will work with Senator Hagel to ensure our defense at home and security around the globe is not diminished.
“I’m disappointed not one Democrat stepped forward to express concerns about Senator Hagel’s views on Israel and Iran. I believe from his past actions, he has shown antagonism toward the State of Israel. In these dangerous times, his nomination sends the worst possible signal to our enemies in Iran.
“I continue to have serious questions about whether Chuck Hagel is up to the job of being our Secretary of Defense. I hope, for the sake of our own national security, he exceeds expectations.”
It seems Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has done his best in recent weeks to get as much ink as possible, talking about things that play well with the conservatives in his home state of South Carolina, like Benghazi and gun rights.
Graham also held up the nomination of Chuck Hagel as defense secretary to get more answers about what happened in Benghazi, even as he admitted Hagel had nothing to do with it. But his opposition might have more to do with home state politics than the nomination itself.
Republican senators who have shown moderate leanings have been hit with primary challenges from the right recently, and while no serious challenger has emerged yet in South Carolina, there are a whole lot of people hoping one does.
“There are some legitimate concerns to be asked about Benghazi … [and] Chuck Hagel,” says Tom Davis, a Republican state senator in South Carolina. “That being said, I do think it is fair to say that there has been a conscious effort on the part of Sen. Graham to elevate his role in those debates.”…
Don Gonyea didn’t ask me about this one in my interview, but if he had I would have said the obvious: That Tom Davis, whom they quote, was the threat from the right that everyone had expected, but that he says he’s not running.
But Graham’s still not taking any chances. After all, as we saw in 2010, especially in the 4th Congressional District, these days a successful challenge to a Republican incumbent can come out of nowhere.
Say what you want about the increasingly ubiquitous Lindsey Graham, Salon was way off the mark today when its header featured an unflattering photo of our senior senator next to the teaser hed, “Hagel’s dumbest enemies.”
Of course, as is often the case with such hyperbolic come-ons, the actual headline that the teaser linked to took it down a notch: “The increasingly ridiculous Hagel opposition.” The subhed, situated atop huge mugs of Graham and John McCain, begins, “Republicans block a vote for no reason…”
The very first paragraph of the body copy then refutes that (boldface added):
Disagree with Graham — and McCain — all you want, but making him the poster boy of the “dumbest” is, well, pretty stupid.
I find a lot of the indignation on the left about delaying the Hagel nomination a few days a little on the disingenuous, even absurd, side. My least favorite manifestation of this is when I hear a Democrat express absolute mystification that these Republicans could possibly be objecting to Hagel, since he’s a Republican. There is no mystery as to why this is a Republican Democrats love. and Republicans have problems with him for the same reasons.
There are actual substantive reasons to question this nomination. We could start with his having been completely wrong on the Iraq surge. Which is kinda relevant in a candidate for SecDef. But then, of course, we’d have a whole other argument that we’ve had too many times before…
So never mind all that. I don’t call the president “dumb” for wanting a guy who looked at Iraq the way he did. I have more respect for the president than that.
But there’s a bigger reason I wouldn’t call Barack Obama dumb: I’ve heard him speak. And the same goes for Lindsey Graham.
I was speaking to a class at Lexington High School yesterday, and I let slip a comment that always makes me sound arrogant when I say it, but it’s true: It’s pretty unusual for me to interview a political officeholder in South Carolina who makes me think to myself, “This guy’s smarter than I am.” But I’ve had that thought more than once when talking with Lindsey Graham.
And I may have a host of faults — correction, I do have a host of faults — but being dumb isn’t one of them.
At least, I think that’s accurate. This WashPost story doesn’t actually mention Lindsey Graham, which surprised me:
Senate Republicans blocked a vote on Chuck Hagel’s nomination as secretary of defense on Thursday, launching a filibuster whild demanding more information and more time to study their former colleague’s speeches and finances after he left the Senate in late 2008.
Falling one vote shy of the 60 needed to move forward on the nomination, the Hagel filibuster brought stark condemnations from President Obama and Senate Democrats for its precedent-setting nature — the first time a defense secretary nominee had been filibustered. The setback came during what many believe is a critical period for the Pentagon as it winds down troops from Afghanistan and implements costly budget cuts.
Republicans predicted they would relent to a simple majority vote, guaranteeing confirmation, later this month — but only if they see more information about Hagel’s post-Senate foreign policy speeches and his work in private investment groups. Senior Republicans initially scoffed at those demands, first raised by freshman Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), as unnecessary, but now party leaders hold them up as the main cause for delay…
But it made it clear that all Republicans except for three — and none of the three (no surprise here) is Graham — are standing against an early vote on the Hagel nomination. And a WashPost blog post earlier in the day — when it was believed the vote would not come on Friday, before the Democrats made the tactical mistake of trying to move it up — had made clear what I was pretty sure I already knew about Graham’s central role in the delay-Hagel movement:
At the center of this drama are Graham and McCain. McCain is likely to support his “amigo” Graham if Graham feels he is still getting stiffed by the White House. Graham has every reason to hold out for the information and to further endear himself to conservatives whose support he will need in his reelection bid. Once we see how Graham and McCain are leaning, we’ll know which way the vote is going to go on Friday.
Anyway, we have a bit of an impasse here. Democrats are understandably upset, although their claims that this delay puts the nation’s security in danger are a bit overwrought. When Harry Reid said:
“This isn’t high school, getting ready for a football game or some play that’s being produced at high school,” Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said during an angry floor speech Thursday morning. “This is – we’re trying to confirm somebody to run the defense of our country, the military of our country.”
I thought, Exactly. And if one has sincere doubts about the nominee’s fitness — which I believe Graham and McCain do — it’s not responsible to rush into confirming him.
Yeah, I know, a lot of my friends here on the blog are sick of Graham and McCain and all their doings. Well, to them I say that it’s not like they are alone on this. Moderate Republicans who are less likely to preen on the national talk shows on this subject are also reluctant to be rushed on this. Such as my old Tennessee source Lamar Alexander:
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) told reporters that cutting off debate is “premature.”
“When we come back from the recess 10 days from now, senators should have had sufficient time to consider Senator Hagel’s nomination, and I will vote to have an up-or-down vote,” Alexander said. “I know of many of my colleagues who think that’s enough time. It would be better for the institution and the country if we had enough time to consider Senator Hagel and then have an up-or-down vote, so we don’t get into a habit of making it look like we’re suing the filibuster to block Cabinet nominees. That’s not the case here.”
Anyway, I think a delay is worthwhile. For the very reason that, as Sen. Reid says, this decision is crucial to the nation’s security, I don’t think we need to be doing this on a party-line vote, when by waiting a few days we might get something closer to consensus. What do y’all think?
Not only did I miss it, but I only found out about it now because I saw a 12-day-old reTweet of a Gina Smith item on a mutual friend’s Twitter feed. Here’s the story, from Gina’s current paper, the Island Packet:
State Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, said today he will not run for U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s seat or any statewide office in 2014, including governor.
Instead, Davis said he can do more good in the state Senate, where he has recently gained appointment to powerful committees that include the Senate Finance Committee, a force in shaping the state’s budget.
“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t tempting (to run for Graham’s seat,)” Davis said. “But when you get right down to it and realize you have a limited amount of time, a limited amount of energy, and you sit down and figure out where you can make the most difference, it’s a clear-cut decision. I can make far more of an impact in the (state) Senate.”…
Speculation has run high since the summer that Davis would seek the Republican nomination for Graham’s seat. During a Tampa rally for then-presidential contender Ron Paul, Davis blasted Graham and called for the defeat of the senior senator.
Actually, the speculation goes way back earlier than the summer.
So does this mean Lindsey Graham can relax now? Not really. In any case, he probably won’t.
Sen. Graham plans a “hold” on CIA, Pentagon nominees. The South Carolina Republican said he would make use of the procedural practice until the White House gives more information about the attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya. Democrats criticized the call to block Brennan from the spy agency post and Hagel from Defense, calling it “unprecedented and unwarranted.” A McCain aide said the Arizona senator backs the move. Both lawmakers said they don’t support a filibuster.
What’s missing from the story that links to, and from other stories I’ve seen, is an elaboration on exactly what information Graham still wants from the administration regarding Benghazi. This has been going on so long that I lose track, and a bill of particulars would be helpful. I’ve emailed his office seeking that, and will pass on what I get back.
Meanwhile, a vote on Hagel has been scheduled for Tuesday in the Armed Services Committee. John McCain, for one, has said he will not participate in a walkout during the committee meeting, as he wants the nomination to proceed to the floor: “I will not participate in any walkout of tomorrow’s committee vote—an action that would be disrespectful to Chairman Levin and at odds with the best traditions of the Senate Armed Services Committee.”
Talk among GOP member of the committee about such a walkout have fizzled, says the WSJ.
Somehow in all this, I missed that he said the following words yesterday on FoxNews:
I haven’t forgotten about Benghazi. Hillary Clinton got away with murder, in my view.
Somehow this escaped me until some friends mentioned it this afternoon. The way I heard it was “Lindsey Graham said Hillary Clinton got away with murder in Benghazi.”
Now when you look at what he said in context, it’s not nearly that bad. He didn’t say she “got away with murder” in Benghazi. It seems pretty clear that he was just saying she got off too easy in the hearings last week.
That he would use words that could be (and of course, would be) misconstrued that way — especially with a clip as short and context-free as this one on Politico — is remarkable given that this is Hillary Clinton we’re talking about. Yes, there are those in Mr. Graham’s base who may consider her a she-devil of some sort, but Lindsey Graham and Hillary Clinton have long formed a well-known mutual admiration society. Each has only had kind things to say about the other since their early days in the Senate together, and each has used the other to prop up his and her bipartisan cred.
That he would rhetorically throw her under the bus (just to use another common expression) this way is surprising.
I mean, come on, Lindsey — the lady just got out of the hospital…
OK, maybe that’s not the most felicitous way of putting it. I got this release last evening:
Graham, Cruz Request Judiciary Committee Work to Allow Firearms for Education, Display and Discussion Purposes at Gun Control Hearings
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today wrote Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy requesting the Judiciary Committee work with local and federal law enforcement to ensure that at future hearings Senators can request, and law enforcement will provide, various firearms for education, display, and discussion purposes.
“In anticipation of tomorrow’s hearing on gun control, we instructed our staff to work to ensure various unloaded firearms, under law enforcement supervision, could be brought into the hearing,” wrote Graham and Cruz, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Our offices worked with various officials in local and federal law enforcement, as well as the Senate Sergeant at Arms, but it appears that the requirements to secure the weapons at the hearing are so impractical as to be unworkable.”
“Our goal is simple — to educate fellow Senators and members of the public how and why firearms are used by millions of law-abiding Americans for self-defense, hunting, and sporting purposes,” said Graham and Cruz. “We also want to shatter the mistaken belief that guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens are a danger to society. It is every bit as important we make that distinction as it is to note that one gun in the hand of mentally-deranged individual is one too many.”
Makes sense to me. Of course, I’m sure it will freak out a few people. But now that I think about it, if “one gun in the hand of mentally-deranged individual is one too many,” are we sure we want to make them this accessible to members of Congress?
This time, there are some new gangsters, such as that kid out of Florida, Marco Rubio. And Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Robert Menendez, Michael Bennet and Jeff Flake. The Washington Post is calling this “a bipartisan push that would have been unimaginable just months ago on one of the country’s most emotionally divisive issues.”
We recognize that our immigration system is broken. And while border security has improved significantly over the last two Administrations, we still don’t have a functioning immigration system.This has created a situation where up to 11 million undocumented immigrants are living in the shadows. Our legislation acknowledges these realities by finally committing the resources needed to secure the border, modernize and streamline our current legal immigration system, while creating a tough but fair legalization program for individuals who are currently here. We will ensure that this is a successful permanent reform to our immigration system that will not need to be revisited.
The document has a tendency to redundancy — “tough but fair” is mentioned three times on the first page (OK, technically, the third time it was “a tough, fair and practical roadmap”) — but readable. I just think it could have used a tough, but fair, editor.
Amid all sorts of stuff about tightening border security, giving our border patrol the latest technology and making sure people who are supposed to leave by a certain date actually do leave, there is the path to citizenship part:
While these security measures are being put into place, we will simultaneously require those who came or remained in the United States without our permission to register with the
government. This will include passing a background check and settling their debt to society
by paying a fine and back taxes, in order to earn probationary legal status, which will allow
them to live and work legally in the United States. Individuals with a serious criminal
background or others who pose a threat to our national security will be ineligible for legal
status and subject to deportation. Illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes
face immediate deportation…
Once the enforcement measures have been completed, individuals with probationary legal
status will be required to go to the back of the line of prospective immigrants, pass an
additional background check, pay taxes, learn English and civics, demonstrate a history of
work in the United States, and current employment, among other requirements, in order to
earn the opportunity to apply for lawful permanent residency. Those individuals who
successfully complete these requirements can eventually earn a green card.
Individuals who are present without lawful status – not including people within the two
categories identified below – will only receive a green card after every individual who is
already waiting in line for a green card, at the time this legislation is enacted, has received
their green card. Our purpose is to ensure that no one who has violated America’s
immigration laws will receive preferential treatment as they relate to those individuals who
have complied with the law….
There’s a lot more. I invite y’all to go read it, and react.
Graham Expresses Opposition to President Obama’s Gun Control Proposal
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement in opposition to President Obama’s gun control proposal.
“The recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School is heartbreaking and beyond words. However, the gun control plans brought forward by President Obama fail to address the real issues and I’m confident there will be bipartisan opposition to his proposal.
“One bullet in the hands of a homicidal maniac is one too many. But in the case of a young mother defending her children against a home invader — a real-life event which recently occurred near Atlanta — six bullets may not be enough. Criminals aren’t going to follow legislation limiting magazine capacity. However, a limit could put law-abiding citizens at a distinct disadvantage when confronting a criminal.
“As for reinstating the assault weapons ban, it has already been tried and failed.
“Finally, when it comes to protecting our schools, I believe the best way to confront a homicidal maniac who enters a school is for them to be met by armed resistance from a trained professional.”
But take heart, gun control advocates: At least he doesn’t want to arm teachers, right? Not unless that’s what he means by “trained professional.” I initially took it to mean “cop,” but can we be sure?