Lindsey Graham is in a bit of some political trouble. The senior Senator from South Carolina is in a little hot water with a good portion of his conservative constituents. Many think that Mr. Graham has caved in to political pressure and has officially betrayed his country. What was this damning act of betrayal? Mr. Graham, a staunch supporter of all things conservative, has the audacity to work on bipartisan legislation with Democrats, the sworn enemies of the Republican Party. Mr. Graham has pledged support for the more than fourteen hundred page Waxman-Markey bill, designed to give the federal government control of free markets through the implementation of cap and trade to curb pollution and save the world from global warming. That sounds like a bastard alright.
In an article published in the New York Times and coauthored with his Democratic rival Senator John Kerry from Massachusetts, Mr. Graham says that he agrees that climate change is real and threatens our economy and national security. The depths of his depravity knows no bounds. Even the most casual of conservatives knows that the scientific research on global warming is inconclusive with many of the best scientist that money can buy disputing the fact that global warming exists at all or, if so, is a man made phenomenon or, if so, man’s contribution to global warming is minimal. The fact that many if these partial scientist receive very generous payments from industries with a lot to lose if America takes global warming seriously is just a coincidence.
Conservatives simply refuse to believe any of the calamitous predictions by scientist all over the world and embraced by the liberal left in a vicious plot to ruin the country and hand the keys to our government to foreign nationals. The additional costs that will be imposed on every American family if cap and trade is enacted will be substantial. Electricity costs will double. Nearly two million jobs will be lost. The economy will lose trillions of dollars in gross domestic product by 2035. Is the potential of global warming worth the impact to our struggling economy? Conservatives say no. And if Mr. Graham doesn’t utter an unequivocal no he is betraying everything conservatives stand for.
Mr. Graham was easily reelected to the United States Senate through the support of conservatives for his conservative principles. Lower taxes and less government is the conservative way. Anything less is unacceptable. And to add fuel to the fire that heats up the ire of many conservatives, Mr. Graham publicly supported President Barack Obama’s choice for the United States Supreme Court, the wise Latina Sonia Sotomayor. The man is a total liberal douche bag.
But if many conservatives see Mr. Graham as a product for feminine hygiene, it’s his own fault. As a high profile conservative, Mr. Graham did his best to whip the core of his conservative constituency into a foam spewing rabid frenzy. During the campaign for the presidency between Mr. Obama and his conservative opponent Arizona Senator John McCain, Mr. Graham was uncompromising and relentless in his promotion of the conservative party. There was no room for negotiation. There was no room for conciliation. It was an all or nothing proposition. Mr. Graham said he would be deathly afraid of Mr. Obama winning the White House and would work relentlessly to block Mr. Obama’s liberal agenda.
But the public had different ideas. Six years of our federal government controlled by a strong conservative trifecta controlling the White House, the House of Representative, and the Congress gave many people pause to continue supporting a conservative political agenda. The majority of people saw that change was needed. Now, the Democrats are enjoying their own triple threat and the conservatives are now simply along for the ride. Democrats are in firm control of both congressional houses and are pushing through a liberal agenda. In order to remain a player in the new un-conservative political conservation taking place at the moment, conservatives must now learn a little humility, eat a little crow, and learn to compromise with their opponents in the majority at least for the moment.
To go from a promise to be an unrelenting thorn in the majority’s side to a compromiser probably looks like betrayal. It makes the Senator look weak kneed and unreliable. Many conservatives are now saying that Lindsey Graham has bought into the liberal agenda hook, line, and sinker. He has made his deal with the political devil. And now, that infamous town hall mentality that expressed so much furor at liberals is now being aimed squarely at Mr. Graham. Case in point, there is a video circulating where one of Mr. Graham’s constituents calls him a traitor as he walked out of the auditorium where a town hall meeting was taking place. In response, Mr. Graham says people should just chill out. But it’s hard to simply say chill when just a minute ago he was telling people not to.
Conservatives have long memories and they do not have the most forgiving of hearts. These are the type of people who cheer incessantly for the uncompromising determination of pit bulls in lipstick that have all the vision of a crayon. The word “compromise” simply isn’t a good thing in the conservative dictionary. It is a word synonymous with traitor. Better to be reduced to an ineffective caricature tilting at political windmills than do anything that could even remotely be interpreted as working with the enemy.
President Barack Obama was trying to put the rhetoric and angst against healthcare behind him. All of us have seen the town hall meetings with people on both sides of the issue foaming at the mouth. Granted, one side has a lot more foaming people than the other, but there was rhetoric coming from both directions. But the era for civility and calm conversation will have to wait just a bit longer. In the middle of his healthcare address, South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson yelled from the floor two words, “You lie!” This was in response to Mr. Obama’s statement that his plan for healthcare reform would not cover illegal immigrants.
Now Mr. Wilson might want to explain away his rudeness as a momentary lapse of civility based on his passion for the subject at hand. Supposedly, Mr. Wilson is a firm opponent of illegal immigration. He might even try to blame his emotional outburst on his latent turrets syndrome that manifests whenever he sees an authoritative black man. But one of the television cameras in the house chamber panned over to Mr. Wilson. He was holding a sign in his lap saying, “What bill?” It should be obvious that Mr. Wilson came prepared to do his impersonation of a typical town hall foamer ready to cause a ruckus for ruckus sake and not ready to listen at all.
In response to Mr. Wilson’s outburst the chamber erupted in a wave of disapproving boos. Mr. Obama held Mr. Wilson with a harsh gaze for a moment and calmly responded, “That’s not true.” As Mr. Obama went on with his speech, both Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Joe Biden continued to send eye daggers Mr. Wilson’s way. Mr. Wilson looked around at all the people giving him their own stairs of disapproval as if to say, “What?” For the remainder of the night, his attention was focused on his Blackberry.
Mr. Wilson’s actions did much to reinforce Mr. Obama’s words. As if prepared for a shameful display of Mr. Wilson’s caliber. “What we have also seen in these last months is the same partisan spectacle that only hardens the disdain many Americans have toward their own government,” said Mr. Obama. “Too many have used this as an opportunity to score short term political points, even if it robs the country of our opportunity to solve a long term challenge. And out of this blizzard of charges and counter-charges, confusion has reigned. Well, the time for bickering is over. The time for games has passed,” he added, to Democratic cheers.
Well, in Mr. Wilson’s own words, you lie Mr. President. There will always be time for bickering and for lies and for mistruths for political gain. There will always be time to put self serving political agendas ahead of what’s best for the nation. There will always be a time for a politician to scream an improper comment from the safety of the sidelines. There will always be time for people to be obnoxious when there is plenty to support the notion that others are ready to support and reinforce obnoxious behavior with their own obnoxiousness.
Many other Republican Party politicians expressed open contempt for Mr. Obama by tweeting during the speech, scanning their BlackBerrys, or holding up copies of Republican healthcare reform bills during the speech. Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said that he was incredibly disappointed in the tone of Mr. Obama’s speech. He said that he found Mr. Obama’s tone to be overly combative and believed he talked in a manner beneath the dignity of his office that will make it more difficult to find common ground. The way Mr. Graham speaks you’d think Mr. Obama simply walked over to the Republican side of the House and just bitched slap them all, not that they and their Democratic associates, don’t deserve it.
So this morning, it’s clear that the speech didn’t do much of anything. People on the left are still on the left. People on the right are still on the right. If anything, the trenches just got deeper, the heights of the stonewalling has a new layer of stone on top. There will always be a time for entrenchment. It seems to be the natural order of things. If anything, it is the time that we can achieve anything that resembles reform or at the very least a bipartisan effort that looks like it might lead to reform, is what has come to past. The idea that we can set aside differences and come together for the true benefit of the American people is a bold lie.
The axis of the Earth itself is in trouble. All the spin being directed towards making Republican presidential hopeful Arizona Senator John McCain’s selection of Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate has the potential to interfere with the world’s rotation. The entire world is being turned upside down. Political pundits are actually saying that the Governor’s executive experience of twenty months in Alaska is more important than Democratic presidential hopeful Illinois Senator Barack Obama’s four years of experience in the Untied States Senate. Somebody actually said it is a rarity for United States Senators to become President. It is so rare it only happened for fifteen out of the forty three men who became President with such notables as John F. Kennedy and Harry S. Truman.
The other day on his appearance on This Week with George Sephanopoulos South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham poured it on thick to convince people that Ms. Palin is a fighter against corruption and wasteful spending and will take her reputation for fiscal responsibility to the vice presidential office. In Mr. Graham’s own words, “…she had the courage to say we’re not going to do it ‘cause it’s not the right signal we want to send to everybody else in Alaska. She took on the Republican Party chairman and called him unethical. She took on the attorney general who eventually resigned because he was doing things that were inappropriate. I’m in politics. I voted against the bridge to nowhere. I was one of fourteen. Scared the heck out of me because I know what was going to come my way. I can’t imagine being the Governor of this state and telling the people who were able to secure the bridge we’re not going to do it.”
This is the prime example people want to give of evidence of Ms. Palin’s fiscal responsibility, her crusade against the bridge to nowhere. The Gravina Island Bridge, dubbed the bridge to nowhere, was a proposed bridge to cross the Tongass Narrows. The bridge was designed to be tall enough to accommodate ship traffic. The bridge was to replace the ferry that connected Ketchikan, Alaska to the Ketchikan International Airport on Gravina Island. People using the ferry had to wait as long as thirty minutes for a ferry and the charge was six dollars per vehicle per trip. The bridge was projected to cost nearly four hundred million dollars. Alaskan congressional delegates Representative Don Young and Senator Ted Stevens were the bridge’s biggest advocates and helped push for federal funding. The project became a symbol for pork barrel spending.
In October of 2005, one month after hurricane Katrina, Mr. Stevens became the subject of much criticism when he opposed diverting the funds for the Gravina Island Bridge to help aid recovery from hurricane Katrina. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma offered an amendment to the Senate’s appropriation bill to transfer over two hundred million dollars to fund the reconstruction of a bridge in hurricane ravaged Louisiana.
Congress later dropped the specific allocation for the bridge. However, there was no change in the amount of federal funds appropriated to the state of Alaska. In August 2007, the Alaskan Department of Transportation made a recommendation to cancel the bridge. In October of 2007, Ms. Palin, who once supported the bridge, cancelled the project. The money was never returned to the federal government. Although the bridge was defeated and Ms. Palin officially ended the project as Governor, it was hardly an act of outstanding courage.
A lot of people are putting their political credibility on the line to sell the American public on Ms. Palin’s leadership credentials and political ethics. But since she was revealed as Mr. McCain’s vice presidential pick, with each and every passing day she is becoming a harder pig to sell. Using her office as Governor to influence the termination of her former brother-in-law’s firing as an Alaskan state trooper, trying to hide her unwed, seventeen year old daughter Bristol’s five month pregnancy in order to sell people on her belief that abstinence only sex education works, and now that the cat’s out of the proverbial bag, she’s arranging a shotgun wedding for Bristol and the baby’s father. There are some real family values being tested on this choice.
I’m sure there are a lot of people who think that Ms. Palin is a nice person. But this isn’t a Goldie Hawn movie where we can be assured that the woman’s incompetence will work itself out before the ending credits roll. This isn’t a cast call for the sequel to Private Benjamin called Vice-President Benjamin. This is real life. The country is in serious trouble with global wars, the global economy, a resurgent Russia that is more than ready to go toe to toe with the United States, an injured economy, and much more waiting for the next President and his administration.
We need to see the selection of Ms. Palin for what it is: An indication of how superficial Mr. McCain is with his choices for important positions within his cabinet. Three years after Katrina we should remember the potential for disaster when Michael Brown was made the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The people of New Orleans, Louisiana paid a serious price before the correction could be made. The presidency and the vice presidency isn’t anything to be taken so lightly. I don’t care how hard people spin this one Ms. Palin is not someone that we can be comfortable in the Vice President’s seat. And the manifestation of such poor judgment should call into question Mr. McCain’s ability to lead this country as well.
The following is a transcript from part of the August 31, 2008 broadcast of This Week with George Stephanopoulos with guest, the less than honorable Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
George Stephanopoulos: I want to show everybody what you said about Senator McCain’s criteria for Vice President back in May. Take a look.
Lindsey Graham (on tape): He’ll pick a vice presidential nominee that he thinks will help the country if something happened to him, someone who will lead the country if something happened to him…
George Stephanopoulos: Is that the criteria Senator McCain used, someone who could lead the country if something happened to him?
Lindsey Graham: I think what he was looking for is a partner to tell a story about what he wants to do in Washington. The idea of Washington being broken is accepted by most Americans. The Congress is at 12% approval rating. Who are the 12% and what do they like? John has a reputation of being a guy pushing the institution called Congress. And Senator…excuse me…Governor Palin, what she’s done in Alaska is what we would hope to do in Washington. That’s why he picked her.
George Stephanopoulos: But is she ready to serve on day one? It sounds like you’re shifting the criteria.
Lindsey Graham: I think so. I think so. Compared to Barak Obama absolutely. She has done things that Barack Obama would never dream of. To go in her state and say I’m not going to build a bridge to nowhere. A 400 million dollar appropriation that was passed by brute force in the Congress between two senior members of the congressional delegation, very powerful figures in Washington and for her to say to the citizens of Alaska, we’re not going to do this cause this is not necessary it’s wasteful. Take on your own Republican…
George Stephanopoulos: But Senator, she turned against that only she campaigned for it in her 2006 race and turned against it in 2007 only after it became a national joke.
Lindsey Graham: Well, the point is that she had the courage to say we’re not going to do it ’cause it’s not the right signal we want to send to everybody else in Alaska. She took on the Republican Party chairman and called him unethical. She took on the attorney general who eventually resigned because he was doing things that were inappropriate. I’m in politics. I voted against the bridge to nowhere. I was one of 14. Scared the heck out of me because I knew what was going to come my way. I can’t imagine being the Governor of this state and telling the people who were able to secure the bridge we’re not going to do it.
George Stephanopoulos: But what national security experience does she have?
Lindsey Graham: She’s been a Governor. She’s been in charge of the National Guard. More than Obama. What has he done? What has he done? What has Senator Obama done in terms of managing a war? The only time he’s been involved in war is was when he voted in Iraq. He voted to cut off funding to people in the war. He opposed the surge. Said it wouldn’t work. That it would make things worse. His judgment when it comes to matters of war have been terrible. She’s tough. She’s talented. She’s ready to lead.
George Stephanopoulos: But Senator, Karl Rove and other Republicans when Governor Tim Cain was being considered said that the National Guard experience is irrelevant. That’s what President Bush said about Governor Clinton back in 1992. What do you say to this Republican delegate from Mobile, Alabama, Todd Burkhalter? He says this, “We’re in a global war. We’re in a global economy. So it is less than honest if someone says that this woman is qualified to lead America right now.”
Lindsey Graham: I would say that compared to Senator Obama she is qualified beyond belief to change the culture in Washington that is…
George Stephanopoulos: But that’s the argument that you’ve been using against Senator Obama.
Lindsey Graham: The argument I’ve been using…
George Stephanopoulos: So how does she meet the standard that John McCain is setting?
Lindsey Graham: When you look at her resume of being a Governor versus his resume of being a Senator, he’s been gone more than he’s been there. She’s been in office since 2006. She’s vetoed budgets that were excessive. She has given money back to the people of Alaska by tax cuts. She’s reformed institutions that have been incredibly broken. She’s been bold. She’s been a leader. She’s put her own political career at risk. And Senator Obama’s been gone more than he’s been here. And he’s never challenged his own party to do anything different. So John McCain is trying to tell the American people, ‘I got it. You think your government is broken? So do I. I picked somebody that knows how to fix broken governments. I picked somebody that will stand up to powerful people in her own backyard and together we’re going to change this place.’ Joe Biden is a wonderful man but there’s not a change bone in his body when it comes to budgets and spending.
George Stephanopoulos: But he does have more national security experience.
Lindsey Graham: He has more national security experience but experience and judgment need to come together. He voted against the first gulf war. He opposed the surge. He wanted to petition Iraq. I think Governor Palin has the characteristics of a leader that can take over on a moments notice. But the most qualified person to be commander in chief of all four is John McCain.
George Stephanopoulos: So Senator McCain wins and, god forbid, tragedy strikes, you’d feel confident safe and assure, a year from now.
Lindsey Graham: I would dread the day Senator Obama takes the oath to become commander-in-chief.
George Stephanopoulos: That’s not what I asked.
Lindsey Graham: Well, let me tell you, here’s my choices. My choice is to elect him, Barack Obama, who got it incredibly wrong in Iraq, who would sit down with Ahmadinejad and change the whole dynamic of the Middle East by empowering a nut and sending every wrong signal to extremists and moderates. His judgment has been terrible. Proven to be terrible. I would be proud to call her my President. I think she can step in and fill the agenda domestically and internationally that John McCain wants to set for the country. Compared to Barack Obama I think she’d make one hell of a commander-in-chief.
George Stephanopoulos: Our next guess is Senator John Kerry. I want to show you a bit of what he said at the Democratic National Convention. Take a look.
John Kerry (on tape): Senator McCain who once railed against the smears of Karl Rove when he was the target has morphed into candidate McCain who has used the same Rove tactics, the same Rove staff, the same old politics of fear and smear…
George Stephanopoulos: Your response?
Lindsey Graham: I don’t know what he’s talking about. Who have we feared or smeared? We’ve run ads questioning whether or not Barack Obama is a celebrity or a leader. We’re putting questions out there about Senator Obama. What has he actually done? He’s been in the Senate since 2006, he’s been gone more than he’s been there, he’s never reached across the aisle to do one hard thing, and when it came to Iraq he went 2 and a 1/2 years without visiting the country, never sat down and talked to General Petraeus about how the surge is going, declared the surge a failure, never got engaged at all, went to Iraq because we made him go, shamed him into going, comes back and says the surge still hasn’t worked and I wouldn’t have changed my vote. So what we’ve tried to do is expose the guy for the calculating politician that he is. And Governor Palin, whether you think she’s a good choice or not, I can tell you she’s got a resume of taking on hard issues and standing up to tough people. If you could take on Ted Stevens and that crowd in Alaska then you can take on the Russians.
George Stephanopoulos: Senator Graham than you very much.
Lindsey Graham: Thank you.
I really could not believe what I was hearing. I know the good Senator from South Carolina is only doing his best to support his friend and colleague Senator John McCain with his decision to select Governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate. But goddamn! If someone can’t see that Mr. Graham’s responses in this interview was thick with bias and utter contempt, they must truly be pretty thick themselves.
Mr. Graham asked who did he fear and who did he smear. Well, for starters, off the top of my head, I would have to say Senator Obama. Mr. Graham talks about how much he will dread the day Mr. Obama takes the oath for President. That smells a lot like the stench of the fear of a coward. And when it comes to smear, all the comments about Mr. Obama being gone more than he’s been present in the Senate would qualify. Without supplying any facts or any numbers Mr. Graham will call to question Mr. Obama’s attendance. The man is running for the presidency after all. How does it compare to Mr. McCain’s attendance since he started his campaign for the presidency?
According to the Washington Post dot COM website, Mr. Obama does have one of the worst voting records in the United States Senate for the 110th Congress. Mr. Obama missed two hundred ninety votes with an absentee record of forty five point five percent. He has in fact been present more times than he has been absent. But if absenteeism was an Olympic event, Mr. Obama would only get the bronze medal. Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota, who suffered a brain hemorrhage on December 13, 2006, and spent several months in recovery, has a worse record. It should be understandable considering what he went through. Mr. Johnson missed three hundred eleven votes with an absentee rate of forty eight point seven percent. But that only entitles Mr. Johnson for second place. The top honors for most votes missed goes to Mr. Graham’s good friend absentee king Mr. McCain who has missed four hundred seven votes making his absentee rate a substantial sixty three point eight percent. Mr. McCain’s has missed nearly two out of every three votes in the Senate. Mr. Graham is a politician so it is pointless to say that he should get his facts straight. Surely this must fall in the smear category. Please click here to verify these numbers for yourself.
The idea that the twenty month old Governor of Alaska has more experience that a four year old United States Congressional Senator (Mr. Obama has been a U.S. Senator since 2004 and not since 2006 as Mr. Graham contends) is bold faced ridiculousness at its very worst. Ms. Palin vetoed a budget that is fiscally the size of a city like Birmingham, Alabama and that gives her presidential experience? Please! The next thing we know Mr. Graham will say that because she tried to fire her sister’s Alaskan state trooper husband she has experience going after terrorist. Mr. Graham would have more credibility selling the public on the notion that Mr. Obama is indeed a Muslim hate monger.
Mr. Graham obviously doesn’t think much of his job as Senator. Mr. Graham believes that Senators don’t run the National Guard so they are incapable of obtaining military experience. Mr. Graham also believes that Senators don’t veto budgets so they can’t have any national fiscal experience. With the criteria that Mr. Graham list in his diatribe against Mr. Obama the leader of Boy Scout troop number whatever would have more experience. Maybe the people of South Carolina should rethink who they send to represent them in the United States Senate. Obviously Mr. Graham thinks any yahoo from Wasilla, Alaska could do a better job.