Posts Tagged ‘Lindsey Graham’
January 8th, 2013 at 2:06 pm
Hagel Should Get the Opportunity to Go Through a Tough Confirmation Process

To start, I’ll take as a compliment Quin’s assertion that “Ashton seems to accept with some equanimity the idea that Chuck Hagel will be confirmed as Secretary of Defense” since equanimity is a virtue I’m trying to achieve.

That said, I don’t think there’s a Republican United States Senator willing to take Quin’s suggestion and put a permanent hold on Hagel’s nomination.

It’s one thing for Ted Cruz (R-TX) to make waves on cable television by (rightly) blasting the Obama Administration over Hagel, the fiscal cliff, and gun control, but it is quite another for Cruz to use his senatorial prerogative of “holding” up the President’s nomination for one of the top three Cabinet posts (State and Treasury being the other two); especially since Cruz is in his first full week as a Senator.

Moreover, from the tone of opposition coming from other top Republicans like John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and others, I don’t get the sense defeating the Hagel nomination through an obscure “hold” is the proverbial hill upon which any Republican Senator wants to die this session.

Instead, I think Hagel will go through the confirmation process with the kind of probing scrutiny Supreme Court justices get.  It may very well be that, as Quin writes, “The man [Hagel], appears to many to be an anti-Semite.  Opponents make quite a case that he should never set foot in the top office at the Pentagon.”

Well, let Senate Republicans, not just political pundits, make that case on the record.

In the confirmation hearings, during floor debate, and in an actual speaking filibuster if it comes to that, Senate Republicans will have many instances to make precisely the case Quin alludes to, and any other substantive policy criticisms about Hagel they think will defeat his confirmation.  But let’s have the argument in public, through the normal process of a presidential nomination.

U.S. Senators like to think they work within “the world’s greatest deliberative body.”  Let them prove it with a robust examination of Chuck Hagel’s fitness to be the next Secretary of Defense.

November 14th, 2012 at 5:04 pm
Obama’s False Machismo
Posted by Print

Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham preempted President Obama’s East Room press conference this morning by announcing that they would attempt to block — through use of the filibuster, if necessary — the potential nomination of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.

Their rationale: Rice was directly responsible for propogating the Administration’s now completely-disproved contention that the Benghazi terrorist attacks were the product of an angry mob that spontaneously turned to violence. Whether Rice is guilty of incompetence or deception (there’s really no other plausible alternative), McCain and Graham argued, no one who was party to the Benghazi debacle should be expecting a promotion.

That stance led to the president attempting to go all alpha male in his remarks at the White House:

“When they go after the U.N. ambassador, apparently because they think she’s an easy target, then they’ve got a problem with me,” Obama said. “And should I choose, if I think that she would be the best person to serve America in the capacity at the State Department, then I will nominate her.”

“Then they’ve got a problem with me?” Obama might as well have gone with “Nobody puts baby in a corner.”

No one is actually afraid of this president. Which is why Graham’s response was so perfect:

Mr. President, don’t think for one minute I don’t hold you ultimately responsible for Benghazi.  I think you failed as Commander in Chief before, during, and after the attack.

Just so. The White House is going to need more than bluster to dodge accountability for what happened in Libya.

May 19th, 2011 at 11:39 am
Liu Might Lose

To follow up on yesterday’s post, it now appears there is at least a reasonable chance that Republicans actually will muster the strength to block horrendous judicial nominee Goodwin Liu. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has been leading the charge, and he expressed optimism this morning. Here’s what Leader McConnell said to Jed Babbin a few mins ago on Laura Ingraham’s show: “This is a very bad nominee… I’m optimistic that we will be able to defeat the nomination.” In this morning’s Washington Post, “[ranking Judiciary Committe Republican Chuck] Grassley predicted that he had the votes lined up to block Liu from being confirmed.” Obviously it’s a bad idea to count chickens before they’ve hatched, but as McConnell said, there are reasons for optimism.

Meanwhile, even South Carolina’s Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has been annoyingly over-solicitous of Democrats for many years of judicial battles, sent a “Dear Republican Colleague” letter to all his fellow Senate Republicans. I’ll quote extensively from it:

“Only in the most extraordinary of circumstances, such as when a judicial nominee is ethically compromised or displays a fundamental disregard for the constitutional role of a judge, should the Senate prohibit them from office. Unfortunately, Goodwin Liu falls short of the minimum threshold for confirmation to the federal bench. I write today to urge a ‘no’ vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the nomination of Professor Goodwin Liu to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals…. The reasons for voting against cloture on Professor Liu’s nomination are undoubtedly ‘special and strong.’ Through his writings, Professor Liu has expressed preference for an extreme judicial philosophy that relies on a judge’s personal and subjective beliefs, not precedent and case law…. Unlike other nominees who have compiled lengthy records in the judiciary or government service, Professor Liu has spent the vast majority of his career in academia. That’s not disqualifying, of course, but his lack of broader experience fails to demonstrate an ability to uphold and respect the law in the face of personal disagreement.”

Graham then went on to provide a sample of Liu’s outrageous comments, and also blasted Liu for engaging in a “vicious personal attack on Justice Alito at the Judiciary Committee hearing considering his nomination to the Supreme Court.” Finally, Graham concluded: “Professor Liu has advocated for a staggeringly subjective and malleable judicial philosophy. Rather than deciding cases on the basis of law established by the political branches and past precedent, Professor Liu’s philosophy substitutes the role of the Judiciary for that of the Legislative and Executive branches of government. To Professor Liu, a federal judge may be less an impartial arbiter of justice than an advocate engaging in policymaking from the bench.”

Wow. That’s strong stuff. Coming from Graham, it may well convince wavering Republicans to stand strong against the nomination.

May 10th, 2011 at 11:30 am
The Lindsey Graham Pro-Obamacare Panel

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli seems destined to lose the next round of his lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare, and he can blame South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham for it.

At the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, Cuccinelli drew a horribly liberal three-judge panel to hear his case. Two of the judges are Obama appointees, and one is a Clinton appointee. The two Obama appointees should not even be on the court — but they are because of failures by, or the outright underhandedness, of Graham.  If Graham had worked harder to force approval of GW Bush judicial nominees for his own Fourth Circuit, the Circuit would remain among the most conservative in the nation, rather than now trending liberal.

Both of the Obama appointees came for seats that stood vacant during the entire eight years of the Bush presidency. Yes, eight whole years. Maryland’s Andre Davis filled a seat to which US Attorney Rod Rosenstein had been nominated by Bush. So solid were Rosenstein’s credentials that even the liberal Washington Post editorialized not just in his favor, but impassionedly in his favor, several times. Yet he never even received a vote.  North Carolina’s James Wynn came from a state that for two of those eight years enjoyed two Republican senators — thus, no “blue slip” problem — while Republicans held a strong 55-45 majority in the Senate. In short, there should have been no reason at all not to fill that seat.

Meanwhile, a South Carolina seat (Graham’s home state!) and a Virginia seat also went unfilled for years, with the Virginia seat also open during the two years of highest Republican ascendancy and with two GOP home-state senators.

Why is this in large part Graham’s fault? Several reasons.

First, he was a key player on the Judiciary Committee. Judiciary Committee members worth their salt will at least usually be able to push through the nominees from their own state, especially when both senators from the state approve. Graham in particular, if his own boasting were to be believed, should have been especially able to secure approval for nominee Steve Matthews — because his vaunted “outreach” to Democrats, via the “Gang of Fourteen” (about which more in a moment) and otherwise, should have given him even more sway with Demo committee members than an ordinary GOP committee member would have had. Instead, for all of his bipartisanship (or actual defections to the Dems), Graham was powerless to gain the approval for Matthews — if he even tried. It is highly possible that he didn’t really try, because he was trying to screw over the Bush administration for not nominating some lackey of his own. Either way, that South Carolina vacancy, later filled by Obama nominee Albert Diaz, can be laid at Graham’s door.

Then there is the Gang of Fourteen in general. The alternative to the Gang of Fourteen deal was to employ a parliamentary maneuver called the “constitutional option” that would have ruled a permanent filibuster out of order if used to kill a judicial nomination (and only if used against a judicial nomination). It was Graham, more than any other single member, who negotiated the Gang of Fourteen deal that killed the constitutional option. After the deal, all nominees were supposed to get final floor votes (without filibuster) unless they represented “extraordinary circumstances.” Gee, that didn’t work. After the Gang deal, fewer Bush nominees made it through the Senate during a time of GOP majority than the number of CLINTON nominees who made it through the Senate while the GOP held a majority. In other words, a Republican Senate was kinder to Clinton than it was to Bush. That’s hardly a triumph for Graham and his Gang.

Then there is the Virginia seat. Not one but three Bush nominees were serially blocked, two of them while Republicans held total sway. (Ironically, one of them, E. Duncan Getchell, is now the Virginia Solicitor General who will argue Cuccinelli’s case before the Fourth Circuit.) One of them was not just a failure of Graham to effectively support, but instead a victim of Graham’s deliberate sabotage. William J. Haynes was a superb nominee and was senior counsel at the Pentagon. Graham joined the Dems in effectively accusing Haynes of being responsible for “torture” of enemy detainees, even though the plain truth is that Haynes was instead responsible for reining in the amount and intensity of “enhanced interrogation” that was used. The real story was that Graham blocked Haynes because of a personal vendetta involving Air Force JAG rivalries against civilian Air Force attorneys. It was a petty vendetta, and one for which Haynes really was a mere stand-in for Graham’s ire, not even a real party to the dispute.

Publicly, for a long time, Graham refused to acknowledge responsibility for blocking Virginia’s Haynes (who originally also hailed from his home state of South Carolina, and who attended college in North Carolina, so he had ties to three of the four Fourth Circuit states), but then Graham bragged about it at a primarily liberal event (if my sources are accurate).

The reason all this is important is because a three-judge panel is chosen randomly by computer. But if there are more conservative judges to choose from, the odds of the computer assigning conservative judges to a particular case are obviously much higher. The leftist panel selected for the Cuccinelli case would almost assuredly not have been chosen (heck, two of them would not even have been on the court) if the Fourth Circuit remained a stalwart conservative bench — which it would have if Republicans, led by Graham, had fought harder and smarter to get Bush’s nominees approved.

Instead, the Fourth Circuit now leans left. Even if Cuccinelli appeals a bad three-judge panel decision to the whole circuit court en banc, the odds are at least slightly against him winning at that level. (Of course, he’ll still have a decent shot at winning at the U.S. Supreme Court, but that’s another story.)

And it really is Lindsey Graham’s fault.

September 24th, 2010 at 12:29 pm
For Feingold, Being a Maverick Means Never Having to Say, “Aye”

The difference between a ‘moderate’ politician and a political ‘maverick’ is that the latter takes more joy out of angering his party’s base.  For Republican mavericks like Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that usually means signing onto to Progressive-themed legislation on climate change, amnesty, etc.  They get in trouble for what they’re for.

Not so with maverick Democratic Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), whom The Nation profiles thusly:

Feingold opposed Bill Clinton’s North American Free Trade Agreement and normalization of trade with China; he opposed George W. Bush’s Central American Free Trade Agreement; now he is challenging attempts by the Obama administration to advance trade policies that do too much for multinational corporations and too little for workers and farmers here and abroad. Feingold was the leading Senate critic of Clinton’s failure to abide by the War Powers Act; he opposed Bush’s rush to war in Iraq and was the first senator to call for a timeline to bring the troops home; now he complains that the Obama administration is not moving fast enough to wind that war down. Feingold noisily challenged constitutional abuses during the Clinton and Obama years, and as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Constitution subcommittee, he is pressing the Obama administration to get serious about civil liberties. Feingold opposed Clinton’s proposal to loosen bank rules, arguing that doing so could threaten financial stability; he opposed Bush’s bank bailout; and he was the sole Democrat to object that the reforms Obama backed did not go far enough because they did not do away with “too big to fail” banks and did not adequately protect consumers or taxpayers.

While there’s something about Feingold’s proclivity to vote ‘No’ that a limited government conservative can (sort of) appreciate, it’s a testament to his lack of legislative accomplishment (other than his free speech-destroying efforts at ‘campaign finance reform’) that Wisconsin voters are thinking seriously about firing him after three terms.

For all his opposition over the years, Feingold loses every battle he fights.  Ideas are great.  Ideas with results are better.

August 12th, 2010 at 5:56 pm
Census Data: One of Every Twelve Births to Illegal Immigrants
Posted by Print

Amid the national debate over whether to amend the 14th Amendment to prohibit automatic birthright citizenship for “anchor babies” of illegal immigrants, we receive startling data from a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census data.  In 2008, according to the numbers, illegal immigrant parents accounted for some 8% of births in America – one out of every twelve.

Although illegal immigrants constitute 4% of the American adult population, the Census data indicates that they account for twice that percentage of newborns.  The terms of the 14th Amendment grant citizenship to”all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” and courts have interpreted that to grant birthright citizenship.  Amendment proponents, however, argue that those terms fairly aimed to protect freed slaves from attempts to deny them equal rights under the law, not to confer automatic U.S. citizenship to illegal immigrants’ offspring.

Regardless of the legal and constitutional merits for or against the amendment, the new data adds startling new practical, real-world, objective perspective to the debate.

July 20th, 2010 at 3:11 pm
Senator Lindsey Graham Votes for Elena Kagan

Who else but quixotic Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) would use the following justification?

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., broke with his party to cast the sole GOP “yes” vote on President Obama’s nominee to succeed retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. The vote was 13-6.

“What’s in Elena Kagan’s heart is that of a good person who adopts a philosophy I disagree with,” Graham said. “She will serve this nation honorably, and it would not have been someone I would have chosen, but the person who did choose, President Obama, I think chose wisely.”

Is it wise to support someone you fundamentally disagree with, and who you think will misinterpret the Constitution?  Is it honorable to vote one way in committee, and then flip-flop when the vote is before the full Senate?

And make no mistake; Graham did this because he’s trying to curry favor with the Obama Administration on another deal.  Already President Barack is using the fig leaf of Graham’s lone Republican “Aye” vote to claim Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan has “bipartisan” support.

Though Graham won’t be up for reelection until 2014, Chris Cilizza is already speculating on possible primary opponents.

June 11th, 2010 at 4:19 pm
What’s Going On in South Carolina?!

While I don’t want any part of the mess surrounding the GOP run-off election for governor, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate is too intriguing to pass up.  Former Army and Air Force member Alvin Greene may be the most tragically comic major party nominee this election cycle.  Consider these opening paragraphs from a Washington Post profile:

Alvin M. Greene never gave a speech during his campaign to become this state’s Democratic nominee for Senate. He didn’t start a Web site or hire consultants or plant lawn signs. There’s only $114 in his campaign bank account, he says, and the only check he ever wrote from it was to cover his filing fee.

Indeed, in a three-hour interview, the unemployed military veteran could not name a single specific thing he’d done to campaign. Yet more than 100,000 South Carolinians voted for him on Tuesday, handing him nearly 60 percent of the vote and a resounding victory over Vic Rawl, a former judge who has served four terms in the state legislature.

Vic Rawl must be hating South Carolina voters today.  So too might Greene’s Republican opponent, conservative stalwart Senator Jim DeMint.  Imagine trying to run against a challenger with – to date – no position on anything other than, “We have to be pro-South Carolina.”

Things are getting awfully strange in the Palmetto State.  Thankfully, its other U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham is about as non-controversial as an immigration friendly, climate change believing Southern Republican can be.

May 13th, 2010 at 5:56 pm
Lindsey Graham is Making Sense

And I don’t know if I like it.  Usually, the younger, more effete version of John McCain likes to flash his maverick status all over controversial domestic policies by siding with Democrats on cap-and-trade, immigration reform, and civilian trials for (some) terrorists.  Today, though, he reminds America that, yes, he is still a Republican.

In a blinding moment of clarity, the other Senator from South Carolina concisely – and correctly – identified the proper route for Ninth Circuit judicial nominee Goodwin Liu.

“I’m in the camp that you can be an active Democrat … and still sit on the bench,” Graham said. “But this guy’s a bridge too far for me. He should take those views and run for office.”

This from a Republican who voted for Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor!  To be fair, perhaps if Sotomayor where on record as identifying constitutional rights to “education, shelter, subsistence, health and the like, or to the money these things cost,” or imposing perpetual racial quotas, maybe Graham would have voted no on her too.

Graham’s criticism is a perfectly stated counterargument for the Leftist lawyers and judges who think the courts are where laws are made.  They’re not.  Reading the Constitution, Article I, clears that up.  If Professor Liu really wants to “change” America through law, he should saddle up and challenge Senator Diana Feinstein when she’s up for reelection.  Otherwise, stick to writing academic thought pieces at Berkeley.

Kudos, Senator Graham; who knew you had it in you?

April 26th, 2010 at 2:35 pm
Harry Reid is Leading a Majority of One

At least Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is signaling an overall legislative strategy: Get (Me) Reelected! According to Byron York’s reporting, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was “fuming” when he was double-crossed by Reid’s decision to gin up the Hispanic vote in Nevada to increase their turnout for his ailing reelection campaign. The move had the consequence of booting Graham’s carefully crafted energy bill off the Senate’s table for the foreseeable future.

Hopefully, after the health care deem-and-scheme travesty and now this personal affront, Senator Graham will learn something the rest of us surmised about Washington’s Democratic leadership from the beginning: there are no honest brokers leading the party today. Forget that at your peril.