Tag Archives: Lindsey Graham

Surprise! Surprise! Chuck Hagel Gets Confirmed By The Senate

The Republicans would like you to believe that Obama’s nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary was so spectacularly bad that it required them to do something unprecedented to stop it. Never before has the Senate filibustered against a Secretary of Defense nominee.

The odd thing was that if you listened to people like my Senator Lindsey Graham, it seemed that this filibuster was necessary to try to force the President to come clean about the attack on Benghazi. If you thought Susan Rice had nothing to do with Benghazi, then Hagel had even less.

Another fierce opponent, John McCain explained the opposition this way:

There’s a lot of ill will towards Senator Hagel because when he was a Republican, he attacked President Bush mercilessly and said he was the worst President since Herbert Hoover and said the surge was the worst blunder since the Vietnam War, which was nonsense. He was anti-his own party and people — people don’t forget that. You can disagree but if you’re disagreeable, then people don’t forget that.

Hagel was being nominated as Secretary of Defense of the United States not some post within the Republican Party, so putting his loyalty to the United States above his party loyalty should be considered a good thing.

McCain and others are on the record as admitting that they knew that Hagel would eventually be confirmed despite their filibuster. [In fact most of them are on the record a week or so ago saying that they wouldn’t filibuster him, but that’s another story!] So their filibuster was never about influencing who would be the next Secretary of Defense. They knew he would be confirmed. Their filibuster did nothing more than block the Senate from confirming him.

This delay was political theater, pure and simple. It served no constructive purpose from the perspective of what’s good for America. The Republicans used it to try to keep alive their narrative that somehow Benghazi represents a huge failure of this administration, and they did it to try to punish a fellow Republican because they thought he had betrayed them.

If the Republicans spent half as much energy towards building up America as they do towards tearing down our President, I wonder where we might be today.

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A Chat with Lindsey Graham

Lindsey Graham

Image via Wikipedia

Here in South Carolina, Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint are our senators.  One can understand, therefore, why many consider Graham to be a moderate.  Last night I received a Tele-Town Hall call from Graham.  This nifty process allows callers to join a conference call where they can ask questions of their representatives.

I suspect that my number was selected not randomly but rather based on the fact that my father (with whom I share a phone) votes reliably republican.  My suspicion was based on the unanimous adulation for all things conservative from the others on the call.

I wanted to share my situation of not being able to receive health insurance because of a pre-existing condition and to challenge his support of repealing health care reform.  So I pressed zero to queue up to ask a question.  As I waited, another caller asked about “Obamacare.”  She said that although she is not prone to believe in conspiracies she had heard that her husband’s small business would lose its ability to receive a tax deduction for its cost of buying health insurance for its employees.

I was hoping that he would reassure this woman and challenge that rumor.  Graham has a reputation for not always towing the party line.  Earlier in the call I liked that he had not been baited by some residual “Drill Here, Drill Now” folks; instead he emphasized Boone Pickens‘ natural gas program to gain energy independence for America.

Boy, was I disappointed.  He basically said that she was right and that she should believe everything bad she’s ever heard about this bill.  He went on to throw another conspiracy theory on her bonfire: he claimed that the low price of the penalty against companies who don’t offer health care is designed to force everyone onto a public option.

He added that the bill was so long and complicated that it’s hard for anyone to know what’s in it.  I suppose this was his cover for giving misleading information to his constituents.  (I’m one of those who happen to think it is a senator’s job to understand what’s in a bill that s/he is voting on.) I don’t claim to be an expert on this bill, but all of my research suggests that in fact small businesses would receive a tax credit to help them afford health insurance.

Now, even if he wanted to maintain his support for total repeal of health care reform, he could have used the opportunity to tell this woman the truth but explain that there are other problems with this bill that makes him want to start all over.  It would have been an opportunity to press his talking points about what’s wrong with this bill.

This interchange made me so angry, that I decided I was in no frame of mind to speak politely or even rationally, so I disconnected from the call.  Instead, I sent him an email with my thoughts.