Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Thursday, October 09, 2008

  Lindsey Graham promises to obstruct an Obama presidency

On Friday, Senator Lindsey Graham declared that he would do his utmost to obstruct anything Barack Obama might try to achieve if he's elected president. It was unnoticed by bloggers, pundits and the national media, and I owe this information to Robert in a comment here at unbossed. Graham told the Charleston Post and Courier that he would serve out another full term in the Senate because he was needed there either to help a McCain presidency or undercut an Obama administration.

Like other McCain surrogates, such as Sen. Joe Lieberman, Graham frequently praises the bipartisan efforts of Senators McCain and Graham while belittling Senator Obama's ability to build consensus across party lines. Here we see as clearly as possible why they're so convinced that Obama won't be able to work with Republicans in Congress. The GOP intend to make it impossible. It's the same scorched earth strategy, in concert with the same extremist rhetoric of demonization, that the GOP adopted in 1992 with their policy of undermining the presidency of Bill Clinton at all costs.

Here is Graham proudly promising to undercut Obama:

If Lindsey Graham isn't with John McCain, there's a good chance he's representing him on the TV talk shows, in the Wall Street bailout talks or at the vice presidential debate.

But South Carolina's senior senator said that doesn't mean he'd follow McCain to the White House...

"If John McCain is president, I will be one of the people representing him, and if Barack Obama is elected, I will fight him tooth and nail," Graham said. "I think whatever talent I have is best utilized in the Senate."

Just three weeks ago in the Moonie-owned Washington Times Lindsey Graham offered this paean to bipartisanship generally and John McCain's record specifically. It's also proudly on display at McCain's campaign website:

McCain campaign surrogate Sen. Lindsey Graham, though, said the numbers [i.e. the percentage of cross-party co-sponsors that the bills of McCain and Obama have attracted] expose a difference between the two candidates.

"The number - 55 and 13 - probably shows that one has been more desirous to find common ground than the other...

Bipartisanship is a frequent issue on the campaign trail, with the McCain camp and surrogates such as Mr. Graham arguing the standard is how often someone takes leadership on an issue in defiance of his own party - a measure by which Mr. Obama falls short and Mr. McCain clearly excels...

Mr. Graham said it was unfortunate people weren't recognizing their work with Mr. McCain.

"What you've got now is, you've got some people who are afraid to recognize John's bipartisanship because of the nature of the election," Mr. Graham said.

Mr. Graham has teamed up with Mr. McCain on some of his most contentious bills, including the immigration and campaign-finance fights, and said they both have "the scars to prove" they were in the fights.

"I have experienced the price that's been paid to help John do some difficult things since 2004," he said.

In other words, for Lindsey Graham bipartisanship is praiseworthy when Democrats join Republicans. But working across party lines in the opposite direction is both insignificant when achieved and (to judge by his Post and Courier interview) an abomination to contemplate. What is remarkable is not Graham's hypocritical embrace of obstructionism for its own sake, but his candor.

For a generation Republicans in Congress have made it their guiding principle to do their "utmost" to block Democrats from achieving any goals or passing any major initiatives whenever they hold the White House or majorities in Congress. And true to form, almost as soon as they lost both houses of Congress in the 2006 elections, the remaining Republicans adopted the policy of obstructing all Democratic legislation. In April 2007 Senator Trent Lott called it a "strategy of obstructionism" and crowed that it was "working" for Republicans. By July of 2007, Republican obstructionism had grown so manifest that Margaret Talev of McClatchy reported Republicans were on a record setting pace in their use of filibusters during the 110th Congress. There now have been almost twice as many cloture votes in the Senate during this Congress than in the last (Republican-dominated) Congress. Of course filibusters are just the most obvious measure of obstructionism, most of which goes on behind the scenes unreported. The main achievement of Republicans under the new Democratic majorities has been to undermine Democrats' efforts to achieve something.

That's why it surprises and dismays me that some Democrats, Senator Obama being a leading example, continue to believe that it's possible to work with the modern Republican Party to advance a reform agenda. It hasn't been possible for a generation, and Senator Graham just announced that he'll try to do to Obama what Republicans did to Bill Clinton when he entered office – fight him at every step just for the sake of undermining him.

Obama will need a super majority of Democrats to get reforms enacted. Let's hope that if elected, Obama quickly recognizes the need to circumvent the traditional Republican sand-bagging that's in store.

crossposted at

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home