Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lindsey Graham: “[Only Some] Elections Have Consequences”

Let us be blunt. Sonia Sotomayor should never sit on the Supreme Court. Even without the hints of bigotry, she lacks the judgment, understanding and skill needed to make her a competent jurist, and she certainly does not display the kind of outstanding legal mind that should be elevated to the Supreme Court. She is, at best, a poser, and, at worst, an inconsistent tyrant.

Yet, she will be confirmed, and that’s fine. Everybody loves a fool, and history will simply add her to the growing list of albatrosses hanging around the well-feathered neck of Obama’s legacy.

But this post is not about Sonia Sotomayor. This post is about Lindsey Graham (RINO, SC) and those like him in either party.

Graham announced yesterday that he will support nominee Sotomayor because, as he put it, “elections have consequences.” But that is not a valid basis for supporting a President’s nominee. Indeed, the Constitution does not envision the Senate as a rubber stamp for a President’s appointments. Instead, the Senate is called upon to provide “advice and consent” on appointments, not to approve them without complaint.

If a nominee is inadequate, it is the duty of every Senator so finding to stand up in opposition to that nominee, and to demand that the President nominate someone else, someone the Senator can support. That’s called checks and balances. That’s how our government works. To surrender this role on the basis that the President has won an election is to abdicate one of the primary constitutional functions of a United States Senator.

Remember, Senator, the oath of office for Senators requires Senators to pledge to support and defend the Constitution and to faithfully discharge the duties entrusted to the office:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
Nothing in there says, “unless the other guy won an election.”

Nor can Graham's submissive desires be attributed to some political courtesy extended by one party to another. Indeed, the Democrats extended no such courtesies when they smeared Robert Bork, Douglas Ginsberg or Clarence Thomas, or when they prevented John Tower from becoming Reagan’s Secretary of Defense (an historical first), in a party-line vote, because of suggestions of “womanizing” and “alcoholism.”

And speaking of elections, might one wonder why Senator Graham only recognizes the consequences of the election of the President? Was the Senator himself not elected to represent the people of South Carolina? How does declaring an intent to ignore that mandate in favor of rubber stamping a President recent-elect satisfy that election? Or do only some elections have consequences?

Now admittedly, Graham also stated that he felt that Sotomayor was well-qualified. And if that had been his sole reasoning, one could quibble with his conclusion but not challenge the good faith basis of his decision. But he had to add that extra piece. . . his abdication of his role. . . his declaration of submission, and that is the problem.

It absolutely pains me to say this, Senator Graham, but look at Robert Byrd. Agree with his politics or not, Byrd fully understands his role as a check on the power of the Executive.

And let me not limit this criticism merely to the submissive Senator Graham. This criticism should be extended to every member of Congress or the Senate, in either party, who fails to represent the people they have been elected to represent, and who fails to faithfully discharge the duties of their office.

Representative democracy only works when the representatives represent. It does not work, when they decide to make up their own rules.


CrispyRice said...

Hear hear!!

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: I couldn't agree more. Considering the testimony at the hearing, Graham has to be out of his mind to vote for her confirmation. The Ricci case alone proves that she is making rookie mistakes after all those years on the bench.

Graham should know she is disqualified from her own testimony. The judicial oath states clearly that "I xxxxxx do solemnly swear that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich." Sotomayor wrote: "We who judge must not deny the differences resulting from experience or heritage continuously to judge when those opinions,sympathies and prejudices are appropriate." She dodged and weaved at the hearings, but that clear statement survives. She violates her oath by her own words, and Graham violates his oath by voting to allow such a person to sit on the highest bench in the land.

AndrewPrice said...

CrispyRice, Glad you approve!

Lawhawk, I don't think Graham should have voted for her for a variety of reasons -- political, judicial, etc.

But what really upsets me about what Graham has done this time is the abdication of his role as a Senator. He needs to learn that part of his job is to stand up to the Executive or the Judicial (no matter what party they are in) when they are wrong.

This whole idea of "he won the election he should get his way" undermines the whole system set up to make sure our government doesn't turn tyrannical.

LawHawkSF said...

Andy: Not only do I agree with you 100%, but I would add that any Republican who votes for this judicial horror for any reason, political or judicial, should be booted out of office. It's one thing to to make fools of themselves by attempting to block an inevitable confirmation, and quite another to vote for the nominee just because Obama was elected. As you said, that makes no sense at all, and it's a dangerous precedent. The rule before Bork was, vote in favor of the nominee because the President wants her, and because she is highly-qualified. She has proven completely the opposite. Graham has completely forgotten the second part of the test. This is more RINO bipartisanship baloney, and we're going to choke on it.

Writer X said...

Lindsey Graham is everything that's wrong with the Republican Party: A lack of cajones. I certainly hope his vote for Sotomayer has consequences in his bid for relection. It shows his constituents that he's willing to bend over at the most critical times. Wimp.

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, I agree that someone needs to challenge him. He seems like a nice guy, but he's a horrible politician -- and I cringe every time I see him on television, it's like he craves being humilitated. And this decision is another in a long line of bad decisions.

Since the Republicans can't stop Sotomayor's nomination, why support her? Isn't it time for the parties to draw stark lines of contrast between what they stand for?

Writer X said...

Andrew, you're spot-on. As usual. I think he mistakes humiliation for "taking the high road."

I'm not familiar with South Carolina. Is Graham that popular? I would think that he's lost some fans these last couple of years. He might as well wear a sign that says, "Kick me. Hard."

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, :-)

I'm not sure how he is perceived in South Carolina, but they do re-elect him. Maybe one of our other readers can fill us in?

I think you're right about his mistaking humilitation for "taking the high road." I've seen him "argue" against Democrats who did everything except drop their pants and urinate on him, and he not only took it, he complimented the Democrat on their integrity and their good faith. Huh?!

But he's not unique. Many of our elected Republican official don't seem capable of handling themselves in a debate. I just don't understand it.

Writer X said...

Andrew, okay, I just spewed coffee all over my computer screen on your last comment. Thanks, I needed that laugh today. And the visual.

Seriously, maybe the RNC needs to send these guys to some kind of wimp de-sensitizing training or something. It's like they've joined a wimp cult or something.

AndrewPrice said...

A wimp cult! LOL!! That would explain it.

I honestly think that they need to start giving these guys classes (with hands on training) in (1) public speaking, (2) debating nasty people, (3) marketing, (4) reasoning and logic, and (5) Republican philosophy.

Goldentrout said...

Andrew, we truly have a bunch of wimps and wusses in Congress right now. Mr. Gramnesty reminds us that Obama isn't the lone empty suit in Washington. He has betrayed the Conservative cause several times in the past, as I recall.

I live in NC, and often listen to SC talk radio as I travel for work. The Conservatives in Greenville and Spartanburg are hopping mad about his vote for Sotomayor, but I don't know if it will be enough to throw him out in the next election. Voters have such short memories it seems, especially with this guy.

CrisD said...

First paragraph brought tears to my eyes, as truth frequently does..

This is the first I have heard of Graham's horror of a statement. I will be digesting that this morning...I find it difficult to thank you for informing me..but you know I do thank you...

over and out..

StanH said...

Senatorial comity is exhausting to witness, this one sided charade needs to come to an end, it simply makes Republicans look like feckless wimps. I contend that they really agree with Democrats and love an ever expanding federal government as well. One only need look at Washington’s bipartisan initiatives, NAFTA, Immigration Reform, TARP, etc. I hate to be so cynical but they only respond when the voters get in their face, and the issues never die they go into a holding pattern for another congress and president. As the old saying goes, “We have the government that we deserve,” and I’m as guilty as the next person, …I kept my head down, took care of my family, business, etc. and other than vote and donate to the Republicans that was it, a basic apathy that has given us, “Barry.” Lindsey Graham is symptomatic of our problem right and left.

AndrewPrice said...

Goldentrout, Thanks for the information. I figured that conservatives would be upset with Graham, but you never know. State politics is ofter much more complex than what we see at the national level.

CrisD, You're welcome. Please feel free to let us know your thoughts after you digest his statement.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, The problem becomes that once these guys get to Washington, the really fall in love with the place. And the best way to stay there is to take the path of least resistance, and that's usually to just throw money at a problem.

That's why the 1994 Republicans were so truly exceptional. Sadly, over time, they slowly gave in to the same bad impulses.

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