Tag Archives: Lindsey Graham

Lindsey Graham Tells The Truth…

Ok, so it was inadvertent.

Graham–as most readers of this blog undoubtedly know–has blown the cover off the “states’ rights” arguments in Dobbs–and even the state’s rights “musing” in Clarence Thomases horrific concurrence. The Court’s argument is that certain fundamental rights previously protected nationally really aren’t so fundamental, and ought to be decided by state legislatures that are “closer to the people.”

That argument was never particularly persuasive, since it has a lot in common with the argument that human freedom from bondage isn’t a fundamental right, so whether or not slavery should be allowed would be best decided at the state level. (It also overlooks the widespread gerrymandering that has resulted in multiple state legislatures that don’t remotely reflect the wishes of their constituents.)

As multiple news organizations have reported

 With abortion access already expected to be a major issue in November’s midterm elections, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham supercharged the debate over reproductive rights by introducing a bill that would ban most abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.

“I have chosen to craft legislation that I think is eminently reasonable in the eyes of the world,” the South Carolina senator said. “If we take back the House and the Senate, I can assure you we’ll have a vote,” he vowed, speaking at a Capitol Hill press conference where he was flanked by some of the nation’s most prominent anti-abortion activists, including Marjorie Dannenfelser of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. Many of those activists would like an outright ban on all abortions.

“This bill, frankly, doesn’t go far enough for many people,” said Penny Young Nance, president of Concerned Women for America. “But it is a consensus piece of legislation.”

Well, so much for the rights of states that want to protect a woman’s right to choose.

I don’t know what Graham thought he was doing with this legislative turd–perhaps he thought a national law that waited to criminalize abortion until 15 weeks would  be so generous that it would appeal to people who are conflicted about outright bans. Perhaps, as some commentators have suggested, he thought the promise of a nation-wide ban would motivate the GOP’s reliable anti-choice base.


What Graham has really done is strip away the rhetorical excuses in order to display another sort of “choice”– the stark choice voters will face on this issue in a few short weeks. If the GOP takes Congress, a national ban on abortion becomes very possible–no matter what Mitch McConnell says about Senators’ “preference to leave this matter to the states.” Urged on by its rabid base, the Republican Party will be free to ignore the rights of Blue and Purple states and the women who live in them. (Former vice president Mike Pence emphasized that point in an interview with Real Clear Politics, saying a national abortion ban and individual state restrictions “is profoundly more important than any short-term politics.”)

Senator Schumer’s response was a statement of the obvious.

“For the hard hard right this has never been about states’ rights. This has never been about letting Texas choose its own path while California takes another. No, for MAGA Republicans, this has always been about making abortion illegal everywhere,” Schumer told reporters on Tuesday afternoon.

For the naive pundits who predicted that over-ruling Roe would calm the political waters, Graham’s response to critics should provide a wake-up call:

Graham dismissed political concerns. “There’s a narrative forming in America that the Republican Party and the pro-life movement is on the run,” he said on Tuesday. “No, no, no, no. We’re going nowhere.”

Whatever the legal criticisms of the reasoning in Roe v. Wade, the decision established a bright line between decisions government can legitimately make, and those that must be left to individuals in a truly free society. That principle is what is currently under attack–and as I have repeatedly insisted, the consequences of getting it wrong will extend far beyond abortion.

In the GOP’s zeal to prevent women from exercising the same degree of individual autonomy they gladly grant to White Christian males, they have presented us with an unambiguous choice. Graham’s bill has the virtue of making that choice crystal clear.

A vote for any Republican congressional or Senate candidate in November is a vote for federal government control over our most intimate, personal decisions, including whether and when to procreate, who we can be “intimate” with, and who we can marry…

Whether you agree or disagree with the decisions government imposes is ultimately irrelevant. The issue is–and. must be–who gets to decide? 





For And Against

It’s a political truism that turnout improves when voters are motivated by negativity. In other words, the impulse to vote against a candidate, party or issue is stronger than the desire to register support for those of whom we approve.

We’ve certainly seen that play out in the Presidential election. I happen to be one of those people who really, really likes Joe Biden, for reasons not relevant to this post, but it has been clear for some time that hostility to Donald Trump and his enablers is driving many more people to the polls than warm feelings for Joe.

Anger and disgust are also playing a major role in contests for the Senate, and  eye-popping fundraising totals have been one result. Friends of mine who never appear on lists of big donors–and who rarely give financial support to candidates outside their own districts–have been sending multiple small-dollar donations to Democrats around the country who are running against Republicans they find particularly odious.

I doubt that all the money going to Amy McGrath will allow her to edge out Mitch McConnell–it is, after all, Kentucky. I hope I’m wrong. I can think of no individual who has done more harm to America than “the turtle,” and I would love to see McGrath wipe that smarmy smirk off McConnell’s face. Whatever the result, the enormous success of McGrath’s fundraising testifies to the extent to which McConnell is a hated figure.

I do have hopes for Jaime Harrison, who is polling dead even with “Miss Lindsey” Graham. Harrison is a truly impressive candidate, but the astonishing success of his fundraising  is more attributable to the number of Americans who detest Graham than it is to his considerable virtues.

Frank Bruni recently wrote that the Harrison-Graham contest has become a “national obsession.”

It was a bit of news that came and went quickly amid the fury of political developments these days, but last weekend Jaime Harrison, the South Carolina Democrat who is fighting to unseat Lindsey Graham, announced that he had not merely broken the record for fund-raising for a Senate candidate in a single quarter. He had shattered it.

From July through September, Harrison took in about $57 million. That was nearly $20 million more than Beto O’Rourke, the previous record-holder, collected during the same span two years ago, when he waged his ultimately unsuccessful battle against Ted Cruz in Texas.

As Bruni observed, Harrison is the recipient of so much money because he’s the vessel of so much hope.

No other political contest in 2020 offers quite the same referendum on the ugliness of Donald Trump’s presidency. No victory would rebut Trump’s vision of America as emphatically and powerfully as Harrison’s would.

Remember the time before Trump’s Electoral College win, when Graham said the way to make America great again was to “tell Donald Trump to go to hell”? Now he’s not only Trump’s adoring golf buddy, he’s his obedient factotum. (His U-Turn on Trump was so dramatic, it raises speculation that Trump has something on him and is blackmailing him.)

Graham’s most odious, most despicable “U Turn,” of course, has been on vivid display in the frantic and unseemly haste to replace Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

When he assisted Mitch McConnell in stealing Merrick Garland’s seat on the Supreme Court, Graham claimed that he’d never consider, let alone promote, a Supreme Court nominee in the last year of a president’s term. We’ve all seen the footage of him telling journalists to “mark his words and use them against him if the need ever arose.”

Somehow, the word “shameless” seems inadequate…

As Bruni wrote,

One of the main story lines of the Trump years has been the spectacular moral capitulation of most Republican lawmakers, who junked supposedly cherished principles to placate a president whose hold on his base and capacity for vengeance mattered more to them than honor, than patriotism, than basic decency. Graham is the poster boy of that surrender, Complicitus Maximus, in part because his 180-degree turn to Trump required that he show his back to his close friend and onetime hero John McCain.

It’s nice that Jaime Harrison is so admirable and qualified, but that $57 million dollars is a measure of how detestable most honorable Americans find Graham.

The massive early voting turnouts we are seeing would appear to confirm the political premise that more people turn out to express disgust than approval. Let’s hope that holds true even in the deep red states…