Sunday, April 21, 2013

Lindsey Graham... Not Courageous


Lindsey Graham was the first of the Republican panderers to declare 19 year old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev an enemy combatant, unworthy of the trial that this country guarantees people accused of crimes. I'm sure he thought that kind of unconstitutional raving would play well in the upcountry where he's so very, very unpopular. And he certainly knows South Carolina better than I do. I mean the fact that a flamboyant, superficially closeted homosexual like Lindsey Graham can cultivate a political career in a stridently anti-gay state like South Carolina, certainly shows ole Lindsey has some political skills and a knack for effectively deceiving the rubes. So... shred the Constitution (except the Second Amendment, of course).

Not everyone agrees with Graham. Even a hawkish conservative like Adam Schiff D-CA) understands the importance of not throwing out the Constitution in a fit of fearfulness and politics.
Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, reiterated the importance of upholding due process for Tsarnaev. “This is not a foreign national caught on an enemy battlefield, but an American citizen arrested on American soil,” he said in a statement Saturday. “The Justice Department has demonstrated a far greater ability to successfully prosecute suspected terrorists in federal courts than the military commissions have thus far been able to show.  Nothing must be done to compromise the public safety, the ability of prosecutors to seek justice for the victims or our constitutional  principles.”
There were 7 amendments the Senate voted on last week, amendments to a gun safety bill since withdrawn. Graham, whose approval ratings back home are plummeting and who faces both primary challenges and a serious Democratic challenger, knew perfectly that none of those amendments were in any way related to the Second Amendment. By NRA propaganda on behalf of the weapons and ammo manufacturers has been so effective in permeating the politics of South Carolina that Graham dared not even join his normally joined at the hip compadre, John McCain, in supporting the bipartisan background check amendment (Manchin-Toomey) backed by 91% of Americans and healthy majorities of South Carolinians, NRA members and Republicans. Graham was one of the 42 Republicans and 4 ConservaDems who refused to even allow it to come up for a vote, joining the right-wing extremists in a filibuster. If you didn't watch the Maddow video clip up top, now would be a good time to do so.

As Rachel says, "Federal law says that if you are a felon you are not supposed to be able to buy a gun. If you have a severe mental illness... if a judge has declared you to be 'mentally defective,' you are not supposed to be able to buy a gun in the United States of America. That's the law. Of course you can't tell by looking at someone if a judge has declared that person to be mentally defective. You cannot tell by looking at a person if that person is a convicted felon. But if you are either of those things, the law says you cannot buy a gun." After that... you have to watch the clip to see what she's getting at.

What she was getting at, though, would come as no surprise to Lindsey Graham. He's not a stupid man. He knows the need for background checks and he knows the need for background checks is not any kind of impingement on the Second Amendment.

But what Lindsey Graham-- and many of his Republican colleagues-- are counting on is that Republican voters won't allow a vote like that stand in the way of reelection. Being tough on-- well, tough on... liberals, I guess... certainly not tough on crime, since every crime fighting organization in America backed the background checks amendment-- never hurts a conservative sniffing around for votes, especially not upcountry. Obama won Charleston last November. He beat Romney 81,027 to 77,248. People in Charleston overwhelmingly favor background checks. They may even favor background checks up in Anderson, where Romney beat Obama 48,493 to 22,315 and in Aiken, where Romney beat Obama 41,157 to 23,953. But it's in places like Anderson and Aiken counties where Graham is most vulnerable, where people don't like him, don't trust him and sense he "isn't one of us." Having the NRA seal of approval destroyed the political career of ConservaDem Debbie Halvorson on the southside of Chicago; that's not how it works in South Carolina.

Jay Stamper, the Democrat running for the Senate seat Lindsey Graham is occupyig, said he was "stunned" that Graham voted against Manchin-Toomey's background check amendment, "He can't possibly have opposed it on grounds of unconstitutionality; the amendment simply expanded background checks to private sales at gun shows and on the internet-- a common sense measure to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. In any event, having just called for the suspension of the Constitution itself, Senator Graham makes an unlikely constitutionalist."

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