Spencer Ackerman outlines the deal:
This is the deal Lindsey Graham thinks he can use to get the White House to abandon a civilian trial for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed: Republican support for the closure of Guantanamo Bay. According to the more sophisticated explanation/rationalization I’ve heard for accepting the deal, it’s not so much that Graham can really bring along Republicans as much as he can provide political cover for reticent Democrats to vote for what in 2008 was a bipartisan consensus position, endorsed by even George W. Bush and John McCain. This is the world we live in.
Yes. And in this world the goal posts are guaranteed to move and Lucy will pull the football away at the last moment. I don't know why anyone is still playing this game.
Well, I should say I don't know why anyone who cares about substance is still playing this game. Rahm, who is clearly not the great player everyone thought he was, could not care less about the fate of innocent terrorist suspects or the rule of law. That's for a bunch of wusses to worry about. What he wants is a political victory by any means necessary. The problem is that he doesn't know how to get one.
I don't believe in Rahm style politics. Even good players like Rove or Jim Baker eventually screw it up because humans and events aren't always predictable. If you at least are trying to advance an agenda out of principle you can keep your eye on the ball. These amoral calculating types get lost in the game and end up messing up both the policy and the politics.
And let's be clear about one thing. Huckleberry Graham is not working in good faith and I'm sure that Rahm knows it. Huck is, after all, the guy who did this:
If they aren't plagiarising, they're lying. If they aren't lying they're cooking the record. If they can't win, they cheat.
And anyone who ever believes a word of anything coming out of the mouth of that unctuous phony Huckleberry Graham is just looking to get punked. Get a load of this, from Anonymous Liberal:
Today the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. The Court will be called upon to determine--among other things--whether a provision in last year's Detainee Treatment Act ("DTA") effectively strips the Court of jurisdiction to hear Hamdan's case. The Government contends that it does and in support of this position, Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and John Kyl have filed an amicus brief with the Court.
This amicus brief argues that the legislative history of the DTA supports the Government's position. Specifically, the brief cites a lengthy colloquy between Senators Kyl and Graham themselves which purportly took place during a Senate floor debate just prior to passage of the bill. In the exchange, both Kyl and Graham suggest that the bill will strip the courts of jurisdiction over pending detainee cases such as Hamdan. But here's where the story gets interesting.
Apparently this entire 8 page colloquy--which is scripted to read as if it were delivered live on the floor of the Senate, complete with random interruptions from other Senators--never took place. It was inserted into the Congressional Record in written form just prior to passage of the bill.
They even went to the trouble of making it appear to be a "real" debate with conversational asides and colloquial language. The very, very pious and godly Sam Brownback lied outright and said he'd participated in the debate when it never actually happened. (He's got a bit part in the script.) This article in Slate leads me to believe that there may have been some collusion between the Justice Department and Graham.
They knew that the entire Senate did not intend that the court be stripped of jurisdiction in pending cases. It probably wouldn't have passed if that had been the case. So they cheated.
And, as John Dean writes here, they got caught:
Hamdan's lawyers, however, spotted the hoax. In their opposition to the motion to dismiss the case, they advised the Court that the supposedly conflicting legislative history was entirely invented after the fact, and that it consisted of "a single scripted colloquy that never actually took place, but was instead inserted into the record after the legislation had passed." The brief noted, quite accurately, that this Graham-Kyl colloquy was "simply an effort to achieve after passage of the Act precisely what [they] failed to achieve in the legislative process."
Ultimately, the Supreme Court did not decide the jurisdictional issue until it rendered its full ruling on June 29 of this year. There, Justice Stevens concluded correctly that the Congress had not stripped the Court of jurisdiction with the DTA.
Out of an apparent concern for interbranch comity, the High Court has chosen to ignore the bogus brief filed by Senators Graham and Kyl, rather than reprimanding the Senators. Nevertheless, when Graham and Kyl sought to file the very same brief, a month later, with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columba, Slate's Emily Bazelon reports that court "issued an unusual order rejecting" their amicus brief alone, although they accepted five others.
No one familiar with this remarkable behavior by Graham and Kyl can doubt why the court did not want to hear from these senators.
You can see why he and Rahm believe they are kindred spirits.