Not What He Needs?

Not What He Needs?

by digby

I'm going to lose my mind if I have to listen to any more gasbags go on about how poor Lindsay Graham has been stabbed in the back because Harry Reid put immigration reform before climate change for nothing but personal political reasons. Why everyone thinks it's reasonable for Graham to think he has the right to set the Senate schedule in the first place is beyond me. But more importantly, why anyone thinks that Lindsay Graham isn't lying through his slippery gills is more than I can take.

Andrea Mitchell: Right behind that we thought was going to be climate change. We're going to be talking to Joe Lieberman momentarily. He and Lindsay Graham and John Kerry have been working for months --- and this was the moment for climate change --- and now it had to be pulled back because Senator Harry Reid said that he wanted to move forward first on immigration reform and that caused Lindsay Graham to pull his support away. Without that one Republican supporter there was no way to proceed.

Let's talk about this.What is Harry Reid's motivation. Is it a blatant as trying to appeal to the Hispanic voters as he faces a tough fight there?

Chuck Todd: Well he would argue that he's responding to his constituents and particularly to Hispanic constituency groups in Nevada by saying that he owes it to them in his home state. Clearly he needs them, clearly there's a political benefit to him. Uh, if it somehow does motivate Hispanics to turn out for him, clearly he will need Hispanics to turn out for him to make up the deficit that he is facing right now in this campaign.

You know I talked to Melody Barnes in the White House today, and it didn't seem like she wholeheartedly was endorsing this idea that immigration was going to be done before energy and climate, but you know, she said, "the majority leaders sets the schedule, he sets the priorities, and this is the priority he's setting. I'm told to expect something from Robert Gibbs today to be a little more definitive on where the administration stands when it comes to immigration and how aggressive are they going to be in pushing this this year as opposed to holding off until eleven.

Mitchell: well, it sounds as though the White house is not whole heartedly in the game here. Immigration is not what this president needs right now but it is holding up climate change.

Lieberman then came on and said that Huckleberry is very, very upset because he was told that climate change would come before immigration and now it isn't and so everything's just .... well, I don't know. Seriously, why the hell are we supposed to believe that this such a problem? They changed the schedule and now he's going to hold his breath until he turns blue? What nonsense.

Lieberman tried to make some lame excuse that this somehow hurts Graham's credibility among Republicans and makes it less likely that he'll be able to persuade some of his fellows to come over and vote for either the immigration or the climate change bill. Right. That was going to happen.

Look, Graham is holding the football and Reid decided that instead of letting him pull it out at the last minute as usual, he'd grab it and run with it. It may very well be that the White House isn't happy with that because they seem to be wedded to the ludicrous idea that Lindsay Graham is their bff. But that doesn't mean that Graham is playing in good faith.

After all, just last month Graham said this:

Graham, less than thrilled at the notion of providing the equivalent of a book report to the headmaster in chief, said Obama’s lack of direction on immigration reform is hampering Graham’s efforts to recruit additional Republicans to the cause.

“At the end of the day, the president needs to step it up a little bit,” Graham told POLITICO on Tuesday. “One line in the State of the Union is not going to do it.”

Sound familiar? That's right, last month Obama's failure to push immigration reform was causing Graham to have trouble bringing along all these Republicans who would love to help him out. Seems the Democrats just can't do anything that will help li'l ole Huckleberry do what he needs to do. Ain't that a shame?

Now, it occurred to me as I watched this unfold over the week-end that the White House might be genuinely worried about what will happen to their good bud if he were to be forced to "come out" on immigration just as he is being outed by a bunch of racist, homophobic teabaggers. (And don't think for a moment that this isn't a real problem for Graham because it certainly is and they know it.) I'm sure they are worried about all the future bipartisan bills that he and Rahm have dreamily strategized over a shared chocolate malt in the White House kitchen. But if they are more worried about Huckleberry Graham than they are about Harry Reid --- or more importantly about their Hispanic constituents all over this country who are about to be hunted down like dogs --- then they have a lot to answer for.

Apparently Andrea and Todd "know" that "immigration is NOT what this president needs right now." I would beg to differ. This president needs all the damned help he can get if he doesn't want to lose the House next November and just a month ago a quarter of a million young Americans showed up on the Washington mall looking for something very specific that will get them to the polls. If the president and his crack team are more worried about Lindsay Graham repairing his relationship with his gaybashing teabagging buddies than these people who are looking to him to lead this country away from bigotry, they deserve to lose.

The bottom line is that Graham is playing them just as he always is. He is a snake in the grass going all the way back to the impeachment, where he made his bones proclaiming that Clinton deserved to be impeached because he lied about Lewinsky's orgasms (look it up.) During the Bush years he showed himself to be a liar of epic proportions:

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...

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.

That's your "good faith" player, Lindsay Graham, the man who also, along with John McCain punk'd the Democrats into believing he would help them outlaw torture.

Dday gets it right:

I think Graham was dying for a reason to kill these bills where he was the “sensible Republican moderate” on them. This has been his pose for some time, to show to Washington that he’s willing to work across the aisle, but to never actually do it.

That's his schtick and anyone who doesn't recognize his lugubrious bipartisanship for the con it is by now is being willfully blind.