Tag Archives: Lindsey Graham

Next up in tea party sights: Sen. Graham

Lindsey Graham might be the next sitting Republican U.S. senator headed to a runoff courtesy of a tea party challenge from his right.

Last week we saw Mississippi U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran forced into a runoff with challenger Chris McDaniel. The smart money, such as it is, says Cochran’s in trouble in the June 24 runoff. McDaniel is well-positioned to knock off the six-term Republican incumbent, who the tea party says isn’t conservative enough for Mississippians.

Instead, the Mississippi Republicans may nominate someone backed by fanatics who broke into a nursing home where Cochran’s wife has lived for more than a decade and who sought to produce an anti-Cochran campaign video that included images of his bed-ridden wife. Disgusting.

And what about Graham, another conservative who’s been deemed too squishy because he has the audacity to work across the aisle at times? Why, that turncoat even has supported some of President Obama’s judicial nominees, which angers the tea party faction in South Carolina to no end.

He’s got a boatload of challengers. The South Carolina GOP primary is Tuesday. The question there is whether Graham can be re-nominated without having to go to a runoff. If he doesn’t get the requisite 50-percent majority, can he prevail in a runoff in which the turnout usually is a whole lot lower than it is in the primary?

This is big news just about everywhere, it seems, but Texas. The tea party wing of the GOP is running strong here, so it’s no big deal to see “establishment” incumbents getting thumped.

Elsewhere? That’s another matter.

Stay tuned for the latest drama to play out Tuesday in South Carolina.

Here comes 'impeachment' talk

Wait for it. Here it comes. Are you ready for it?

Some talking heads in both the left- and right-wing media are talking about impeachment as it regards the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Oh … brother.


Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — who knows a thing or two about impeaching a president of the United States — now warns that President Obama could face impeachment if he releases any more prisoners from Guantanamo Bay without consulting first with Congress.

The United States turned over five Taliban detainees in exchange for Bergdahl. The exchange reportedly took place without the White House advising Congress of it in advance, under federal law. Republicans are outraged — outraged, I tell you — that they weren’t so advised.

The White House has apologized for what it calls an “oversight.” That hasn’t stopped the uproar.

Sen. Graham — himself an Air Force reserve lawyer — once helped prosecute President Clinton during the 42nd president’s 1998 impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate. The Senate acquitted the president and Republicans ended up paying dearly for it politically at the next election.

Some left-wing media pundits — notably MSNBC’s Ed Schultz — believe Republicans are waiting for the results of this year’s mid-term election before commencing impeachment proceedings against Barack Obama. The idea, according to Schultz, is that the GOP could gain control of the Senate and tighten their grip on the House, particularly with tea party Republicans winning elections across the country.

I’m hoping Schultz is just hyperventilating and will calm down once he catches his breath.

We’ll need to get some answers to questions about Bergdahl’s release and, just as importantly, his capture five years ago. Was he AWOL? Did he abandon his post? If he did walk away, should the Army court-martial him? Let’s sort all that out first.

As for the release, the president and the Pentagon brass were determined not to leave an American behind once we leave the Afghanistan battlefield. Bowe Bergdahl was the lone U.S. service member being held captive. The brass felt it was worth it to exchange five Taliban officers for Bergdahl.

Did they do it by the book? That, too, remains to be determined definitively.

Good grief. Let’s can this impeachment talk until we get all the facts on the table.

Thornberry to hit talk-show circuit?

I cannot help but wonder about the exposure U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry of little ol’ Clarendon, Texas is going to get now that he’s positioned to become the next chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

This is a major committee assignment. It involves funding for our troops, the men and women who defend us against bad guys. It involves deciding which weapons to finance and what levels of related financial support Americans will pay.

Thornberry is going to lead a critically important committee when the next Congress convenes — assuming, of course, he’s re-elected this fall. He’ll win re-election. Bet on it.

For almost all of Thornberry’s nearly two decades in Congress, he’s been a proverbial “back bencher.” He doesn’t make much news. He doesn’t hog the spotlight the way, say, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Peter King and Chuck Schumer do.

That might change now that Thornberry prepares to take the gavel from retiring Chairman Buck McKeon.

Those Sunday news talk show hosts are going to want to know the particulars of what the Armed Services Committee is planning for the next Congress. The military has been in the news, as President Obama has announced plans to end our combat role in Afghanistan. There’ll be plenty of discussion of redeploying our military assets. There’ll be talk about a probable reduced military footprint abroad.

These topics will be right in the wheelhouse of the Armed Services Committee chairman. That means you, Rep. Thornberry.

The veteran Republican lawmaker has been sitting on the back bench long enough. It’s time to step up, tell us what you think and where you intend to lead this critical congressional panel.

Defense cuts don’t ‘gut’ our military

Lindsey Graham can be excused for hyperventilating over plans to cut defense spending.

He’s facing a stiff challenge from his right in South Carolina as he seeks re-election to the U.S. Senate. Given that challenge, he’s got to sound extra-tough in criticizing the Barack Obama administration’s plans for the Defense Department.


He said over the weekend that proposals to cut the standing Army to 440,000 troops will “gut” our ground capability.

I don’t get this. The United States possesses the strongest military in the history of the planet. It’s stronger than Russia and China. We possess a nuclear arsenal that is second to none. Our anti-terrorism efforts are killing bad guys almost daily. Our Navy is combat-ready. Our Air Force is second to none.

Is the Pentagon brass, starting with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, really and truly seeking to disarm this nation, to make it a “third world power” militarily, as Graham and others are suggesting?

Give me a break.

Graham wondered this past weekend whether we could defend South Korea if North Korea decided to invade its neighbor. He said the Army could not respond. Hagel’s assertion? He assures us that the United States can fight a war in any single theater of operations using all the assets it will retain.

If the government is going to cut spending — as many Americans believe must happen — no single element must be spared. The Defense Department’s budget will continue to out spend Russia, China and Great Britain combined.

We aren’t disarming ourselves.

Re-election hill steepens some for incumbents

The Gallup Poll organization reports something that might give congressional incumbents plenty of pause as they campaign for re-election.

Listen up, Rep. Mac Thornberry.

It is that 46 percent of Americans — a record low — would vote to re-elect their member of Congress in 2014.


That’s down from 59 percent in 2012, according to RealClearPolitics.com.

Get this as well: It’s split evenly among Democrats and Republicans, at 18 percent for members of each party.

Why should this concern incumbents? Republicans in particular have shown this penchant for — as the late Texas state Sen. Teel Bivins used to say — “eating their young.” Tea party insurgents keep popping up to challenge “establishment Republican” incumbents. It’s happening in the 13th Congressional District — which Thornberry represents — with two challengers trying to outflank the incumbent on the right. The same is true in Kentucky, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is being challenged by the tea party, as is Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

It’s no secret that this appears to be the season of discontent with Congress. Polls show congressional approval in the low teens, which actually is a slight improvement from late in 2013, when it slid into the single digits.

How will this end up? It could end well for incumbents, but only perhaps when Congress can re-learn the art of legislating, which involves some compromise between the parties.

S.C. senator faces rightie challenge

I don’t know why I should give a damn about what happens in South Carolina.

But I do.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican, is facing a 2014 GOP primary challenge from South Carolina state Sen. Lee Bright who thinks Graham is too supportive of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominees, among other issues.


Bright is looking like a dim bulb here.

Graham isn’t exactly a flaming lefty. Far from it. He’s as conservative as most Republicans in the Senate. He votes the party line more than 90 percent of the time. He’s also a talented military lawyer who understands a thing or two about presidential prerogative, which means that presidents — by virtue of their election — have the right to pick qualified judicial candidates. Yes, the Senate has the right under the Constitution to confirm those appointments. It’s rare that senators do not go along with presidential picks.

President Obama has selected qualified judges throughout his time in the White House. The problem with many of them, according to those on the right, is that they share Obama’s more liberal view of jurisprudence. That’s no reason by itself to oppose someone.

And no, this is not a partisan concern with me. I’ve argued the same thing on behalf of Republican presidents as well. President George W. Bush’s selections for the high court weren’t exactly my favorites, but he had the right to pick qualified individuals to serve — and he did.

I’m a big believer in presidential prerogative. Lee Bright apparently doesn’t share that belief, especially when the president belongs to the other party.

Lindsey Graham, to his credit, gets it.