“Graham’s courageous stand for the republic”

After I got done stewing about having screwed up on the Biden thing, I remembered that I owed Cindi Scoppe a phone call. Speaking to her reminded me that I meant to call your attention to The State‘s editorial yesterday, “Graham’s courageous stand for the republic.”

It was really, really good. So good that after I read it at breakfast yesterday, I e-mailed Cindi to say:

Excellent lede today. Did you write that, or did I?
It needs to be said loudly and often.

OK, so maybe that wouldn’t be a compliment to you, but I think Cindi saw it as such. You know, knowing my ego as she does.

But it really did say pretty much everything I would have said — of course, one of the great things about working with Cindi over the years was that she could do that. There was a time when I felt like I had to write any important edit about state government or politics to get the message just right, and the right tone and feel into it (to please me, anyway). But I realized shortly after I brought Cindi up from the newsroom that if I just spent a few minutes explaining to her what I wanted, in a few minutes she’d turn it around into an edit that was everything I had wanted, and just as good as if I’d written it — and several hours faster.

The great thing about this was that I didn’t have occasion to tell her what I wanted (you may have heard, I don’t word there any more), and yet I got it anyway. But more important than it being what I wanted, it’s what South Carolina needed to hear about Graham’s decision to vote for Elena Kagan’s nomination, and his cogent explanation of his reasoning.

An excerpt:

THROUGHOUT the first two centuries or so of our nation’s history, what Sen. Lindsay Graham did on Wednesday when he voted to confirm President Obama’s appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court would have been thoroughly unremarkable. What would have been remarkable would have been for a senator to do otherwise — to vote against confirming a nominee who did not have serious ethical, legal, mental or intellectual problems.

But as Sen. Graham told the Judiciary Committee, things are changing…. What matters today are individual agendas, and punishing anyone who doesn’t agree with their every opinion.

That’s a threat not just to the independence of the judiciary but to the republic itself…

As when he voted to confirm Mr. Obama’s first Supreme Court appointment a year ago, Sen. Graham said Wednesday that Ms. Kagan was not someone he would have appointed, but Mr. Obama won the election; the job of the Senate is merely to stop a president from appointing people who are objectively unfit to be judges.

Will Ms. Kagan join the liberal wing of the court? Probably. Just as President Bush’s appointments joined the conservative wing. We wish there weren’t such clearly defined wings…. But that’s a political preference we have; not a constitutional standard appropriate for senators to consider. As far as confirmation goes, there’s nothing wrong with Ms. Kagan. Just as there was nothing wrong with Sonia Sotomayor. Or with John Roberts. Or with Samuel Alito. And any senator who votes or voted against any of them was simply wrong.

But go read the whole thing. And share it with every South Carolinian you know.

15 thoughts on ““Graham’s courageous stand for the republic”

  1. Tracie

    I wish you had “share” buttons (addthis has great ones) so I could post this to Facebook with a click. (Do you? Am I missing them?) Love that editorial.

  2. Elliott

    The tea party crowd is a loud minority of SC voters. Why can’t the rest of us get behind Graham? I don’t agree with some of his views, but he does a great job as senator. I hope South Carolinians won’t get rid of one of the best in the Senate. At least we have four? more years before we vote.

  3. Burl Burlingame

    “in a few minutes she’d turn it around into an edit that was everything I had wanted, and just as good as if I’d written it — and several hours faster.”

    And likely shorter?

  4. Doug Ross

    Courageous? Some might call voting for someone who was already a lock to be confirmed “calculating”. A chip to trade un when Graham needs something for himself later on.

    Or some might call it “grandstanding” – a behavior our senior senator is famous for. If there is a camera around, he will find it. “I’m ready for my closeup, Mr. Obama”

  5. bud

    I’m not sure courageous is really very accurate. Maybe he did vote his conscience but that doesn’t really take a great deal of bravery. He’s already lost the Tea Party crowd. To balance that out this vote might fool a few folks in the center who would consider voting for a democrat. Electorially speaking these judicial votes seem to be pretty much a wash. Courageous is a bit of hyperbole.

  6. Bart

    Don’t mind being the wet blanket here. The loud praises for Graham voting to preserve the integrity of the republic are not unexpected by the majority on this blog but this time, Graham’s vote was wrong, at least IMHO.

    1. Kagan has the least amount of legal experience of any nominee in the past 50 years. A grand total of 2 years in private practice and 14 months as solicitor general.

    2. Kagan was more of a political practitioner than a legal practitioner. By her own admission, “most of the time I spent in the White House, I did not serve as an attorney; I was instead a policy adviser.”

    3. Her liberal leanings and views are well known. From supporting partial-birth abortions to anti-gun and anti-military views, she has no record of being anywhere close to anything but a “progressive in the Obama mold” as described by a friend and colleague, Greg Craig.

    4. She reworded a memo on partial-birth abortion while serving as a Clinton policy advisor that changed the entire message from board of gynecologists and obstetritians who wrote it. The reworded memo became the official source for several opinions handed down by judges hearing arguments on the issue.

    5. She actively participated in demonstrations against the military recruiters on campus at Harvard but in her confirmation hearings, made conflicting statements regarding her distaste for the military.

    6. She described the NRA as nothing more than another KKK organization.

    7. The Constitution was written for the times and with an eye toward the future. It is a document that has served our nation well for over 200 years but our president thinks it is an imperfect document, meant to be changed or ignored at his will and his nominee, Kagan is of the same mindset and belief as far as I can determine.

    Many of the objections I have to Kagan, and this is not all, will certainly not reflect what the majority on this blog believes but that is their right to disagree.

    I do not in any way view Graham’s decision and speech defending his vote as being courageous or reflective of the majority of his constituents position on the matter. He is a political opportunist, no different than anyone else on either side of the aisle.

    As far as another snide comment about the Tea Party being a loud minority, keep believing that myth. The Tea Party is being labeled as a racist movement, members being nothing but old white people afraid of the black man in the White House, and any other insult the narrow minded bigots on the left can hurl at them. Yes, I said “bigots” because that is exactly what they are.

    Bigoted against older, mostly white people who have worked their asses off all their lives and for once, are participating in politics in a vocal manner, not just at the voting booth. They are making their voices heard and that seems to be an insult to some on this blog. What are they supposed to do? Sit home, be quiet and blithely accept anything shoved their way?

    It must be wonderful to dwell in the world of angry liberalism like a few on this blog do. It must be a lot of fun at the dinner table or around them, listening to the rants and raves against anyone they disagree with and the anger and venom spewed toward conservatives, Republicans, and all of the “racists” in the Tea Party.

    No wonder most liberals have a look of constant agitation on their faces. They find very little if anything about America to be proud of until their hand is called and then, they defend themselves as being one of the greatest patriots who ever walked on American soil.

    As I said on another post, it is the soul of the person that comes out in their actions and communications with others and tells us who they are.

  7. Mark Stewart

    Well, then there is DeMint. So take your pick. Republic; I like that. Not ours everytime, but always there fo the good of ou r nation.

  8. KP

    I think it was courageous. In fact, I think Graham’s entire voting history (well, most of it) is pretty courageous, which is what caused him to lose the Tea Party crowd in the first place. The last sane man standing.

  9. Doug Ross


    We’ll see how courageous Graham is the next time he runs. He’ll magically shift into his conservative mode just like his buddy McCain.

    There’s no courage in voting for a done deal.

    Courage would be standing up in front of his many detractors within his constituency (including those who have IQ’s under 100 like Graham’s spokesman Rick Quinn stated last week). Let’s see him take questions from the people he represents. Courage? Ha.

  10. Kathryn Fenner

    @Tracie–You can download the Share This widget into your browser, and automatically post to Facebook or email to people any web page link. You can also copy and paste the link into a Facebook window, which takes a bit longer.

    Brad–you’d get more page hits if you put such a widget on your page…

  11. bud

    It must be wonderful to dwell in the world of angry liberalism like a few on this blog do.

    Indeed it is. We “angry” liberals, as you incorrectly label us, believe in freedom and progress toward an America that is safe, healthy and recognizes the dignity of our fellow man whether they have the same skin color as our own or not. Whether they read the same “word of God” that we do or not. Whether they love a person with the same or different body parts as we have or not.

    We understand that people are different. We also understand the abuses of big business and the military industrial complex threatens the cherished freedoms that the founding fathers envisioned.

    The tea party is none of that. The tea party is comprised of folks who willingly accept others who would carry signs with the likeness of our president with a bone through his nose or a Hitler mustache. That’s not in keeping with the spirit of the founding fathers. Rather that is hate, pure and simple. The tea party may have some folks who are merely in it to achieve fiscal responsibility and border protection. But there are many others who would use “second ammendment” solutions to restore what they regard as the proper social order.

    Indeed we have elected a man of color to lead our great nation through the 21st century. The Tea Party is composed of thousands who are offended by that. Their writings and images give away the fascade that suggests otherwise. This is a regressive movement that offers nothing constructive for this country but rather uses it as a platform for bigotry, imperialism and big business exploitation. It’s a dangerous movement and should be monitored carefully. Yet it should be allowed to exist. That’s the American way. Too bad the folks in the Tea Party movement don’t get that.

  12. SusanG

    So, Bart and bud, if I understand you — “they” are angry, anti-American, bigoted idiots. And “we” are good, noble, patriotic, compassionate, reasonable people who are not going to let “them” take over our country.

    Doesn’t really result in a constructive conversation, though.

  13. Kathryn Fenner

    I’m not angry most of the time! I do feel sad that we cannot have a lot of the good things places like a lot of Europe, Canada and even the North have, like awesome parks and great public transportation that everyone uses, and high quality education for everyone, and tolerance for people who do not look or act or believe like us….

  14. bud

    SusanG, liberals even love the hate-spewing, fear-mongering, reckless, reactionary, unreasonable, evil conservatives.

  15. Herb Brasher

    Kathryn, you forgot to mention pretty decent healthcare, with a simple, organized way of paying for it.

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