It’s about time these people started sitting down together

Lindsey Graham had a busy day yesterday in his complicated relationship with Barack Obama. He complained about the administration’s plans to try Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law in federal court, called the expansion of Medicaid “disastrous,” trashed Rand Paul and defended the president’s drone warfare, and complimented the president on a nice dinner the previous evening.

I had heard Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., say on the radio that he and other GOP senators had a good discussion, and a good dinner, at the White House Wednesday night. Graham elaborated on that in a release:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement after meeting with the President:


“Last night’s dinner with President Obama and my Republican colleagues was productive and substantive.  I hope it will serve as the beginning of a new, long-overdue paradigm where people in elected office actually begin talking to each other about meaningful issues.


“The discussions with the President about our long-term budget problems were candid and differences in philosophy were apparent.  However, also apparent was common ground on how to move forward.


“One thing I am certain of — the perpetual campaign will not solve the nation’s problems.


“Finally, I shared with my colleagues there is no dishonor in trying and failing to solve big problems.  The long-term budgetary problems we discussed last night have defied bipartisan solutions for far too long.  I’m ready to try to solve the serious, long-term budget problems our country faces and can accept failure as an outcome.  But I cannot accept not trying.”



Then, on Thursday, the president had Paul Ryan over for lunch.

You know what? It’s about time. What I’d like to know is, why weren’t these kinds of meetings going on long before now? Graham was right to say that it’s sad that something like this makes news.

13 thoughts on “It’s about time these people started sitting down together

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Graham’s press conference with Kelly Ayotte about Sulaiman Abu Ghaith was really kind of a brilliant media stroke.

    Since no one had any other live images to show with this big news, a picture of the two senators made it into more than one story about Abu Ghaith’s capture — even though it was slightly peripheral to the main news.

  2. Doug Ross

    Lindsey and McCain came out the losers in their whining about Rand Paul…

    He is a pandering lackey to John McCain’s crotchety old man.

  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    From Graham’s comments about Rand Paul:

    Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) chided fellow Republicans, questioning whether their views were even truly Republican.

    “What is it all of a sudden that this drone program has gotten every Republican so spun up?” Mr. Graham said on the Senate floor. “Not Senator Paul—he’s a man to himself. He has a view that I don’t think is a Republican view; I think is a legitimately held libertarian view.”

    About time somebody said that.

    1. Silence

      It’s not about the drones. It was really about the rules for killing Americans on American soil. Now that the president’s cabinet has given a satisfactory answer, the issue is settled. Rand Paul was right, Lindsey Graham was wrong about this issue. End of story.

      1. kc

        “It’s not about the drones. It was really about the rules for killing Americans on American soil”

        Really? Then why did Paul pronoune himself satisfied with a response that addressed ONLY drones?

  4. Silence

    Do you think that Obama invited the GOP senators to dinner and the Tea Party senator over for lunch to make them an offer they can’t refuse?

  5. bud

    Lindsey was certainly terribly wrong on the drone issue IF Obama was seriously considering using them in the USA. Of course drones shouldn’t be used against American citizens, wherever they are but especially on US soil. And that was the point Rand was trying to make. However, it’s not at all clear that POTUS was ever intending to use the drones in the US. If not then Rand is really the foolish one here.

  6. Phillip

    Doug, I expect McCain and Graham to make fools of themselves routinely now, so this was no exception. What was more disheartening to me (naturally) was the failure of more Democrats to rally to Rand Paul’s side. And I’ll be twice as nauseated if/when some of those same Democrats who failed to speak up now begin to claim to be devoted civil libertarians when the next GOP President merely continues some of these same policies.

  7. Brad Warthen Post author

    You will not be surprised if I go on the record here and say that I don’t think McCain and Graham are making fools of themselves at all.

    Speaking of the Democrats… I read an interesting blog post today from Walter Shapiro, who writes for Yahoo. His premise was that Rand Paul’s filibuster did a great service to the country, as it caused a real debate based on something other than party lines:

    In the 19th century, the word would spread like wildfire through Washington that an orator like Daniel Webster was on his feet in the Senate. On Wednesday, political junkies and dedicated libertarians were alerted by Twitter and their Facebook feeds that Paul was on his feet conducting an old-fashioned filibuster. And viewed on C-SPAN, the substantive spectacle was oddly hypnotic.

    Inadvertently, Paul may have discredited the type of bloodless filibusters that the Republicans have been using with great effect to paralyze the Senate. In reality, it now takes 60 votes (what the Senate rules require to shut off debate) to approve any Obama legislative proposal or to confirm a judicial nominee. Earlier Wednesday, McConnell halted the long-delayed consideration of Caitlin Halligan for the federal bench by trotting out 40 Republicans who support a filibuster.

    But what Paul stumbled on is the emotional wallop of an actual filibuster. His logorrhea with a purpose probably will not, in itself, prompt Obama to level with the American people about his drone policy. But by turning the Senate into a Drone’s Club (hat tip: P.G. Wodehouse) for one memorable day and a bit of the morning after, Paul harked back to the bygone era when the Senate actually was the world’s greatest deliberative body.

  8. bud

    You will not be surprised if I go on the record here and say that I don’t think McCain and Graham are making fools of themselves at all.

    No, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t. We absolutely need to stop all this warmongering. It greatly increases the risk to America’s citizens.

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