Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Lindsay Graham to Democrats: "We'll Clean Your Clock."

As Democratic Senators on the Judiciary Committee listed the problems that they had with Samuel Alito's answers at his confirmation hearing and why they were voting against his nomination leaving their committee, Republican Senators used their speaking time to attack the Democrats on the panel.

Graham cautioned the Democrats from making Bush's judicial nominations a campaign issue in the November midterm elections. "Our side would welcome that debate, and frankly we'll clean your clock," he said.

Senator Graham is a newcomer to the Senate, having taken Jesse Helms' seat upon his retirement. Graham's rise in politics stems from his role as a House manager in the Clinton impeachment. He brings with him the same low standards for debate in policy-making that he exercised as a congressman. Taunting, bullying speech may be tolerated in the House of Representatives, but the Senate is a more august body where heated ad hominem is not merely frowned on but severely rebuked.

When Thomas Jefferson returned from France where he'd served as ambassador while his colleagues were writing the Constitution, he purportedly met with George Washington, and he asked Washington why they had found it necessary to create the Senate.

Washington is said to have silently removed the saucer from his teacup and poured the tea into the saucer and told Jefferson that like the act he had just performed, the Senate would be designed to cool the passions of the moment.

Historically, the Senate has been a haven of sanity, balance, wisdom. Senators debated controversial issues which have been passionately felt with candor, with courage and civility. It remains unclear if Lindsay Graham can mature into the role of statesman that the job of Senator requires.

Democrats represent 50 million voting Americans, roughly half of the electorate. Democratic policies better address the problems in the lives of the other 100 million American who are eligible to vote but don't. The future of this country, of the world, depends on sober and thorough discussion of the issues we are facing, so if Lindsay Graham thinks it would benefit his side, then why the abrasive, fear-mongering posturing? If he so welcomes a thorough airing of the issues, why is he doing everything he can to try to scare Democrats into cutting off the debate?
"Bring it on!"

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