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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

September 10, 2007


Lindsey Graham

"If politicians in Washington pick an arbitrary date, an arbitrary number to withdraw, it's not going to push Baghdad politicians. It's going to re-energize an enemy that's on the mat,"
-Senator Lindsey Graham (REPUBLICAN-SC)

While the whole world awaited for the testimony of Bush-stooge Ryan Crocker, the latest in a line of awful US Ambassadors to Iraq, and the more influential General David Petreaus, the highest ranking member of the US military (and the guy who was in charge of the 190,000 missing weapons in Iraq when they went missing), Senators, pundits and White House spin-meisters alike went about their business in an attempt to persuade the American people that the Iraq war is good - or bad - depending on their previous convictions. And Sen. Graham is no exception.

Graham, a former Naval officer and Judge Advocate General (a fancy term for an Armed Services lawyer) is putting his two cents into the Iraq ring and telling us all that giving the Iraq government a "goal-date" of when troops should be withdrawn is a bad idea. Of course, this begs the question: What is the alternative? With no end date in sight, the now-not-so-new Iraqi government - yes, the one which took the whole month of August off because Iraq gets "hot" - might never feel that their troops will be ready for the job of getting on with doing their jobs.

Graham appeared on Fox News Sunday (a.k.a. Republicans Softball) to speak his mind, no doubt to make sure any of his pro-Bush statements went unchallenged. This makes one wonder just what Graham's end game is. The South Carolina Senator had been an open critic of much of what the Bushies had tried to accomplish just a over a year ago. he was making noise as a moderate voice in a wilderness when the GOP had been running things in the Senate. Perhaps it was easy for Graham to be a dissenting voice in the Senate knowing that the Bushies were going to get whatever they wanted from their lackeys in the end? After all, it's easier to be a dissenting voice when you know that your party is going to do whatever they want anyway.

Graham had even been seen as a "Maverick" presidential candidate as early as early 2005, a la another former "Maverick" (since tamed), and current 2008 Presidential Candidate, Senator John McCain (REPUBLICAN-AZ). There, of course, were whispers about the sexual preference of Graham, a never-been-married Conservative from one of the most conservative places in the nation, simply because he isn't married. Of course, that talk comes from the Right side of the aisle and began when Graham started speaking his protected mind. It has since stopped. Graham has even gone to Iraq recently, not only to see what was going on there on the ground, but to do a little shopping as well.

"The first time I came here with Sen. McCain, we went rug shopping,"

Graham was lambasted for the rug shopping statement, but even as late as December, 2006, he characterized that same area as "one of the most dangerous places on Earth."

Could it have gotten so much better so fast? I think not.

What about another possible reason for the capitulation of Senator Lindsey Graham? Is it possible that he still has his eyes on the White House in future years? Maybe, just maybe, Graham's thinking is going something like this:

IF the GOP win the 2008 election, Graham could be their Vice Presidential nominee, giving him a shot at the title in 2016 (after another eight years if Republicans in the White House - Ugh!). And even if Graham became the running mate in a losing effort, it certainly would put him in the spotlight as an early 2012 hopeful (using the Senator John Edwards model). In any event, Graham would be given the chance to shine in that spotlight and could make his star shine in a dimly lit GOP field.

Senator Graham better be careful, though. after all, the Bushies still have a "Jeb" waiting and there will be a target on his head. All one has to do is think back to the 2000 GOP presidential primary. Look what the Bushies did to McCain: The untrue and accusatory phone calls about an illegitimate child; the "his wife is a drunk" phone calls; and my personal favorite, the "Manchurian Candidate" phone calls, which accused the Arizona Senator of being an unwitting mole for Communists. No doubt, Graham's marital status will be, no doubt, be the phone conversation when (and if) he runs against the Bush machine.

I can't wait to watch Graham at the 2008 GOP convention.

-Noah Greenberg

In response to the comments on Ron Paul, Victoria Brownworth writes:

While I certainly approve of a Republican who is actually against the war on Iraq, I find the fawning over Ron Paul to be horrifyingly misplaced. Having done a really thorough investigation of Paul and his views and votes, I would like to remind people that Paul wants the tax system abolished (great for the rich, not so good for the poor). He is against abortion and stem cell research. He has made some extraordinarily racist comments in the very recent past. He is against affirmative action. He is against immigration reform. He is against the federal reserve bank and wants it abolished (also not so good for the poor). He is against welfare and wants it abolished.

These points are all on his own website, so not made up by some "liberal" agenda. So while I am glad he's against the war, it only proves what I have been saying about the Republicans who claim moderation---even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Paul is right on the war and wrong on everything else of importance to Americans who are women, non-white, gay or poor. That's about two thirds of all Americans, not exactly a minority.

In response to, "In other words, as President Bush likes to say, if a Republican (other than Rep. Paul) becomes president, and with the rate of improvement in Iraq (as if there is any) we're there to stay," Rhian writes:

What mother of irony is it that the best president of my lifetime, was assassinated, while the one most likely to succeed as totalitarian dictator, can't even get himself shot by Cheney?

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-Noah Greenberg