Monday, November 14, 2005

Lindsey Graham Goes to Bat for Big Brother

I once had so much hope for Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Remember last spring when the Senate had Rummy up on the hill to grill him on the Abu Ghraib scandal? I do.

On Friday afternoon, Lindsey Graham looked like he was going to jump up, fly across the table, and stick Rummy's microphone up his ear.

By Monday, Graham was on screen shaking hands with John Warner of Virginia and making nice.

I thought at the time that sure as shooting, the neocons had threatened to break his political kneecaps and he'd rolled over for him.


And sure as God made little green apples, Graham is still carrying water for the neocons. He's the one leading the movement to deny Guantanamo detainees the right to a writ of Habeas Corpus, saying that it's not fair for the administration to be sued in the middle of a war.

I have to wonder if Graham understands that the Constitution specifically grants the right to suspend habeas corpus "unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it" to Congress, not the president, and that it doesn't allow for the legislative branch to transfer this power to the executive branch under any circumstances.

Then again, it probably doesn't matter if Graham realizes that or not.

He's just another good little Republican Senator who's sworn allegiance to Big Brother and the Holding Company.

How soon will his Pinnochio nose be as long as Pat Robertson's?


  1. I frequently wonder how many horse heads are put into how many beds, or what the favored intimidation tactic is, when I see politicians do this. Video of the victim in bed with a live boy AND a dead girl? It must be something powerfully awful.

    McCain's an exception, I'm sure they promised him backing for Pres. in '08. The rest? Who knows?

  2. All started with the Republican Lincoln :) He suspended habeas corpus in 1861, which was quite a power grab away from the legislative and judicial branches (considering he ignored the Supreme Court's orders).

    In 1863 the Congress belatedly passed a law giving Lincoln power to do what he had done in 1861, which I suppose was an attempt, to some degree, to preserve their own power, at least on the face of it.

  3. Jeff,

    I'm sure the knee capping is multi-layered. Pictures with boys in motels, stories of daughters doing fraternity parties, blah, blah, blah.



    I thought the Congress action in Lincoln's case was pretty weak. Like you said, a limp attempt to preserve their own power. Kind of like the 1973 War Powers Act and the Resolution on Iraq.

  4. Jeff:

    Yes, it was weak all right. Lincoln had already done it, so they decided they'd go ahead and give him authority to do it. Doesn't look so much like he's flaunting them (well, it does...but I guess it makes some kind of political sense).

    The Supreme Court never tried to force the issue either. Same reason - they didn't want to lose power. Marbury v. Madison (where the Supreme Court declared that it had the power to review the Constitutionality of actions by the other two branches - by no means a given), wasn't that old yet. The Supreme Court knew if they tried to enforce their orders and Lincoln thumbed his nose at them, they'd lose power.

    Of course, Lincoln was wrong to suspend it, in my view, and the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay should get the benefit of habeas corpus as well.

  5. And let's not forget the prohibition of bills of retainer!

    Not sure right now what to make of Lincoln's move, or of the juciciary and legislative reaction to it.

    Hard to imagine, today, that there was serious danger of the Republic actually falling apart.

  6. Jeff:

    Yes, it is certainly a unique situation. But Lincoln was basically arresting dissidents - people who spoke out against him. The so-called "Peace Democrats" or copperheads. By and large, these weren't being taking up arms against the Union.

    I think it is hard to justify that without getting on a slippery slope of the kind the Bush admin would like to see us on.

  7. The school yard logic is breathtaking:
    "It's not fair!" "Democrats are meanies to criticize my war during my war."

    Ugh. There's a reason I never wanted to be an elementary school teacher.

  8. Lincoln was a lousy president, imo. Andrew Jackson was worse in some ways, a genocidal maniac who ignored Supreme Court decisions but Lincoln set a bad example. When the president ignores constitutional laws and precedents, that is when our democracy fails, and we're close to dictatorship.

    BTW, is anyone wondering if Bush wants to imprison and torture his political enemies? Perhaps call them material witnesses in some trumped-up terrorism plot? Bush has a hell of a temper, a mammoth inferiority complex, and a lack of empathy; he's already demonstrated his total disregard for human suffering in Iraq. Is there any limit to his capacity for committing atrocities and crimes? I suspect that he lacks the courage to commit these civil rights violations, not the inclination.

  9. A temper, an inferiority complex, and a lack of empathy? Wow! How long were you in session with him? That's quite a diagnosis :)