I will give you his points and then I will explain why I think Graham is simply trying to spin his way back into the good graces of conservative voters in South Carolina.
He continually asserted that all of President Bush’s current nominees will get up-or-down votes. He said that Henry Saad and William Myers will get floor votes. Graham said that both of them have ethical allegations that according to Senate rules they have to be investigated before they can even come before the Judicial Committee. He said that is the reason why they were included in a seperate part of the agreement.
He said that at least one of the eight doesn’t have the votes to pass the Senate. He also said he will vote against at least one, possible two, of the judicial nominees.
Graham asked voters to judge him on what happens in the future, not what it appears right now. He said he believes that Saad and Myers will be voted on by the Senate because of being in the room with the seven Democrats who were part of the deal. Basically he is asking voters to trust him in his trust of the seven Democrats.
He also said that “I believe that in the future filibustering by these seven Democrats will come to a hault but if they do decide to go back into the filibustering business all bets are off and we are in a stronger position.” Graham explained that the “extraordinary circumstances” part of the agreement does not allow them to filibuster any conservative judge. He said “it [filibustering] better not be just because they are conservative.” He also made it clear that if they do filibuster that he would be ready to “pull the trigger on the nuclear option.”
He wasn’t totally certain Frist had the 50 votes he needed to end the judicial filibuster. The negative consequences of a failed vote would have been tremendous and would have emboldened the Democrats to use the filibuster even more frequently.
His said that he believes we will be best for the Republican party in the long run. By avoiding what he called “blowing up the Senate,” he believes he will be able to get Senate Democrats to work on things such as Social Security and John Bolton’s confirmation. He also believes this allows the Senate “to start over” and puts the Republicans in a better position for the future.
Okay those are Sen. Graham’s points. This is my question – why were the Democrats the one celebrating and hailing the deal? If the deal was so great for Republicans in the long run, why was Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid lauding the agreement as a slap in the face to the right-wing?
I also fail to see how this agreement makes the Republicans stronger down the line. Whose to say that any of the other Republicans senators would jump on board with the nuclear option down the line? Sen. Graham is speaking as if he has the power to make this a reality. Somehow I doubt that.
The basic premise of my disagreement with Sen. Graham is trust. He trust those seven Democrats to no longer use the filibuster and I don’t. If he is right and Bush’s judicial nominees get smooth sailing, then I will be the first to apologize and support him. But if he’s not and this deal ends up harming conservatives and hampering the appointment of strict constitutionalist judges, then there will be a day of reckoning for Sen. Graham. I think he is already acutely aware of that. (More on that at Wardrobe Door.)