Lindsey Graham Pretends The Republicans Will Work With Democrats On Immigration Reform

Candy Crowley does her best to paint Sen. Lucy van Pelt Lindsey Graham as someone who is interested in bipartisanship. I guess Crowley thinks that say

Candy Crowley does her best to paint Sen. Lucy van Pelt Lindsey Graham as someone who is interested in bipartisanship. I guess Crowley thinks that saying you're willing to work with the Democrats but then refusing to vote on that same legislation is somehow reasonable and being bipartisan. Looks more like snake oil to me.

Lindsey Graham might talk a good game but far too often like some of his other "moderate" cohorts all he does is get legislation he's not going to vote for anyway pushed further to the right and watered down. What I don't understand is why the Democrats continually cater to these people if they're not going to get their votes in exchange for their compromises. At the end of the interview Graham claims that they could get immigration reform passed if the Democrats just sat down and did "some good old-fashioned horse trading".

Uh... Lindsey, they already did that when you guys tried to get that immigration bill passed back when Bush was in office and your base and the talking heads on right wing radio went crazy and killed any chance of anything being passed. The problem is not the Democrats willingness to negotiate with Republicans. The problem is your party wants to obstruct for obstruction's sake. That and your party's nativist base that would vote you out during a primary in a heartbeat if you help pass a bill on immigration.

Here's Crowley's lead-in and the second half of her interview with Graham today.

CROWLEY: Senator Lindsey Graham is from South Carolina, one of the most conservative states in the country. He scores an 88 on a scale of 100 from a leading conservative group. He is also one of a handful of Republicans who have worked periodically with Democrats on major issues. Graham has been at the Obama White House some 20 times, and it has cost him. Glenn Beck calls Graham "Obama lite."

Graham supports a secure border, but also bucked party orthodoxy supporting a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already here. Rush Limbaugh labeled him Senator Gramnesty. Though he eventually walked away from the table, Graham teamed up with Democratic John Kerry and independent Joe Lieberman to put together climate legislation, and he was the lone Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote to confirm President Obama's two nominations for the Supreme Court. Limbaugh theorizes Graham has been trying to make up for having been a manager on the Clinton impeachment bill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, TALK SHOW HOST: He is groveling, he's hoping they will forgive him. They never will, but this is what happens to you when you leave your integrity at the cloak check.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: When we come back, a conversation with Senator Lindsey Graham in his office.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CROWLEY: We're back with Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Let me ask you, there has been a lot of talk, and certainly the Democrats have said this is the party of no. But the truth is there have been a lot of things that the Republicans have said no to.

GRAHAM: Right.

CROWLEY: Is that enough to have a good election in the midterm?

GRAHAM: Well, it's kind of odd that the things that we say no to are the same people -- the American people don't like. You know, the American people are not sold on the health care bill. They've tried to sell it, they can't sell it. The American people believe the stimulus package has been a flop. I believe it has been a flop.

GRAHAM: But the idea of us fighting the Democratic agenda when it's bad makes sense, but we have to do more than say no. You're right.

What are we for as a party?

Now, we've been in power where we had 55 senators and we had a Republican president. You can look back and say we were not the -- the best stewards of government spending.

I think what we need to go forward as a party is an agenda that gives us resonance with a broader group of people. What are we going to do, if we get the Congress back, on spending?

So I would suggest to my colleagues in the House and the Senate that we come up with a common agenda for both bodies to say, if you give us power back, not only will we check the Obama administration; we'll try to turn the country around.

CROWLEY: You once said that -- that Ronald Reagan wouldn't recognize this party, that this -- that the Republican Party has gone too far to the right. You have said things about the Tea Party. You think that they will not last long.

Are you comfortable in the Republican Party?

GRAHAM: Yes, I'm very comfortable. And I'm comfortable with the Tea Party being a -- a strong force in American politics. What I'm not comfortable with is saying -- pointing out problems without solutions.

Now, the Tea Party -- what I said to the reporter was that the Tea Party is expressing anger that a lot of average Americans feel. We're spending way too much money. We've lost our way. It really was started as a reaction to overspending.

There are some signs in these rallies that I think disturb up a lot of Americans, but I'm not going to label the whole group by that.

What I worry about is that the public is rightfully upset about their Congress not delivering, but when we try, you know, groups on the left and the right just yell and scream.

So what I want to do is make sure that we can find a way to move forward. The current status quo is unacceptable. Be mad; get involved; insist that the Congress act better. But to me, the only way we can move the country forward is to find common ground on these big-ticket items. And I hope that people in the country will start rewarding that more instead of punishing it.

CROWLEY: The ruling on the Arizona law -- does that speed up a possible federal -- some sort of bill that deals with immigration, or does it slow it down?

GRAHAM: Let me tell you what the Arizona debate has done, is reenergized interest about fixing immigration. The people in Arizona are being overrun. The border is broken. They're dealing with illegal immigration unlike people in South Carolina.

So they decided to pass a law that would allow the help the federal government. The law in Arizona basically was an effort by the people of Arizona to say, we want to be your partner; we're going to use our cops to find people who are here illegally and we're going to turn them over to you, federal government.

Well, the federal government said, we don't want your help. And the judge said, hey, the federal government, you can say no if you'd like. But it's an act of frustration. They were trying to create a partnership the federal government didn't want.

What I want to do is try to find a way forward here in Congress. Because the Arizona law has hit a legal wall now. It's going to be very difficult, I think, to sustain this law on appeal now that the judge has ruled the way she's done.

So we're three years out from the last attempt to solve immigration. Everything has gotten worse. Nothing has gotten better. So I hope next year we can find a way to start with border security, sit down as Republicans and Democrats and acknowledge the obvious.

We need a temporary worker program because people come here to get jobs. The American people are looking for a solution that makes sense. Let's secure the border.

I'm willing, Candy, to have every American take their Social Security card and turn it into a biometric document; put your ID on there, a fingerprint, so when you go get a job or I go get a job, we can present a Social Security card to our employer and they can verify we are who we say we are.

If we all agree to do that as a people, you wouldn't have to look at somebody based on their accent or their background. You would have a document that's trustworthy and verifiable. I can get you a fake Social Security by midnight.

I am willing to do the hard things. I'm willing to push my party, but at the end of the day, the Democratic Party has to be willing to push their base.

And to the American people, immigration is broken and will never be fixed until we change our laws. Our laws are broken. If you want to fix immigration, allow Republicans and Democrats to get in a room and do some good old-fashioned horse trading to -- to get this thing fixed. If we keep yelling at each other; if we keep just saying no to each other's idea, we're going to have one thing in common: we're going nowhere together.

CROWLEY: Senator Lindsay Graham, thank you so much for joining us.

GRAHAM: Thank you.

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