Andrea Mitchell talked to Joe Lieberman about his buddy Lindsey Graham threatening to take his ball and go home on climate change negotiations because
April 27, 2010

Andrea Mitchell talked to Joe Lieberman about his buddy Lindsey Graham threatening to take his ball and go home on climate change negotiations because Harry Reid also wants to take up immigration reform.

From The Hill -- Climate advocates fight to give legislation another day:

The bill’s already shaky prospects dimmed over the weekend when Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) threatened to abandon talks with Lieberman and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) on a compromise bill after signals emerged that Democrats might move first on immigration.

Lieberman sought to quell the damage Monday. He said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told him Sunday that he would bring to the floor first whichever measure is ready first. Lieberman said the climate bill he has been working on is ready, while immigration is not.

But while Lieberman said that Reid was leaning toward moving the energy measure first, Graham told reporters Monday evening that this would not mollify him — he said that bringing up immigration at all was unacceptable.

Asked about Reid’s reported indication to Lieberman that energy would move first, Graham replied: “I think I have made it pretty clear that if you bring up immigration you are breaking faith with me.”

Asked if this was the case even if it came to the floor after climate and energy legislation, he replied, “Absolutely.”

As Digby pointed out, Frank Sharry had a much better evaluation of what's really going on here.

Lindsey Graham and the Real “Cynical Political Ploy” on Immigration:

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has been courageous in working with Democrats on both comprehensive immigration reform and climate change legislation. He has seemed deeply committed to both. So why exactly is he threatening to derail a climate bill because he’s angry that Democrats are promising to move forward on immigration reform?

...Instead of embracing these developments, Senator Graham has pitched a fit and accused Democrats of playing politics on immigration.

What’s going on here?

Here’s my theory: Senator Graham wanted to do immigration reform, but it became clear this spring that his friend, Senator John McCain, was in a fight for his political life. In a state where the Republican Party has become consumed by nativism, McCain is in a close primary battle against anti-immigrant fire-breather J.D. Hayworth. With the primary scheduled for late August, Graham does not want to subject his friend to a ‘tough vote’ this summer.

So he decided to blame the President, slow walk the immigration bill, and gear up on climate change. Now that the ‘perfect crime’ isn’t working out the way he wanted, Graham is threatening to take his marbles and go home – refusing to work with Democrats on either issue. Read on...

More from Digby on how the media's handling the story:

The spin has completely taken hold that poor little Huckleberry Graham got stabbed in the back because mean old Harry Reid decided to switch the immigration and climate change bills to save his own skin and it's just so terribly terribly partisan. Poor Huck had been way out there on a limb working so darned hard to pass climate change and now he's stuck with this icky immigration bill that he ordered the president to start working on just a month ago.

I'm not sure why anyone ever thought Lindsey Graham or any of the Republicans were ever going to negotiate in good faith on anything and as Digby also noted, that it's believable that Graham was ever going to get some of his fellow Republicans to go along on the climate change bill.

Lieberman tried to make some lame excuse that this somehow hurts Graham's credibility among Republicans and makes it less likely that he'll be able to persuade some of his fellows to come over and vote for either the immigration or the climate change bill. Right. That was going to happen.

Look, Graham is holding the football and Reid decided that instead of letting him pull it out at the last minute as usual, he'd grab it and run with it. It may very well be that the White House isn't happy with that because they seem to be wedded to the ludicrous idea that Lindsay Graham is their bff. But that doesn't mean that Graham is playing in good faith.

Sounds about right to me. I also do not think that this is just a ploy by Harry Reid to get reelected in Nevada. I think Arizona pushing this horrid "show me your papers" law through forced the Democrats hands on immigration. The other interesting thing is that Lindsey Graham just put himself in a box here.

He's crying about the climate change bill not being taken up first and using that as an excuse to bail on both issues. If as The Hill noted "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told [Lieberman] Sunday that he would bring to the floor first whichever measure is ready first. Lieberman said the climate bill he has been working on is ready, while immigration is not", where does that leave Graham if Reid does take up the climate change bill first?

And then there's this from Frank Sharry as well on Graham's hypocrisy on the immigration issue:

Senator Graham has stood up to many in his party and his party’s leadership on comprehensive immigration reform. He has been working diligently with Senator Charles Schumer on a comprehensive proposal for nearly a year. In mid-March, the two senators published a framework for reform that was embraced by the President and constituencies across the political spectrum.

Senator Graham has repeatedly – and very publicly – challenged President Obama and the Democrats to act. He privately asked the President to help secure the support of other Republican senators. The idea was to prepare the country and the Senate for a legislative debate.

So now he's outraged over something he was pushing the President to do sooner and not later just last month? But the media is pushing the narrative that Graham somehow was stabbed in the back by the Democrats. Give me a break. He's Lucy with the football and he's never been negotiating in good faith on any of this. They're all scared to death of their base and their reaction to anything that remotely resembles something that looks like bipartisanship, all the while trying to run the narrative to the media that they're really for bipartisanship but those Democrats won't cooperate with them. My question is how long does the media continue to allow them to keep peddling it? So far they're done a pretty bad job of doing anything other than taking dictation from the GOP, this just being one more example.

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