Sunday, April 25, 2010


It's really much easier to understand the modern GOP if you think about it not as a political party in a peaceful, civilized nation, but rather as an insurgent group determined to bring down the existing government by any means necessary. In other words, don't look to the bulk of U.S. history to understand the Republicans; look to the recent history of, say, Iraq and Afghanistan. One major difference, of course, is that it's possible to co-opt some members of the anti-government insurgencies in those countries. It apparently isn't possible to do the same with the Republicans.

Until recently, there was a widespread belief that Lindsey Graham was cooperating with the government and was willing to work toward a peaceful resolution of the impasse over climate legislation. Today, however, it's being reported that he's blown the entire process up:

In a move that may derail a comprehensive climate change and energy bill in the Senate, one of the measure's central architects, Senator Lindsey Graham, has issued an angry protest over what he says are Democratic plans to give priority to a debate over immigration policy.

Mr. Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said in a sharply worded letter on Saturday that he would no longer participate in negotiations on the energy bill, throwing its already cloudy prospects deeper into doubt. He had been working for months with Senators John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, on the a legislation, which they were scheduled to announce with considerable fanfare on Monday morning. That announcement has been indefinitely postponed....

This strikes me as the nonviolent equivalent of the story of Abu Mulal al-Balawi, who reportedly attended several meetings with Americans at Camp Chapman in Afghanistan, promising information on the whereabouts of top al-Qaeda officials, before returning last December -- now a trusted informant -- only to blow himself up there, killing a number of top-level CIA agents.

Graham says he had to blow up the climate legislation talks because immigration is being prioritized by Harry Reid. What the hell kind of lame excuse is that? It's transparently phony, and the only question is whether Graham intended all along to be Lucy pulling away the football or whether he got cold feet, fearing the wrath of GOP hard-liners.

I don't have the answer to that. I just know that you simply can't negotiate with these insurgents. Maybe it would be possible if there were a forceful application of sticks, which might be enough motivation to make the Republicans reach for the carrots. But that simply isn't the case.

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