Last week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that waterboarding “is clearly illegal under domestic and international law.” Yet when Michael Mukasey, President Bush’s nominee for Attorney General, refused to classify the technique as torture, Graham dropped his principles and said he was “heartened” by the non-response. “I think Judge Mukasey did himself some good with this letter,” said Graham, who plans to support Mukasey. “He helped his cause with me.”
Graham, who is launching his ’08 re-election bid, may have capitulated for political reasons. Last week, Graham publicly said he hoped Bush would come to South Carolina and help his campaign:
If he were to come in support of my campaign, it would be very helpful and I would be honored. I look forward to hopefully having him come to South Carolina and stand by my side.
Today, just a few days after Graham dropped his opposition to Mukasey, Bush is indeed in South Carolina to appear at a “high-roller fundraiser” for Graham. When he arrived in the state today, Graham appeared by the President’s side at the airport. Bush lavished praise on Graham, specifically mentioning the senator’s support for Mukasey:
BUSH: I — I’m proud to stand with Senator Lindsey Graham. I’ve gotten to know him well. He deserves to be reelected to the United States Senate in South — from South Carolina. He’s tough, he is smart, he bases his votes on conservative principles. [...]
I’ve had no stronger supporter in the United State Senate than Lindsey Graham for putting good judges on the bench. People of this state have got to understand that when I nominated John Roberts and Sam Alito, there was no better ally than Lindsey Graham to see to it that these two good men were confirmed.
There’s going to be another fight on the Senate floor coming next week. The Senate Judiciary Committee has agreed to vote on the nomination of Michael Mukasey to be the attorney general.
And, Senator Graham, I appreciate your strong support for Mike Mukasey.
Why not approve Bush’s nominee when a $250/plate minimum is at stake?