My favorite politician

My favorite politician is not Barack Obama. It’s not Joe Biden. It’s not Hillary Clinton and it’s not Nancy Pelosi.

My favorite politician is Lindsey Graham, Republican senator from South Carolina.

Do I agree with Graham? Mostly, no. He’s a conservative politician whose views lean strong to the right.

That said, he has guts. And, more important, integrity. Genuine integrity.

Last week, he was the only Republican to announce that he would support Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Whether you agree with his position or not, he did so knowing his supporters would hate it; that the Tea Party members would destroy him and that the Limbaugh-Beck-Hannity Union From Hell would deem him a traitor (as they predictably have).

But Graham is far from a traitor. He is, in fact, the ultimate (and increasingly rare) patriot; one who places his country above politics. We thought Jon McCain was such a man—he wasn’t. We thought Charlie Rangel was such a man—he wasn’t. Hell, I actually believed George W. Bush might be such a man—and he wasn’t. But Graham is.

His statement was eloquent and beautiful and righteous. Were I loving in South Carolina, I would vote for him time and time again. Because, in 2010, he is the most rare of breeds.

He is decent.

7 thoughts on “My favorite politician”

  1. who “we” thought Charlie Rangel was such a man?? Are you effing serious?!

    And I say this as a proud liberal Democrat who once lived in Charlie’s district (and had many an enlightening elevator ride with the Man from Harlem during a summer spent interning on The Hill).

    I generally like Charlie, but to say he was looked at as a “man who put his country above politics”…thats a tough one to swallow.

  2. Mike, that’s true but he’s a different Graham today. I’m sure his intentions are not without flaw and I’m sure he has some dirt under his fingernails (as all pols do). But basically, Graham is a brilliant guy who is willing to speak his mind. He tends to actually govern based on common sense. Amazing, no?

  3. It’s unlikely he would ever become President. He’d have a hard time winning a GOP nomination as a true maverick (one exists!) and the rumor has always persisted that he is gay. I don’t care if he is, but I’d imagine the electorate is not yet willing to take that step. However, if Graham chose to run for President, I could definitely see myself breaking ranks and voting for him.

  4. “I’m sure he has some dirt under his fingernails (as all pols do)”

    This is an important point. We tend, left and right, to hold our politicians to impossible standards. Any compromise is seen as traitorous or corrupt, but the upshot of that is we lose the ability to distinguish between compromise that is part of the normal course of politics, and double-dealing that reveals true corruption.

    I, like Jeff, have serious issues with Graham’s right-wing views, but maybe we should give him credit. By acknowledging that even those we disagree with can be honorable men and women, perhaps we can start to engage in political discourse that is not an endless game of finger-pointing.

  5. Graham sprinted to the nearest microphone to warn of retribution after the passage of health care reform and withdrew his support from immigration reform as punishment.

    That said in this version of the GOP he is a moderate. And not always wrong, well even conservatives aren’t always wrong. But he’s not a bad guy, just as partisan as the next.

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