Lindsey Graham, in an appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s show, advocated a return to the requirement that all presidential nominations receive 60 votes in order to be confirmed. Graham told Hugh:
If you keep it at 51, all they [Democrats] have to do is pick up three, four Republicans and I’m worried that you’re no stronger than your weakest link. Having to get to 60 is a much more collaborative process.
The point is well-taken. It’s doubtful that, with a 54-member caucus, Republicans can avoid the few defections that will enable the confirmation of President Obama’s left-wing nominees.
Graham should know. If his track record is any guide, he is one of the Republicans most likely to break ranks with Republicans and vote to confirm left-wing nominees.
For example, Graham voted to confirm both Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. He did so with his usual preening. Here is the Atlantic’s description of Graham “dramatically cast[ing] his vote for Kagan”:
No one spent more time trying to beat President Obama than I did, except Sen. McCain.
I missed my own election — I voted absentee. But I understood we lost. President Obama won. I’ve got a lot of opportunity to disagree, but the Constitution, in my view, puts an obligation on me not to replace my judgment for his, not to think of the hundred reasons I would pick someone different. … I view my duty as to protect the Judiciary and to ensure that hard-fought elections have meaning in our system.
This was also Graham’s mantra when he voted to confirm Sotomayor, the “wise Latina.” Graham takes pride in voting for left-wing nominees, proclaiming it his “duty” as the cameras roll.
It’s possible, given Graham’s 2016 presidential aspirations, that he will be more inclined to vote against Obama’s nominees during the coming two years. Still, it’s rich to hear “the Arlen Specter of the South” express concern about “weak links” in the Republican caucus.
With the possible exception of Lisa Murkowski, a principled, non-grandstanding believer granting deference to presidential nominees, Lindsey Graham has been the weakest link ever since Arlen Specter left the caucus.