Every week, I feature on “The Rich Logis Show” a “Tessio Tuesdays” video and segment. Inspired by the character Sal Tessio, from “The Godfather,” who betrays the Corleone family, a Tessio Republican is one who betrays a different kind of “family:: voters who elected them so we don’t have to live under Democratic majority.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, lucky for him, has avoided the not-so-esteemed recognition of being named a Tessio Republican. I created the concept after the 2016 election; before the election, Graham had referred to Trump as “unfit for office,” a “race-baiting, xenophobic bigot” and “the most flawed nominee in the history of the Republican Party,” among some other highly unflattering opprobrium.
But now? Well, let me transparent: I have a newfound bromance with the senator whom the late Arizona Sen. John McCain affectionately referred to as a “little jerk.”
I admittedly did a double-take in asking myself this, but: Is Sen. Graham President Trump’s best GOP ally?
Graham saying the winning things
Politics is sales, and in sales, you’re only as good as your last sale. It’s not just that Graham is saying the right things; he’s saying what the winning, majority party should be saying.
Let’s look at what he had to say during the United States Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh. He feigned shock that Democrats, over the years, chose justice nominees who shared the nominating president’s politics – specifically, judicial activists, who interpret our Constitution not as originalists or textualists, such as the late, venerable Justice Antonin Scalia, but based on what they want the Constitution to mean.
Sure, Trump and Graham have sparred, but this was a nuke on the Democrats’ hypocrisy:
“You (Democrats) had a chance, and you lost. If you want to pick judges, from your way of thinking, then you better win an election. … I am telling President Trump – you do some things that drive me crazy, and you do some great things … you have never done anything better, in my view, than to pick Gorsuch and Kavanaugh.”
What I particularly loved about Graham’s opening statement was his invocation of the most correct statement ever uttered by President Obama, who, shortly after his first inauguration, told Americans who didn’t vote for him that “elections have consequences.” Translation: I won, you lost, and I don’t need to work with you – you need to work with me.
Graham, who was quite likable, persuasive and affable during the first day of hearings, also admonished Democrats for cheering Hillary Clinton’s Roe v. Wade litmus test for justice nominees, but then impugning Kavanaugh’s integrity by hysterically claiming a Justice Kavanaugh will kill women who want abortions.
We need more Grahams, fewer (Jeff) Flakes
Though it’s perhaps debatable whether Graham is the president’s most loyal fellow Republican, I do not believe it debatable that he’s been the most important ally in this Kavanaugh circus, with all the Saul Alinsky smears against Kavanaugh.
In the wake of Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations against Kavanaugh that he physically and sexually assaulted her 36 years ago, Graham had this to say to Fox News’ Sean Hannity last week:
“They (Democrats) can’t beat him on the law, so they’re trying to destroy his life. … There’s been a pattern by Democrats … to take his words out of context … to try to accuse him of things he had nothing to do with, and the last straw here is this allegation.”
This past weekend, Graham, a United States Air Force veteran and former military attorney, laid out to FNC’s Chris Wallace that there is no legal there “there”:
“This accusation has to be looked at in terms of our legal system; it’s too old for a criminal trial … you couldn’t bring a civil suit, ’cause you can’t tell the court what time it happened, and where it happened. And if you tried to get a warrant based on this, you couldn’t … because the three people named by Dr. Ford, as having been at the party … all say they don’t know what she’s talking about.”
In addition to his unwavering support for Kavanaugh, Graham also said to Wallace that there’s a “bureaucratic coup” against the president, orchestrated by many of the same Department of Justice officials who attempted to tip the 2016 election to Clinton.
Last but not least, Graham last month aired the concerns about United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions many Republicans in Congress have likely been weary to join chorus on. Graham said Trump and Sessions don’t have a good working relationship, and that Trump has lost confidence in Sessions:
“I hope the relationship gets better. … From my point of view, the country is not being well-served with this much friction.”
Graham did his best to play both sides, and though he’d likely disagree with Trump if he relieved Sessions of his duties, I am confident that Graham would vote to confirm a new AG.
In conclusion, the Republican-controlled Senate better not whiff on Kavanaugh’s confirmation; otherwise, I fear there will be “hell to pay in November. I had originally predicted 54 ayes for Kavanaugh, but I’d be mildly surprised if Vice President Pence isn’t needed to break a 50-50 tie. Come Election Day, we need more Grahams, and fewer Tessios, such as Jeff Flake and Bob Corker.
When Kavanaugh is confirmed, we’ll owe a debt of gratitude to Graham, who has lead the charge to not only beat the Democrats at their own game but acted and voted like a member of a Republican Party with its largest legislative majority in nine decades. Elections shouldn’t only have consequences when Democrats win.