Republican Senator Lindsay Graham in a recent comment to a Concord City Republican Committee, showed how out of touch with the American people politicians can often be, and put his political foot in his mouth. He did so by saying if elected president he would restrict congressional member rights, and force them to reverse the cuts to the defense and military intelligence budgets.
I worried about this from day one. I’m sick to my stomach. [New Hampshire Senator] Kelly Ayotte has been awesome. And here is the first thing I would do if I were President of the United States: I wouldn’t let Congress leave town until we fix this. I would literally use the military to keep them in if I had to. We’re not leaving town until we restore these defense cuts. We’re not leaving town until we restore the intel cuts. Killing terrorists is the only option other than capturing them, because they’re not deterred by death.
It wasn’t that statement alone that caused the controversy. He went on to explain unorthodox methods for achieving such a goal, which included deploying the military against congress. Senator Graham, seemingly unaware such an action is in direct conflict with separation of powers outlined in the constitution, further explained congress would be forcibly kept in the building by the military until budgets were restored.
His statements did not go unnoticed. Causing a virtual firestorm across the Internet, a barrage of angry texts from American voters, and negative early polling reviews, his spokesperson contacted Bloomberg to attempt to reduce negative opinions. His spokesperson said Graham’s statements weren’t meant to be taken literally. That hasn’t, however, stopped the overwhelmingly negative review of Graham and his comments from print and news media, and the American public.
Many wonder how Senator Graham could have made the statements, considering such an action would not only be representative of a military coup, but would also reduce congress into pundits of the executive branch, without any real power of influence of their own. One can also only imagine the reaction from an angry American public if Graham’s statements were taken literally, which includes an executive branch using the military to achieve personal political goals.
Likely, such government actions would spawn reactions at the white house doors, and overwhelming calls from American voters for impeachment. Such an executive action could also be seen as a hostile takeover, and indicative of a dictatorship. Rather Graham’s comments were literal or not, Graham’s team might consider statements that reflect a real democracy the next time they speak.