Common deferential courtesies and respect for colleagues apparently dont count for much in the eyes of Republicans in Congress. Mel Watt of Charlotte is a veteran congressman who is by any measure perfectly qualified to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, a post for which President Obama nominated him in May.
But Watts nomination is idling, thanks to Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a man with a passion for the sound of his own voice and the flickering image of his face on television. If he can toss in a little bashing of the president and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, its all the better to Graham, who is up for re-election in 2014 and facing primary opposition from his partys right wing. Graham as a House member also participated in impeachment proceedings against former President Bill Clinton.
Graham says hes going to hold up every appointment in the U.S. Senate until the survivors of the attack on the American complex in Benghazi, Libya, go before Congress. Graham and other Republicans have tried to use the attack in which Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others were killed as evidence of a cover-up of some kind in the White House or a failure on the part of Hillary Clinton.
That Hillary Clinton is a possible Democratic candidate for president in 2016 and given her excellent performance as secretary of state she would be a strong candidate is part of Grahams motivation whether he says so or not.
Benghazi was called an act of terror by the president, and investigations have been thorough. An anti-Islamic video was said to have inflamed people, al-Quaida was mentioned by others and rumors have been rife every since.
But Graham and his GOP mates, driven by a burning hope to dispatch Clinton to retirement rather than watch her take the White House for Democrats, are grasping at partisan straws. In using Watts nomination as some kind of club over the White House, the senator from South Carolina engages in raw and self-serving partisanship. But at least his motives are transparent.