I'm finding Sen. Lindsey Graham's climate bill hissy fit over the weekend hard to understand. Days before the legislation was announced, the senator reportedly walked out of talks on the bill because Democrats -- including Sen. Harry Reid -- plan to prioritize immigration reform.
Graham said he thinks immigration is being rushed for political reasons:
Moving forward on immigration — in this hurried, panicked manner — is nothing more than a cynical political ploy. ... I know from my own personal experience the tremendous amounts of time, energy and effort that must be devoted to this issue to make even limited progress.
It's probably true that Reid is trying to curry favor with Hispanic voters in anticipation of the November elections, in which his own seat is up for grabs. But part of the "panic" was also brought on by the passage of SB 1070 in Arizona, which makes undocumented presence in the country a crime and requires police to question anyone that they suspect might be an illegal immigrant. All of this has increased pressure on the Obama administration to pass immigration reform. Graham should hardly be surprised that Democrats are giving the issue attention -- much less outraged. Why does this need to derail the climate-change bill? As quite a few people have pointed out, it's not impossible for Congress to work on more than a single issue at once.
Despite concerns Graham once expressed over Sonia Sotomayor's "temperament," it seems like the senator himself has a bit of an attitude problem. After the vote on health care, he said chances for passing immigration reform were dead. A few weeks later, he penned a blueprint for such legislation. Now, he storms out of climate talks because Democrats have dared consider working on two things at once? The degree to which movement in the Senate hinges on this single, mercurial senator, seemingly the only one whose agenda includes something more than stymieing Democrats, is remarkable.
-- Gabriel Arana
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