By Michael O'Brien
December 21, 2010
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) lashed out at fellow Republicans Tuesday for a "capitulation ... of dramatic proportions" to Democrats and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in the lame-duck Congress.
Graham said Republicans have no one to blame but themselves for allowing ratification of the New START Treaty and other legislation in the period before new lawmakers are sworn in in January.
"When it's all going to be said and done, Harry Reid has eaten our lunch," Graham said on Fox News radio. "This has been a capitulation in two weeks of dramatic proportions of policies that wouldn't have passed in the new Congress."
Republican senators have broken with the party's leaders on several key votes in order to advance some of President Obama's top policies during the lame-duck. GOP members defected to pass a repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell" and have done likewise to secure likely ratification for the START Treaty. Some Republicans might allow a health bill for 9/11 first responders to move forward, while three Republicans voted to end debate on the DREAM Act, an ultimately unsuccessful immigration bill.
The hard-charging lame-duck Congress has led Democrats on Capitol Hill and in the White House to claim a successful post-election legislative session. That came after nearly two years of griping from Democratic leaders about Republican "obstructionism" on a variety of bills, including many of the unfinished items being addressed now.
"I can understand the Democrats being afraid of the new Republicans; I can't understand Republicans being afraid of the new Republicans," Graham lamented on WTMA radio. "They're not opportunities to take everything you couldn't do for two years and jam it. It's literally what they're doing, across the board. And after a while, I stop blaming them, and I blame us."
Graham blamed outgoing Republican senators in particular.
"They have used the power of the Senate against the minority, and we have, quite frankly, a handful of us have been letting them do it. And a lot of the people who are doing this got beat. And that's what makes me so upset," he said. "It makes me disappointed that, with a new group of Republicans coming in, we could get a better deal on almost everything."