Phantom Senator

I will not vote for anything until General Petraeus passes on it. No senator, no congressman—no matter how much I respect you—you’re not going to be able, in my opinion, to give the advice that General Petraeus can give, and I’m going to wait till he comes back and listen to his advice and not some politician.

--Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), speaking on Meet The Press [transcript]

Attention South Carolina readers: did you know there is a new Senator representing you in Washington? He looks like Lindsey Graham, but his real name is Petraeus. That is at least the practical effect of what Lindsey Graham has decided to do by delegating his senatorial vote to the General. He said it right there on national TV: "I will not vote for anything until General Petraeus passes on it."

Now I am sure General Petraeus is a very smart and patriotic man. However, we have a tradition in this country called "civilian control" of the military. Senators are supposed to consider the facts and make up their own minds when asked to vote on issues of national defense. Their job is not to simply rubber-stamp whatever suggestions or requests the generals make to them. If it were, we could save a lot of time and money by eliminating the Senate.

Sen. Graham apparently does not want to make up his own mind. He will instead abdicate the position to which South Carolina voters elected him, allowing General Petraeus decide how he will vote. I do not know what state the general calls home. Hopefully he has the same priorities as the people of South Carolina, since your actual Senator clearly does not.

Incidentally, it was Sen. Graham who, during the recent debate over the immigration bill, said that those who opposed that highly flawed bit of legislation were "bigots." That aggravated a lot of people and it seems likely that his political career is finished. Maybe that is why he is outsourcing his vote to General Petraeus; he needs the time to look for a new job.

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