South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has shifted his position on the Confederate flag.Â
In a surprisingÂ turn of events, Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham says his home state should remove the Confederate flag from the top of a flagpole in front of the State House. That flag, which technically is not the Confederate flag but one co-opted in opposition to the civil rights advances of the 1960’s, has been forever linked to the 21-year old white supremacist who shot and killed nine Black parishioners at a Charleston church last week.
Last week, as did every Republican 2016 presidential candidate, Lindsey Graham supported the flag flying over the State House, although he said he was open to discussion.
“At the end of the day, itâ€™s time for people in South Carolina to â€” to revisit that decision would be fine with me. But this is part of who we are. The flag represents to some people a Civil War, and that was the symbol of one side, to others itâ€™s a racist symbol. And itâ€™s been used by people, itâ€™s been used in a racist way,” Graham told CNN.
But he also claimed the flag had nothing to do with institutionalizedÂ racism, claiming “the problems we have in South Carolina and throughout the world are not because of a movie or symbols but because of what’s in people’s hearts.”
But now Sen. Graham is taking a different position, likely in the face of news NCRM reported earlier today, that State lawmakers will announce today they support removing the flag from the front of the State House and into a memorial setting. Gov. Nikki Haley today will also announce support for its removal.
Dana Bash of CNN was the first to report the news of Sen. Graham’s change of heart:
Scoop: @LindseyGrahamSC will call today for the confederate flag to be taken down from his state grounds.
â€” Dana Bash (@DanaBashCNN) June 22, 2015
Bash reports Graham “will call for the flag to come down and be put in a museum.”
Graham has been quietly urging his fellow elected representatives inside South Carolina over the past few days to make this move. As the sole white senator, he felt that it was in some ways easier – and more symbolic – for him to take the lead than his junior senator Tim scott , who is African American , or Governor Nikki Haley , who is of Indian descent, according to a source familiar with Graham’s thinking.
On Twitter, a consensus certainly is building:
150 years after the civil war we’re nearing consensus that the state that started it should no longer honor the confederacy at its capital
â€” Adam Serwer (@AdamSerwer) June 22, 2015
But others note that the correct position now, while the right thing to do, is a bit late in the game:
No cookies for @nikkihaley or any other politician now calling for the Confederate flag’s removal. It shouldn’t have taken nine deaths.
â€” Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) June 22, 2015
Image: Screenshot via CNN/YouTube
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FDR, JFK, and LBJ: White House (Finally) Takes (Cautious) Victory Lap on Biden’s (Huge) Successes
The White House is coming off a year of approval rating declines, thanks in large part to Republican obstruction and attacks, but President Joe Biden, Democrats, and the nation now have a lot to celebrate.
“We now have a presidency where the president has delivered the largest economic recovery plan since Roosevelt, the largest infrastructure plan since Eisenhower, the most judges confirmed since Kennedy, the second largest health care bill since Johnson and the largest climate change bill in history,” White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, not known for bragging, told Politico’s Ryan Lizza. “The first time we’ve done gun control since President Clinton was here, the first time ever an African American woman has been put on the U.S. Supreme Court.”
“I think it’s a record to take to the American people,” Klain added.
Lizza and Eugene Daniels of Politico’s Playbook note, “At the start of the summer, this conversation would have been vastly different. Now, gas prices have dropped, and the last CPI report hints that inflation may finally be trending down after hitting a peak. Election forecasters are writing pieces at least entertaining the idea that Democrats might not suffer the long-predicted midterm wipeout. And there’s that burst of legislative victories that were squeezed out of Congress in July and August that had Biden, a lover of alliteration, calling this period ‘a season of substance.’”
The Guardian’s Martin Pengelly observes, “Klain’s references to historical figures chimes with Biden’s own interests. The president has regularly consulted historians, among them Doris Kearns Goodwin, Michael Beschloss and Eddie Glaude Jr, while Jon Meacham, a biographer of Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and George HW Bush, has been a close adviser in shaping Biden’s effort to restore ‘the soul of the nation’ after the presidency of Donald Trump.”
Pengelly adds: “Democrats control Congress by narrow margins. Opposition parties commonly do well in the first elections of a presidential term, and Republicans remain favoured to take control of one or both chambers. But legislative successes, most recently the passage of a major domestic and climate crisis spending plan, the Inflation Reduction Act, have given Democrats hope.”
With just 80 days to Election Day – less, if you include early voting – FiveThirtyEight put the likelihood of Democrats retaining their Senate majority at 63 in 100 chances, but give Republicans 78 in 100 chances of taking over the House.
You can hear Chief of Staff Ron Klain on Politico’s podcast here.
Trump Is Privately Admitting Dr. Oz Will ‘F–king Lose’: Report
Dr. Oz is going to “fucking lose” his race for a U.S. Senate seat “unless something drastically changes, Trump has said privately of his chosen man in the Keystone State, according to two sources who’ve discussed the midterm election with the ex-president,” Rolling Stone reports.
The magazine adds, “the former president is coming to the same conclusion that numerous party consultants and conservative bigwigs arrived at earlier this summer: Oz is very likely doomed.”
Trump seems to be taking this projected loss personally, given the Pennsylvania GOP nominee, like himself, has wide name-recognition thanks to his TV show.
“In recent weeks, some Trump allies have repeatedly flagged polling for the former president showing Dr. Oz down, at times by wide or double-digit margins, to his Democratic opponent. Trump has sometimes responded by asking advisers how it’s possible that someone who was that popular on TV for so long is doing so poorly in the polls. When Trump has inquired if the polling has been ‘phony’ or skewed, multiple people close to him have assured him that — as one of the sources describes to Rolling Stone — ‘this is not a matter of the polls being ‘rigged,’ there are major problems with this campaign and, more specifically, this candidate.'”
Indeed, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who suffered a stroke just days before winning the Democratic primary for that Senate seat, is beating Oz in polls by double digits. One recent GOP insider poll showed Fetterman beating Oz by 18 points. The latest Fox News poll shows Fetterman beating Oz by 11 points.
The Fetterman team is displaying massive political savvy with its mocking memes of the celebrity TV doctor, mostly around his “crudité” video from April. They’ve resurfaced it, making a mockery of the man they already claim doesn’t actually live in Pennsylvania, but is a carpetbagger from New Jersey.
Oz calling Redner’s, a local grocery store chain, “Wegner’s” in the video while complaining about the high cost of vegetables to make “crudité” has not helped the celebrity physician known for selling “diet scams” and “false and baseless medical claims,” and the Fetterman team has milked it for all it’s worth – even creating a parody account for the non-existent supermarket.
— Wegner’s Groceries (@grocerieswegner) August 15, 2022
37% of respondents in that Fox News poll added they are “extremely” concerned that Mehmet Oz (Dr. Oz) “may not be familiar enough with the state of Pennsylvania to carry out the job of senator effectively.” Just 13% of respondents said they were “extremely” concerned that John Fetterman “may not be healthy enough to carry out the job of senator effectively.”
Fulton County DA Slams Lindsey Graham’s Efforts to Avoid Testifying: Causing ‘Substantial Injury’ to Grand Jury
Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis is punching back hard at U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s efforts to avoid testifying to the Special Purpose Grand Jury (SPGJ) investigating efforts by Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Politico’s Kyle Cheney points to a new court filing in which Willis urges the judge to not indulge Graham’s efforts to delay.
A stay would “significantly harm” and “result in substantial injury to the Special Purpose Grand Jury,” Willis warns. She calls Graham’s testimony “crucial,” and notes that Graham has already delayed the grand jury’s work by six weeks by filing motions in “three separate jurisdictions.”
Granting Graham’s request “will ensure that the Senator’s involvement with the SPGJ will not be resolved for months.”
She notes on Monday U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May denied Graham’s attempt to delay his testimony, but on Wednesday Graham filed an emergency motion to get the court to grant his request.
In her conclusion she eloquently reminds Sen. Graham and the judge what the law is about.
“Senator Graham insists that he seeks to delay his appearance before the Special Purpose Grand Jury not just for his own sake, but also for the sake of the separation of powers, federalism, and ‘for the People,'” Willis writes. “The Special Purpose Grand Jury, however, is the People: a collection of citizens called together to perform their civic duty on behalf of their neighbors and families. They have sacrificed their time, effort, energy, and attention for months in order to investigate matters that affect themselves, their community, and the nation as a whole. The District Attorney asks that this Court deny Senator Graham’s motion in order that he, for a single day, can assist them in that great task without further delay. The People have requested Senator Graham’s testimony and stand ready to receive it. All that is left is for the Senator to meet them.”
Willis also explains exactly why the grand jury needs his testimony.
“As this Court recognized in its Order, Senator Graham’s testimony is sought by the SPGJ not simply because he possesses necessary and material information but also because he is expected to provide information regarding additional sources of relevant information,” Willis tells the court. “As a result, delaying the Senator’s testimony would not simply postpone his appearance; it would also delay the revelation of an entire category of relevant witnesses or information, each of whom would require additional time and resources to secure on behalf of the SPGJ.”
On Monday, Judge May wrote: “Senator Graham has direct personal knowledge of conversations with Georgia election officials which have been the subject of public dispute as to the nature of his inquiries and requests, including any implicit or overt suggestions to discard ballots or otherwise alter the election results.”
Judge May added, “the District Attorney described Senator Graham as a ‘necessary and material witness in [the Special Purpose Grand Jury] investigation’ not only because of his personal knowledge of the phone calls with Georgia election officials, but also because he possesses ‘unique knowledge’ concerning ‘the Trump Campaign and other known and unknown individuals involved in the multi-state, coordinated efforts to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.’”
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