Tuesday South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham displayed his true loyalty, told the truth and further messed up the Republicans’ mid-term chances.
Graham introduced legislation that would ban abortions in America after 15 weeks with slight exceptions for rape, incest and the death of the mother (note: just a major medical harm would not be sufficient). This bill mirrors the original Mississippi legislation that was the basis for the Dobbs decision and gave the Fascist Five the opportunity to overreach and overturn both Roe and Casey.
In the wake of the Dobbs decision, and especially after the results in Kansas, 2022 Republican candidates have been busy scrubbing their websites of extreme anti-choice statements and histories. Simply they want to win in November and know that the majority of American voters want some form of choice to exist.
For decades the Republicans have been saying that abortion should be a matter of states’ rights and that the federal government should stay out of the discussion. Then they got the Fascist Five seated and the ballgame changed. As soon as the Dobbs decision was handed down the right started talk of a federal ban on abortion. Suddenly a patchwork of laws across fifty states was too confusing.
The truth is that the entire states’ rights argument was always a smokescreen. Over the decades the Democratic and Republican parties have pretty much exchanged places. In the run-up and aftermath of the Civil War the right has always claimed the war had nothing to do with slavery; it was about states’ rights. That was and still is a lie and so was the states’ right’s abortion argument.
Tuesday most Republican leaders either hid out or when forced to comment on Graham’s actions distracted from (Thom Tillis was suddenly concerned about inflation despite voting against the Inflation Reduction Act) or disavowed them (Mitch McConnell stated that most in his caucus wanted the issue resolved at the state level – not what Lindsey says). That is because they know running as opposed to choice is a losing stance in the general election.
So why did Lindsey do what he did? Looking at the larger picture it wasn’t a politically smart move. The answer lies in who he is currently loyal to and that is Donald Trump. Trump doesn’t care about the Republican party at large, he never has and he never will. Trump does care about the extremists he endorsed that made it through GOP primaries winning in November. To him unless the person elected is a sycophant they are useless or at best need to be “converted”.
I don’t see Graham’s legislation coming to the floor in the current Senate. If it did, I don’t see it passing. If somehow it made it through both chambers, I see Biden vetoing it. However, there is a tomorrow and in that tomorrow we may well have a Republican House and Senate along with a Republican sitting in the White House. In that scenario I can see this bill becoming law.
While mainly been lost in the shuffle, the most insidious part of this legation is that it is a floor, not a ceiling. By that I mean that it would not disrupt the total or near total bans on abortion in many red states but would nullify the more open laws in many blue states. The 15 week ban would be a minimum. More realistic exceptions would be eliminated.
The ultimate goal of the extreme right (and they are the core of Trump’s base at this point) is fetal personhood. As bad as Graham’s legislation is it is only a point on a path to making pregnant women chattel of the state. Ladies, that is the goal and don’t you forget it. That also goes for men who care about women. Lindsay told the truth and his Republican colleagues aren’t really happy about it! Let that serve as a warning.
To paraphrase the late Maya Angelou, when a Republican shows you who he is, believe him.
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