Here is the video from NBC:
Sen. Graham made it clear that he is a conservative and opposed to health care reform, but he sees no place for the personal attacks being carried out by the Tea Party and the right. Graham said, “Well, in my view, I think attacking this bill in terms of expanding government beyond anybody’s imagination, where 80 percent of the country at the end of the day will be covered by a healthcare bill that is not paid for, that can never be paid for, is a legitimate debate. But when you use the N word and when you question somebody’s patriotism, you’re off base.”
He took it one step further and defended the president’s character, “President Obama is a fine man. He’s a good father. He’s a good role model. He’s an American liberal. The reason I don’t say he’s a socialist, because most people associate that with being un-American. He is an American just as much as anybody else. The idea that he’s very liberal I think is pretty clear to the American people. He ran as a centrist, he’s governing from the left ditch, that’s his big problem. And we don’t need to call each other names.”
I think Sen. Graham’s position is fair. It is fine for someone to disagree with a policy, without have to resort to racial slurs, and the questioning of patriotism. We can debate endless what I personally feel is Graham’s inaccurate belief that Obama is a liberal, but Graham is basing his criticism on policy, not smearing the president’s character. Sen. Graham has his problems with the right wing and the Tea Party because he supports the climate change bill, and he is working with fellow Meet The Press guest Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on a bi-partisan immigration reform bill. Graham has been recently critical of Obama, because he doesn’t think that the president has shown a deep enough commitment to immigration reform, but his willingness to work together on these two issues has earned him the wrath of Glenn Beck and the Tea Party.
The easy thing politically for him to do would be to agree with the right wing that Obama is a socialist, and a totalitarian fascist, as most of his fellow Republicans already have. He didn’t have to go to the degree that he did to defend Obama as a person. Many people may remember Graham as being on John McCain’s right hand men during the 2008 campaign, but unlike McCain who has completely sold his soul to keep his seat, Graham is at least willing to separate the person from the politics, which is a sorely missed attitude in our country today.