GOPers Say They Won’t Take Graham’s GTMO-for-KSM Deal

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Monday, March 08, 2010 at 8:46 am

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is trying to convince the White House that the only way to win congressional Republican support for closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay — or at least provide political cover to nervous Democrats — is to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in a military commission. “I can’t do it by myself,” he told ‘Face The Nation’ yesterday. “But I think if we could get Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-conspirators of 9/11 back in the military commission, it would go down well with the public.”

The White House can surely cave on its plan to try KSM in civilian court, but it’s doubtful Graham can actually deliver on his end of the deal. Greg Sargent asked around GOP circles and found that Graham has practically no levers of GOP authority supporting the deal, whether inside government or outside:

Don Stewart, a spokesperson for Mitch McConnell, tells me the GOP leadership position will remain the same: Guantanamo, not a U.S.-based facility, is the right place to hold the detainees.

Michael Steel, a spokesperson for John Boehner, suggests the same: “Our focus is keeping dangerous terrorists from being brought to this country, where they will have the same rights as American citizens.”

And Liz Cheney’s group, Keep America Safe, says: No Deal. “We are concerned by reports that this will be part of a deal to close Guantanamo Bay and bring terrorists onto US soil,” a statement sent over by the group says. “We continue to call on the President to reverse his decision to close the facility.”

This might be the most unsurprising aspect of the whole prospective deal. Graham hasn’t been able to bring over any significant GOP support for a climate bill. Rather than bring Republicans along or even provide the administration cover, Graham himself has earned rebuke from his party. That might be admirable from a progressive perspective on principle. But Graham is asking the administration to compromise its principles in exchange for delivering votes that he shows no sign of being able to deliver. Why would any administration take this deal?

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Comments

4 Comments

Matthew Yglesias » GOP Says No to KSM/Gitmo Deal
Pingback posted March 8, 2010 @ 11:32 am

[...] today Spencer Ackerman’s rounded up the quotes to show that nobody in the Republican Party has any interest in following Graham down that road. [...]


julian530
Comment posted March 8, 2010 @ 1:53 pm

What better justice than to have the citizens of New York come face to face with this thug. I wouldn't give him the the honorable status of being a combatant. When did americans become so fearful of common thuggery?


strangely_enough
Comment posted March 8, 2010 @ 4:51 pm

Why would any administration take this deal?

Funny how that refrain seems to be defining the Obama administration.


weldonberger
Comment posted March 8, 2010 @ 6:29 pm

Why would any administration take this deal?

Is that a trick question? For the same reason that Charlie Brown tried to kick that football for 50 years.


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