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Cole writes: "Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) made it abundantly clear in the hearing on Thursday that he cares more about Republican Party control of the Supreme Court than about rape victims."

Senate Judiciary Committee member Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) shouts while questioning Judge Brett Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, September 27, 2018, in Washington, D.C. (photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Senate Judiciary Committee member Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) shouts while questioning Judge Brett Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, September 27, 2018, in Washington, D.C. (photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Lindsey Graham Disregards Violence Toward Women, and His State Is a Women's Murder Capital

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment

29 September 18


enator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) made it abundantly clear in the hearing on Thursday that he cares more about Republican Party control of the Supreme Court than about rape victims. He implied that the charges of sexual assault that have surfaced against Brett Kavanaugh are a Democratic Party plot to deny Trump a Supreme Court justice.

He angrily threatened to smear the next Democratic nominee in turn.

Graham’s charge of conspiracy makes no sense, since the Democrats did not make Dr. Blasey Ford come forward, nor did they make the other three women come forward (one, in Montgomery county, has for the time being withdrawn her complaint with the police; perhaps she feared being treated by Graham and his pack hounds the way Dr. Blasey Ford was.)

The Republican evangelicals are always attacking Muslim fundamentalism for not giving equal rights to women. Actually modern Muslim states like Tunisia have women’s equality in the constitution. But it is true that some Muslim fundamentalists argue that a woman’s testimony in court should be worth half that of a man, which makes convicting a man of rape almost impossible. Ironically, the attitude of the Republican men on the Judiciary Committee is the same as would be that of a Muslim fundamentalist. They clearly believe that the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a high-powered professor of psychiatry at Palo Atlo and Stanford Universities, counts for less than that of a preppie white elite male.

Graham’s tone deafness to rape victims is nothing new. He has consistently voted against the Violence against Women Act. Indeed, the Republican Congress is going to let the act expire this weekend, ironically the same weekend they will shoehorn Kavanaugh onto the Supreme Court. Nobody on cable news will tell you that or make the connection.

In Graham’s worldview, the Democrats got their nominees, whom he voted for, and they are being beastly to take this one away from the Republicans. But he neglects to mention what was done to Merrick Garland by the GOP. And he unfairly blames the Democratic Party for Kavanaugh’s behavior as a besotted youth (one woman would have been an accusation; 4 are a certainty).

Sen. Graham called the hearing, which merely allowed Kavanaugh’s alleged victim to state her experience, the worst thing he had ever seen in his career in politics.

Graham supported the invasion and occupation of Iraq, which left hundreds of thousands dead, destabilized the Middle East, created 4 million refugees, and led to the rise of the hyper-fundamentalist ISIL/ Daesh in a formerly secular and socialist country. I’d gently suggest that that was the worst thing we’ve seen in his political career, and that whether Kavanaugh is called to account for instances in his youth where he, allegedly, tried violently to insert his penis in an unwilling girl pales in comparison. Or perhaps Graham thinks the honor of a white gentleman outweighs the displacement of 4 million brown Iraqis.

Graham’s hierarchy of values may explain why he as senator has not done more about the severe problem his own state of South Carolina has with violence toward women. It really is an outlier nationally in this regard.

The state, among all fifty, with the very highest rate of women killed by men in 2014 was South Carolina ((pop. 5 million).

In the past decade, South Carolina has ranked in the top five states for for women murdered by men.

The proportion of women killed by men per population in South Carolina is TWICE the national average in the US.

An astonishing 92% of female murder victims knew their murderer, and 62% had been in an intimate relationship with the killer.

Some 36,000 domestic and intimate partner assaults are reported every year in South Carolina.

South Carolina’s rate of sexual assault has been higher than the national average since 1982 and increased by 12% a year in some years of this decade.

More than half of all victims of sexual assault in South Carolina are not seen by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner.

Few prosecutions of sexual assault in South Carolina result in a conviction on that charge; large numbers of cases are never brought, large numbers of the cases brought are dismissed, and most convictions are the result of plea deals in which defendants cop to lesser, non-sexual charges (36% of those charged are only convicted in this way statewide).

Some South Carolinian newspapers have attributed the unusual rates of violence against women in the state to “southern culture” (by which they seem to mean a kind of patriarchy in which the male head of family feels he ‘owns’ the other family members and that outsiders have no business with his private affairs). The leniency of court sentencing, such that violent men who attack women are allowed back out on the street after short terms in jail, is also blamed.

Another indication of low status for women is the rate of death in childbirth. South Carolina has the 9th worst record among the 50 states on this measure. In California, where people in government actually care about the lives and welfare of women, maternal mortality has been cut in half.

In general, South Carolina is a dangerous state, with 501 violent crimes per 100,000 population annually, 35% higher than the rest of the US.

Perhaps what with being a senator and lawmaker and elite and all, Sen. Graham could do something about the high rates of violence against women in his state.

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+52 # treerapper 2018-09-29 09:50
Graham is a pig and a hawk. He has thwarted the inclusion of documents from being included in the original vetting; he has excused Kavanaugh's repeated lying to the Judiciary Committee, excluded the letter from the ABA calling for a thorough investigation and refused to allow other accusations to come forward during the hearing. It is quite clear that Graham is making every attempt to manipulate access to facts!!! Cut the spew and own up to Kavanaugh's culpability.
+2 # librarian1984 2018-10-01 11:59
Graham was one of Bill Clinton's prosecutors at the time Kavanaugh was on Starr's team. It's been said the two have been friends since then.
+50 # MitchelCohen 2018-09-29 10:09
There's even more to it than the odious Lindsey Graham's comment. Think: When did he "explode"? The Republican-hire d prosecutor/ques tioner had just started to ask Kavanaugh about his notebook indicating his presence at that July 1 1982 "party" where he sexually assaulted Dr. Blasey Ford. Suddenly, we heard from that questioner no more, and the Republicans took over. This was a typical trick, to divert attention away from what she'd been asking Kavanaugh. And it worked. The Young Turks on Youtube have exposed this very well!
+14 # Blackjack 2018-09-29 10:37
An excellent article. Sen. Graham has always been tone deaf to issues like domestic violence and women's health. He did try to play the "maverick" card when he and McCain were buds, occasionally voting for an issue that was not totally partisan, but since McCain's death he has gone off the rails. I suspect he is looking for another strong presence in his political life now that McCain is gone and it appears that it is Trump. He has overwhelmingly aligned with Trump now and if the Kavanaugh hearing is any indication, is even trying to emulate his mannerisms. He is an angry white man, adrift in his own sea of chaos, who has decided that he wants to be Trump's new attorney general and is using every technique he can to gain Trump's favor. If you're Graham this makes some sense, because he has managed to anger and disgust both his own state party members and those few Independents and Dems who would vote for him because they knew there were others worse waiting in the wings. As a result, he is likely to be primaried in 2020 when he's up for reelection and Dems are already looking for a credible opponent, though their current thinking about Jaime Harrison is a loss waiting to happen. Still, he would be a big improvement over Graham.
+10 # BetaTheta 2018-09-29 13:08
The obvious tactic, since they are afraid to attack a credible witness like Ford, is to deflect blame to the Democrats. It is a cynical, purely political power play.
+3 # elkingo 2018-09-29 13:44
Agreed all counts. Graham/Kavanaug h et al are pigs, and Dr. Ford is a victim. But Young Turks take notice. You are wrong on one point, that of language. "I believe the women!" I DO say that. In fact I said it before I'd heard it elsewhere. I don't care how it can be "framed" or the "optics"or any of that (here well intentioned) Orwellian bullshit. I mean I believe the women IN THESE CASES! NOT that I believe all women in all cases about everything. Are there women who falsely allege sexual abuse for whatever reasons? You bet. About 4% I'm told. So when I say "I believe the women", I mean I PREPONDERANTLY believe the women in these cases, because it goes on wholesale, and the women coming forward (or with private disclosures from myriad women friends) make these assertions at profound personal and emotional risk, and they are not lying, I BELIEVE THE WOMEN! Get with it Turks!
+23 # opinionaire 2018-09-29 16:36
As a constituent, I wrote an email to Mr. Graham yesterday, because I needed to let him know how contemptible I found his behavior in the hearing.
+6 # randrjwr 2018-09-29 21:01
Quoting opinionaire:
As a constituent, I wrote an email to Mr. Graham yesterday, because I needed to let him know how contemptible I found his behavior in the hearing.

Good for you! I hope many, many other South Carolinians have done or will do the same. The impunity with which these so-called elected representatives behave is disgraceful and the electorate should punish them for it. Vote him out!
+3 # treerapper 2018-09-30 03:33
Thank you, opinionaire, from all of us who are not constituents but must nonetheless suffer his contemptibility . Clearly a woman hater at the very least.
+8 # MikeAF48 2018-09-29 18:31
OH! Lindsey, Lindsey, Lindsey say it isn't so another conniption fit. Where the hell do you think you are? your not sitting at mommy's table sayen mommy where is my mapo grow up will ya. And for that matter I have never seen so many Republicans with nooooooooooooo balls I mean really.
+6 # Sweetgum 2018-09-29 19:45
This probably will appear unrelated, but it isnt. Yesterday I made related attempts to contact my senator, Rob Portman, Ohio. He would not answer any phone, at any office. Not even a recording. He just refused to be available to any constituent. He is in the front row, shoving Kavanaugh thru. These evil morons here in Ohio who keep voting for this sneaky Scumbag are the real problem, though, because how could he be in a position to do this if voters didn't put him there?
-16 # heraldmage 2018-09-29 21:36
I guess you people heard a different hearing than I did. Of course it may be because I'm an independent & have the luxury to listen, hear & read without prejudge. Senator Graham's comment wasn't about Dr. Ford's testimony. He was complaining that the Dr. Ford's accusation were known to the Dems since July 31 & the info withheld. That if the committee had been informed the FBI & committee investigation would have been completed confidentially, rather than ruining Kavanaugh's life & distressing Dr. Ford.
In the hearing I watched, Dr. Ford presented no evidence just a well rehearsed accusation. She remember going to the country club (CC) but nothing else until the party at a house near the CC. There were 5 people + her (4 she knew) they all drank beer. She went upstairs, was pushed from behind into a bedroom landing on the bed face up with Kavanaugh on top of her. Kavanaugh rolled off her & she ran fully clothed into a bathroom. She went downstairs, left the house & went home. However she doesn't remember how she got to the party or home a 25 min drive.
Based on the lack of evidence there is no reason to destroy the life & career of what from all accounts is a dedicated public servant, because you hate Trump.
How would you like it if today someone accused you of sexual assault them 35 yrs ago? In todays world you would lose your job & everything you hold dear with no way to prove your innocents.
What happened to innocent until proven guilty?
+7 # randrjwr 2018-09-30 12:49
"How would you like it if today someone accused you of sexual assault them 35 yrs ago?", you ask.

Well, that would depend on whether or not I had actually done it (or anything like it).
+2 # librarian1984 2018-09-30 18:00
You conveniently neglected the drunkenness, the groping, the laughing, the trying to take her clothes off, the suffocating, the music turned up and the door locked, and his lying about being a (mean) sloppy drunk, something many witnesses are coming forward to refute.

I've dealt with alcoholics my whole life and that's how I would characterize Kavanaugh. He seems to have done a fair bit of brain damage with his longtime excessive drinking, and he is miles away from having a proper judicial temperament. I wouldn't let hom handle Small Claims Court.

We don't need an alcoholic and liar on the Court, even if you have no problem with him being a possible rapist.

It sounds to me like Mark Judge helped Ford escape. Kavanaugh did not let her go.

The fact you mischaracterize d the testimony so badly says something about you, making it difficult to value your opinion here.

Would you leave your granddaughter in the room with Kavanaugh and a case of beer? Probably.

There are several important leads for the FBI -- Mark Judge, who's said he'll cooperate (uh-oh), the location of the house, the other attendees (Leland, unlike what Kavanugh said, says she believes Ford), character witnesses -- and the other two accusers.
+7 # DongiC 2018-09-29 22:55
Graham's behavior was a national disgrace. The worst thing he has seen in his political career was this Democratic conspiracy against an innocent victim? I mean come on. How about a ridiculous President nominating to the Supreme Court a person accused of being a sexual predator by a Professor of Psychology at a most prestigious university. Graham is a pure phoney. He puts his party's lamentable choice for a seat on SCOTUS over his constitutonal obligation to provide advice and consent regarding that choice. Point that finger at yourself Senator Graham and realize that you are contributing to the downfall of the Republic by your contemptible and partisan behavior.
-4 # heraldmage 2018-09-30 21:39
You might consider that a Professor of Psychology would know how to tug at the heart strings to get your sympathy.That's her job. It's not like this was her 1st public presentation. To get & keep her job she has to do research & present & publish that research at scientific meetings of her peers. Publish or perish.
She was well prepared & knew she could say anything as long as she didn't give any details exact date, times or places.
When you were 17 did you hang around with 15 yr old's, you weren't dating? Did you go to parties outside your social group alone?
What evidence has been presented that proves Judge Kavanaugh is guilty? Or is it that you hate Trumps so much that he you never would support anyone he appointed? You would destroy a persons life & career because of political differences?
-1 # DongiC 2018-10-02 04:17
The evidence about Kavanaugh's suitability for a position on the Supreme Court is rolling in as well as his major drinking problem. I doubt, though, that you can overcome your blind adherence to the basic racism of a fascist president. To use Dr. Ford's obvious scholarship as a weapon against her reveals a pretty sick mind. I am not destroying Kavanaugh's career; he has done a very effective job on that himself.
+5 # Blackjack 2018-09-30 12:30
opinionaire, I wrote a letter to the editor of the State newspaper yesterday about Frump's antics. Let's see if it gets published. Before that, I called his office twice and sent numerous emails. That's what we should all do when our congress critters make asses of themselves and forget that their duty is to ALL their constituents; not merely to those who agree with them. Good for you for sending that email.
+3 # laborequalswealth 2018-10-01 12:41
"Or perhaps Graham thinks the honor of a white gentleman outweighs the displacement of 4 million brown Iraqis."

Well, Graham's ancestors - the ones engaged in the war now celebrated as "Southern tradition" - had no problem with killing hundreds of thousands of Americans in order to continue to steal the lives and labor of 4 million Americans of African descent, so why should 4 million Iraqi's count, eh?

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