(The Advocate/T-P, April 21)  U.S. Rep. Garret Graves is fighting for his political life in a redistricting battle, but it may be no great loss if he fails. He has turned out to be a major waste of potential.

When the Baton Rouge Republican ran for Congress in 2014, he had an impressive, bipartisan background as a congressional aide and as chair of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.

At a campaign event late that year, though, he came across as an over-exuberant puppy, devoid of gravitas. Alas, he hasn’t matured much since then.

Several times this year, Graves has shown a penchant for treating lawmaking as a game of keeping personal political scores rather than as a serious undertaking with real-world consequences. He was at it again last week.

Speaker Mike Johnson, also of Louisiana, finally was planning to allow votes on aid to Ukraine, to Israel and to Taiwan, along with restrictions on the video service TikTok, but Graves said he didn’t approve of Johnson’s decision: “Look, the reality is, you have to keep in mind President Biden asked for Ukraine, President Biden asked for Israel, President Biden asked for aid for Taiwan, and President Biden supports the changes to TikTok. What are Republicans getting out of this?”

This is an embarrassingly juvenile way of looking at things. Why should it matter who “asked” for the aid? Is foreign aid a matter of keeping political score domestically, or is it about advancing U.S. interests abroad? Graves’ puerile scorekeeping is especially bizarre considering that, as noted at The Bulwark online publication, he is on record already supporting all four parts of Johnson’s plan. He has issued numerous statements for two years supporting the concept of aid for Ukraine; he already voted a month ago, along with 196 Republican colleagues, to force TikTok to be divested from its Chinese parent company; he already voted in favor of aid to Israel; and almost everybody in both parties in Congress supports aid to Taiwan…. This personal pettiness is not new for Graves, nor is a willingness to undermine fellow Louisiana Republicans. For no good reason, Graves last fall politically knifed Jefferson Parish’s Steve Scalise in the back when Scalise seemed on the verge of ascending to the House speakership. …. [The full column is at this link.]


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