Like a modern-day John Wayne … err, Rock Hudson … U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham has rescued the state of South Carolina’s economy in old bold move.
After pitching a royal hissy fit, Graham has secured a whooping $50,000 from U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for the Port of Charleston – which of course will be portrayed in the mainstream media as nothing short of Lindsey Graham walking on water across Charleston harbor.
For those of you wondering what this money will actually do, it will pay for one quarter of the initial cost of a controversial environmental study that’s required by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before it can deepen Charleston harbor.
Currently, Charleston harbor has a depth of 47 feet in its entrance channel and 45 feet through the remainder of the shipping lanes. Port officials want to increase these depths to 50 feet, and then extend the new maximum depth by two miles to “reach the needed ocean contours for length of channel.”
This $50,000 is part of a $400,000 initial appropriation that would be part of a $3.4 million study that would assess the environmental impact of deepening the harbor. The actual deepening itself would cost $300 million.
Even Reid said that the paltry sum “would not guarantee that the port study in Charleston would go forward but would provide the Corps with the opportunity to move forward should they choose.”
So in other words … we’re talking about the tip of the tip of the tip of something (just for a minute, just to see how it feels).
Nonetheless, for this pittance of a sum Graham has agreed to back down from his threat to “tie the Senate in knots” if his demands were not met.
“I released the holds I had placed on Senate business because I believe we are making good progress,” Graham said in a statement on Friday. “I’m optimistic about the progress being made that will ensure the deepening study will be allowed to proceed this fiscal year.”
Such a tough guy! What will he do for an encore? Threaten to read recipes from the well of the Senate if Harry Reid doesn’t give him the rest of his earmarks? Drone on endlessly about how good Glenn McConnell looks in a uniform if Reid doesn’t aggressively push his “cap and trade” energy tax? Or plan to grant amnesty to illegal aliens?
Yet while Graham parades in front of the cameras over such an infinitesimal sum (which was left out of Obama’s budget and later pulled from the state budget at the request of the S.C. State Ports Authority, by the way), what is he actually doing to improve our state’s competitive position vis-a-vis the ports issue?
Seriously … what has Lindsey Graham done to see Charleston’s infrastructure expand?
Absolutely nothing …
And what has he done to see the Port of Jasper come to fruition?
Not a thing … well, expect briefly paying lip service on the issue in a painfully transparent (and unsuccessful) effort to mollify S.C. Sen. Tom Davis, the man most likely to mount a credible challenge against Graham in 2014.
Davis, incidentally, was one of three former members of the S.C. State Ports Authority who voted in 2005 to permit public-private partnerships that would expand Charleston’s infrastructure (and build the Jasper port) using mostly private dollars.
Several longtime allies of Graham’s voted against that proposal – which failed by a 5-3 vote.