During Wednesday morning's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) channeled recent comments by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who has been running radio ads (paid for with tax dollars) urging residents to buy guns to protect themselves because calling 911 might take too long. Graham was questioning Milwaukee Police Department Chief Edward Flynn on the challenges local police departments face under tight budgets. Perhaps Graham was prompted by knowledge of Clarke's recent recents, because he asked:
GRAHAM: Has your budget gone down in the last year?
FLYNN: It has been level-funded by the city at great expense and great difficulty.
GRAHAM: In the next decade, do you expect more or less funding given the budget situation?
FLYNN: Probably less.
Graham ran with Flynn's response thusly:
GRAHAM: Yeah, I think that's just a reality. So I want Americans to know that what this police chief is facing, almost every police chief is facing: less money. So, you may have to defend yourself.
Just one little problem, senator: Which party -- yours or another -- is the party that insists local, state and federal governments all need to cut spending yet some more? And which has worked hard for decades to ensure that guns on up to assault weapons have proliferated in our country, especially in the hands of criminals and others who can avoid passing background checks? Would that be, oh, I dunno, YOUR party, Sen. Graham? Why, yes it is! Yet now you're concerned that our local police simply don't have the resources to control your profligate gun policies thanks to your stingy spending policies. Whoohoo! A twofer!
By the way, the Clarke crazy continues. The other day, he wrote to right-wing Milwaukee radio talk show host Charlie Sykes and suggested that recent budget battles between Clarke and the Milwaukee county executive have to do with the latter's "penis envy." Clarke has become our state's own version of nutty Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and then some. And GOP luminaries on up to United States senators apparently think Clarke makes lots of sense.
[hat tip to DailyKos blogger Jed Lewison for first reporting on this.]