To the courageous Senator Lindsey Graham

Dear Senator Lindsey Graham,

I write today to applaud your courage.

Only a man like yourself–one worried that he might have to face a run-off in a primary election–would have the bravery to introduce a bill that would limit states’ rights, potentially remove billions of dollars from state coffers, and further restrict what Americans can do in the privacy of their own homes. That takes courage, Senator.

Moments ago, you introduced a bill that would slap the wrist of President Obama’s Department of Justice. When you weren’t looking, the DOJ announced that it had no interest or legal right to prosecute people under the antiquated Wire Act as it pertained to internet gaming. You saw it as a dirty, backdoor move to decriminalize the scourge of internet poker that had swept the nation since 2001, a monster that allowed people to play poker on the internet in their own homes. How dare the DOJ decide that a law written before online poker existed had no bearing online poker!

Graham-080106-18270- 0054“The DOJ opened the door for massive change in policy without significant public input,” you said in your press release. I know you recognized this shady, backdoor activity. You’ve seen it before when you and your fellow Republican Senators slipped the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act into the Port Security Bill in 2006. Because you put it into a must-pass bill at the last minute of the session, it was passed without debate or consideration by Congress. It’s that kind of backroom experience that helps you recognize when the liberals want to decriminalize something as evil as a card game. It also opens your eyes to a political opportunity.

Oh, you surprised me, Senator Graham. Up to this point, you have personally shown almost no interest in the Wire Act or internet gambling. What’s more, you’ve lauded states’ rights as the backbone of our nation. I had no idea you had the moxie to take up an issue about which you simply didn’t care! But, you! You did! At first I couldn’t figure out why, but now your Washington experience is shining through.

See, I watched with trepidation as people within our own state rose up and had the audacity to think they could challenge you—our Washington lifer!—in the upcoming primary. Who could presume to unseat you? Libertarians who believe Americans don’t need the government to tell them how to live their lives? Please. Not in my state!

This part was beautiful. In your release today, you said, “In 1999, South Carolina outlawed video poker and removed over 33,000 video poker machines from within its borders. Now, because of the Obama Administration’s decision, virtually any cell phone or computer can again become a video poker machine. It’s simply not right.”

I know because you’re an educated man that you know that the video poker of 1999 and online poker of today are completely different things, but that didn’t stop you from conflating the apple and orange. No, sir! You’re counting on the people of South Carolina to not be smart enough to see through it. Your detractors may call it intellectual dishonestly, but I say it’s brilliant! How else are we going to slip this one by the electorate?

I should never have been worried, Senator. I should have known your Washington experience fitted you with the right way to approach the problem.

You know when the going gets tough in American politics, the tough find a deep well of money.

You know that when the going gets tough, the tough call casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and ask if he has a spot at his blackjack table with your name on it.

Oh, it’s a courageous move, Senator. A master stroke! The weaker-minded politician might cower, afraid that such a move might be seen as hypocrisy. Not you. No, you and your friend Sheldon—a man who has made his fortune from fleecing people at roulette wheels and baccarat tables around the globe—have a plan to get rid of the online gaming companies (including the likes of MGM, Caesars, and other well-known brands) that are currently operating legally in several states. These are companies that actively compete with Adelson’s Sands Corporation and his brick and mortar operations. As we all know, the free market loathes competition.

Finally, I appreciate how you didn’t let Adelson’s relationship with Newt Gingrich get in the way of your new partnership. After the tens of millions Adelson dropped on the Presidential hopeful, you might think the casino mogul was just looking to buy influence in Washington. I’m glad you were able to look past this to sponsor legislation about which you have never shown a lick of interest.

In all of this, though, what really took courage was your agreement to keep horseracing and online horse bets legal. I mean, I’m simply in awe. I know you understand horse racing is a grand American tradition with no history of organized crime, cheating, or costing people their fortunes, but most Americans don’t see that. They might have seen it as hypocritical for you to protect one form of gambling while fighting others. But you had the courage to stand up against those people. (And, hey, it helps that protecting horse racing means you won’t have a fight with Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, am I right?)

You were my Congressman for years, Mr. Graham. You have been my Senator for more than a decade. We’ve met. We’ve shaken hands. We’ve had long, friendly discussions about policy and what’s good for America. Even in times when we’ve disagreed, I’ve defended you as a staunch and experienced advocate for both the Palmetto State and our nation. Today, I want the world to know about your courage and brave stand on doing what’s right for America…or, failing that, what’s right for Lindsey Graham and Sheldon Adelson!

In the face of a Republican primary challenge, you have stood firm in your belief that the only way to advance our nation’s economy, protect our states’ rights, and fight the nanny state imposed by the liberal administration is to attack existing legal businesses, restrict states’ rights, and further limit Americans’ right to do as they please in their own home. Bravo, Senator. I couldn’t think of a more conservative approach to governance.

Views expressed here are solely my own as a South Carolina citizen