by Chris Haire
For awhile there, I was under the impression that Rep. Bob Inglis was one of the few adults in Palmetto State politics.
Heck, this week, I even said that Inglis, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham, was a grown-up compared to his fellow Washington GOPers — Reps. Gresham Barrett, Joe Wilson, and Henry Brown, and Sen. Jim DeMint. (Wilson, Brown, and DeMint all signed Barrett's letter to President Barack Obama, urging the prez to refrain from transferring Gitmo detainees to the Charleston Naval Brig in Hanahan.
I was wrong. Inglis has chosen to sit at the children's table.
For months, Inglis has criticized the tea party movement, calling the movement too anti-government and libertarian for his tastes and citing the teabaggers' anarchic and angry tendencies.
And while Barrett is largely jockeying for votes in the governor's race (and attempting to win over the teabaggers that heckled him in Greenville over his pro-TARP vote) and DeMint is trying to retain his position as the foremost anti-government blowhard in the Senate, Inglis is against the transfer of detainees to the Naval Brig for what sounds like a damn good reason — we've already spent $300 million providing these guys with bachelor pads at Gitmo.
In a conference call with DeMint, Barrett, and Ben Fox, spokesman for Gov. Mark Sanford, on Friday, Inglis said, "It's just nuts to not make use of the hundreds of millions of dollars that we've spent to make Guantanamo a top-quality prison facility. It just defies logic that we would close it ..."
He added that such a transfer would "introduce a lot of risk for American citizens by bringing very dangerous people for trial when the very same trial could be had at Guantanamo."
And while all of that may be true, the problem with Gitmo is this: it's a public relations nightmare. Yes, it's not Abu Ghraib, but it's pretty embarrassing, what with all those allegations about detainee abuse and torture.
Inglis' solution to all this: President Obama should invite world leaders to tour Gitmo and show them what a peachy-keen place the detainment center is. Heck, perhaps they'll be so impressed they'll want to buy a time-share. Somehow, I doubt it.
Think of it like this: You've got a 1993 Ford Bronco. You love it. But over the course of the last eight years, you've had to take it to the shop every other month and let's say you're dropping $300 a trip. At what point, do you go, well, it's time to trade in the truck and get a new one? Um, about eight years ago? Exactly.
For more on the whole Naval Brig/Gitmo detainee controversy, check out Robert Behre's article in today's P&C.
Tomorrow, I'll try to post an even more trivial post about Friday's conference call. Of course, that'll all depend on how much beer I drink today. There's a lot of college football to watch today.