Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Who IS Lindsey Graham?

I think it's safe to say you can't pin him down.  I remember when he used to be the sane and reasonable of South Carolina's two senators.  Admittedly, it's a low bar, but still.

During the bashing of Sonia Sotomayor during the Supreme Court justice's confirmation hearings, Graham indicated that, while she may not have been his choice, it was the president's prerogative to choose a nominee that reflected his values.  Why then, has he been first in line to beat up on Obama's cabinet picks, even before he has picked them?

Hand in hand with best buddy John McCain, Graham attacked Susan Rice over her Sunday talk show comments regarding the causes of the attacks in Benghazi.  As though she were on the intelligence front lines.  His goal may have been payback for John Bolton, but the intensity and inappropriate timing of the Rice attacks are more reminiscent of Graham's June, 2012, assault on Eric Holder, who was left holding the bag for a secret Bush gun program that backfired.  Interesting that after the outing of Valeria Plame during the Bush years, Graham could get so incensed over White House leaks.

But that Susan Rice deal made Graham look pretty tough, so much so that he went after Chuck Hagel, disappointed that Hagel wasn't the vicious defender of freedom that he would have liked.

On the other hand, as long as we're talking strange inconsistencies, Graham has just gone to bat for our President in the matter of drone attacks.  The man should be able to kill whoever he wants, he's the President, Graham contends.

And then we have Lindsey Graham on gun control:

He impressed no less than Jon Stewart with his argument against restricting weapon capacity:  "Changing the magazine -- I can do that pretty quick."  And seeking to top his own self in the crazy category:  "We need high capacity magazines so moms won't run out of bullets defending their kids."

I think I have the answer, though, to this conundrum that is Lindsey Graham.  It came to me as I was reading Bob Woodward's The Price of Politics.  During the interminable and unproductive fiscal wrangling last year, Joe Biden accuses Graham of messing with him on the payroll tax extension.  According to Woodward, Graham replies,
I'm not fucking with you.  I mean, it's not that I'm beyond fucking with you.  I'm just not fucking with you here.
When I read that quote, I got it.  Our Lindsey Graham's number 1 job is Lindsey Graham.  And that means speaking to his constituency:  those overly-trusting yet paranoid, Fox informed, equal parts American patriot and confederate that have kept him in office all these long years.

And those comments about a President's right to nominate whatever left wing justice he chooses just did not set as well with those constituents as supporting Obama's right to fire them drones.  Votes like those supporting the confirmation of Justice Sotomayor just plain old got his base riled up enough to wander off the base, if you know what I mean.

Those murmurs about a challenge from the right just might be happening.  But have no fear.  Lindsey Graham can "change that magazine pretty quick."  He's proven that he can fight, on any side he needs to be.  He's not worried about sounding crazy, just soft.  And when he says things that don't seem to make sense, that too may be part of the plan.  He may just be "fucking with you."

No comments:

Post a Comment