You may or may not be familiar with The Washington Post‘s Fact Checker feature, which daily examines the veracity, or lack thereof, of statements by public figures.
One of this week’s editions examines whether Hillary Clinton spoke sooth when she said:
We can’t wait any longer for a path to full and equal citizenship. Now, this is where I differ with everybody on the Republican side. Make no mistake: Today not a single Republican candidate, announced or potential, is clearly and consistently supporting a path to citizenship. Not one.
Then, the piece goes on and on about Marco Rubio, and what he said, and when he said it, which struck me as odd. He was a late bloomer, and an inconsistent one if I recall, on immigration reform. Why keep going on about him? It didn’t follow.
I kept looking for the examination of Lindsey Graham’s record, and the story went on, and didn’t get to him.
Later, the Fact Checker had to come back and add this to his report:
(Update: Our friends at PolitiFact correctly note that Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who also backed the Senate bill, is also considering a presidential run and has not wavered from advocating a path to citizenship. They gave Clinton a “mostly false,” equivalent to Three Pinocchios. Given that Clinton mentioned “potential” candidates, that may be a fair assessment.)
Well, duh. We knew that.
Yeah, I know that Graham isn’t someone you think of right away when it comes to viable GOP candidates. But if someone says “Republicans” and “immigration,” he would be the first, or one of the first, you think of. Lord knows, he’s taken enough grief for it.
As you may know, the Fact Checker awards a certain number of “Pinocchios” based on the extent to which a statement is judged to be false.
I wonder what should be awarded to the Fact Checker for spending all that time sniffing down the wrong trail?
Actually, there have been so many twists and turns in the long, sad saga of immigration reform denied that I would have to spend more time than I have available for this blog to be completely sure myself that Graham has been 100 percent consistent on this point.
Which is what the Fact Checker, who is paid to do that, should have done. Instead of wasting time on Rubio.
And THAT is my point.
He’s not a candidate and I am willing to bet he WON’T be a candidate. It may be hard for you to believe but Lindsey’s name recognition outside the state of South Carolina is close to zero… I would guess the Fact Checker may have been aware of Graham’s Trump-like “look at me, I might run for President” show but felt it wasn’t worth spending the time to research his position.
He most likely WILL be a candidate. It’s being said that he will announce on June 1.
He most likely will NOT be a VIABLE candidate.
As for name recognition, I think you’re wrong there. I read too many national stories in which journalists naturally turn to him as one of the best-known and most articulate advocate of certain positions, from immigration to national security. He’s too well-recognized.
Sure, it’s difficult to gauge something like that from here, but I consume a lot of national media. And I don’t even watch those Sunday talk shows where he is such a regular.
In South Carolina, if you’ll recall, one of the beefs against him is that he is TOO MUCH the national figure.
But… that doesn’t translate to being a viable presidential candidate. The Senate has always been filled with famous senators who wouldn’t have a shot at the presidency….
You confuse journalists with regular people. There are people who are famous in my industry who are unknown to 99% of the country.
Do you know who Linus Torvalds is? E.F. Codd? William Inmon?
They’ve done more important work than Lindsey Graham ever has or ever will.
Sure. They’re all characters on “Game of Thrones.” Torvalds is the self-styled “King in the North,” and the Khaleesi is coming after him with her dragons.
You can’t stump me…
No, that’s obviously not right. (Excuse my friend Brad, here.)
Linus Torvalds is better known as Professor Torvalds. He teaches Transfiguration at Hogwarts. It’s an entry level class, but you have to put a top professor in some of those basic classes. E.F. Codd is the graduate assistant to E.F. Slughorn, the long-tenured potions teacher. William Inmon was the first footman to Godric Gryffindor, I believe. Either that or his valet, I can’t quite remember.
Your blog would not exist without Torvalds. Your bank account would likely not exist without the other two.
Then judging by my bank account, the other two don’t exist.
Thank you, thank you — I’ll be here all week…
To give a more serious answer:
A person who is known to journalists becomes known to the public, by virtue of what journalists DO.
Unless it’s, you know, Deep Throat…
You’re too embedded in that world to recognize that it isn’t the same once you get outside it.
I’ll do a test next week and show Graham’s picture to ten people at work in Charlotte and see how many can name him. Think he will get 50%?
If you want to make a valid point, you have to show them Ted Cruz, Scott Walker and Marco Rubio, too. And to be fair, some lesser-known candidates as well (since Graham is seen as lower-tier): Carly Fiorina, John Kasich and George Pataki.
See how he does compared to all of those, and then you’ll have something. I’ll be interested to see where he ranks.
Of course, name recognition is about NAME recognition, not about faces. I know who these people are, but would have trouble picking Walker, Fiorina, Kasich and Pataki out of a lineup.
I was just reading something good today about another such famous senator who would not have been a viable presidential candidate, even though he flirted with running — Daniel Patrick Moynihan…
Then there was Ted Kennedy, who ran, but Jimmy Carter whipped his ass.
He is such a fixture on the Sunday morning shows, I challenge your assertion that his name recognition is close to zero. Certainly not among likely voters, many of whom watch those shows.
Again, you confuse being on TV with the number of people who watch it. Lindsey’s appearances on Sunday shows are seen by tiny audiences. And do YOU remember the names of everyone you’ve seen on TV interview shows?
The total number of viewers age 25-54 for all four network’s Sunday morning news shows is approximately 4 million people. Even if Lindsey Graham got his wish and appeared on all four of them on one Sunday, how many people would actually remember his name a week later? 25%? 10%?
Given Lindsey’s propensity to be on TV news shows I suspect his name recognition is higher than the average GOP candidate. The average Joe isn’t going to recognize him but to folks even moderately interested in current events he is fairly well known. I doubt Lindsey can win his party’s nomination but it isn’t because of his limited name recognition. I bet he’s more recognizable than most candidates at this time in their run for POTUS including Michael Dukakis, Jimmy Carter, Mitt Romney, John Kerry and Barack Obama. On the other hand Hillary Clinton was probably the best known candidate in the nation’s history in 2008 but she ended up losing. Name recognition is only a part of the equation.