Lindsey, baby, ya gotta work on the RBF thing…


I’ve mentioned before that one of my current fantasy jobs is working on the Lindsey Graham presidential campaign. Seriously, if he called me right now, and offered to pay me enough to pay my bills for the duration, I’d jump. Why? Because aside from the fact that I’ve always liked him, I think his campaign would be loads of fun. He’s in that “I can’t win, so I might as well say what I think and have fun” zone, and there’s really no more gratifying place to be in the political universe. I could really enjoy that.

But since I haven’t gotten that call, I just have these imaginary conversations in which I’m coaching him, telling him stuff that somebody should be telling him. And today, I’d be having a serious talk — more a rant, really — about his performance during the JV debate last night.

Not that I saw it or anything. But since this is all in my imagination, I figure I might as well be the kind of brilliant campaign strategist who can extrapolate all that he needs to know from a single, low-res still shot. And of course, in my imagination, the candidate is so impressed with me that he actually listens to my brilliant flashes of intuitive insight.

And the great thing is, unlike the punk kids likely advising him on media, I’m older than he is, and therefore entitled to talk to him like a Dutch uncle.

The tiny scrap of data I’d be riffing on today would be the above photo, which ran with a short Slate item that said in part:

Lindsey Graham was subdued, almost morose during much of the early Republican debate…

And then yadda-yadda. The rest is irrelevant; I have what I need. And here’s what I’d say:

Lindsey, baby, you’re killing me here! What’s with the RBF! Yes, men can have it, too — I mean, LOOK at you! Who died? Who killed your dog? Yeah, I know, you don’t dig standing there with the rejects and having to wait your turn — it sucks, OK? I feel your pain. You’d rather be the only guy with a mic, cracking jokes with a small group of yokels at a Shoney’s in New Hampshire, making like the cracker Henny Youngman, but come ON! You’re on national TV! You didn’t have to bend over for some crypto-fascist twit who made a billion selling patio furniture to pay for this! Show some gratitude! Enjoy it! Give people a sliver of a chance to maybe, God forbid, LIKE you! Ditch the sad bastard routine, or I am outta here!

Really, the man has a problem, and he needs to listen to me and fix it.

Did you see him at the historic, miraculous press conference when Nikki Haley stood up with top leaders from both parties and promised to take down the flag? This was his chance to look like a hero! People who saw the stills later wouldn’t know he didn’t have a speaking part; for all they would know, he helped make this happen. But not when they see that face:

I mean really… and look at me when I’m talkin’ to ya, or I’m outta here! So what if you’re a Pip to Nikki’s Gladys here? Who cares? What did you have to do to get here? NOTHING! You’ve been invited to share the glory for FREE! This is a MAJOR feel-good moment that people will remember for the rest of their lives, and they’re going to see this image over and over, and you’re gonna stare at the ceiling like you’re in detention? What’s the MATTER with you? And no, this is not just some unfortunate moment — I was watching, and you did this THE WHOLE TIME. Yes, serious and determined would be fine — look at Clyburn — but detached, disinterested and ticked off to be here ain’t gonna cut it…

And after this talking-to, the candidate straightens up and flies right. The “I’m outta here” threat always works. Because I’m just that good. I’m the pro from Dover, baby! You know it..

Graham RBF

9 thoughts on “Lindsey, baby, ya gotta work on the RBF thing…

  1. Norm Ivey

    I did watch it, and he disappointed. He couldn’t answer a question without coming back to “We’ve got to kick Iran’s butt.” He showed himself to be a one-issue candidate. Very disappointing.

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    Why would he blow an opportunity like this? Sure, he was in the “also-ran” debate, but did he at any time have an actual expectation of making the top ten at this point?

    Carly Fiorina didn’t let it get HER down. She made the most of the opportunity. It’s like she thought, “If I’m on stage with a bunch of chumps, it’s my chance to stand out and shine.”

    The idea, in a situation such as this, is to make the world — or at least the political junkies who could create some buzz in your favor — say, “Hey, this guy should have been in the top tier — he was WAY better than the others in the Happy Hour debate.”

    BE the big fish in the small pond, and make people believe you should be moved to the big one…

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      Lindsey hasn’t had a tough race at least since he ran vs. Alex Sanders. He’s not a natural candidate…

    2. Norm Ivey

      If I could rig the polls, I’d make sure Jindal and Fiorina move up, and move Carson and either Paul or Christie down.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Best comment I saw about Rand Paul was from Wonkette:

  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    Someone (Norm, I think) said on the previous thread that Graham turned every question back to Iran. Which was obviously what his debate prep focused on: “Obviously, people don’t know you as the national security hard case, or you’d be sitting at the big table. Hammer it, over and over. And try to look tough.”

    As I say, I’d have given him different advice, such as “Be the guy people might want to see again sometime.”

  4. Bill

    Every time I see Rand Paul, it reminds me of seeing The Sex Pistols. He looks just like Johnny Rotten.

  5. bud

    Graham will probably drop out after the next round of polling. I expect he’ll drop down to 17th place. Terrible candidate but even worse ideas.

  6. Bill

    It would be impossible for a gay man, who can’t admit the truth to himself or anyone else , to be elected president .People pretend that’s inconsequential ,but it’s not.

Comments are closed.