Fiorina won the JV debate last time. This time, it was Graham

JV debate

Yeah, Santorum — we caught you smiling…

Actually, I have only partial knowledge of how he did, because all I’ve seen is a few clips from the not-ready-for-prime-time debate.

What I’m talking about is how it played, which is of course of tremendous importance in politics. And it played like this:

And then there was this:

Lindsey Graham tops the undercard debate, but Donald Trump dominates

The most memorable performance in the undercard Republican presidential debate came from Sen. Lindsey O. Graham of South Carolina.

Serving his third term in the Senate and now one of the party’s leading lights on foreign policy, Graham still found himself at the trailers’ table Wednesday night. But he was easily the funniest of the four early-evening debaters and offered something of a split-personality vision: half gloom and war, half cornball humor.

In an otherwise humorless foursome, Graham delivered the jokes that were the night’s most repeated lines. In explaining his call for more bipartisan cooperation, for instance, he harkened back to deals that President Ronald Reagan and Democrats struck over a drink: “That’s the first thing I’m gonna do as president. We’re gonna drink more.”

In explaining his position that more legal immigrants were needed to pay into the retirement system as baby boomers retire, Graham used a one-liner about a famous — and infamous — senator from his home state.

“Strom Thurmond had four kids after he was 67. If you’re not willing to do that, maybe we need a better legal immigration system,” Graham said….

So go ahead. Heap the usual pile of scorn, abuse and calumny on our senior senator. It’s what y’all always do. I expect you’ll start with something like, “Maybe he should run for court jester instead of president. He’s already the biggest joke on the national stage.”

It’s easy to be scornful. It’s hard to put yourself out there and do your best, especially when all you get is ridicule and abuse…

43 thoughts on “Fiorina won the JV debate last time. This time, it was Graham

  1. Norm Ivey

    He really was fun to watch, but still was focused almost entirely on ISIS. I think now his candidacy might be purely for the point of making the eventual nominee commit to a more concerted military action against ISIS. Pataki had the most thoughtful (or carefully crafted) answers. Jindal seemed a little frantic. Santorum probably made the best impression on the base.

  2. Jeff Mobley

    Well, if I’d actually had any scorn, abuse, or calumny to heap on Graham, Brad, you would have taken all the fun out of it with those last few lines.

    I do wonder a few things about Graham, though.

    (1) Will he hang on at least through the SC primary?
    He paid the filing fee, but I guess it may still depend on what happens in New Hampshire.

    (2) If and when he drops out, will he endorse anyone?

    (3) If he drops out and endorses someone, will the person whom he endorsed actually be glad to have his endorsement?
    I guess I could think of some who would, and others who wouldn’t, but he probably wouldn’t endorse any of the latter.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      1. He will if he can. But if he runs out of money, having paid the filing fee won’t keep him in. Forfeiting the fee is cheaper than continuing to go in the hole campaigning.

      2. I don’t know, but if he does, I think it would be Bush, Rubio or Kasich.

      3. I would think so. Yes, he’s polling terribly in SC, but I think a lot of those people like HIM; they just don’t like him running for president. Anyway, most candidates would rather have his nod going into SC than not.

      1. Jeff Mobley

        Appreciate your response.
        On the third question, I think Bush or Kasich would gladly accept his endorsement, but I think Rubio could actually be hurt by a Graham endorsement. Rubio has the potential to garner support from both the moderate / “establishment” Republicans and also more conservative ones, but an endorsement from Graham could make some of those conservatives hesitate, perhaps reminding them of their least favorite parts of Rubio’s record in the Senate. Just my thoughts.

  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    I mean, I would have followed the “Happy Hour” debate, but most of the TVs in the bar of my club were tuned to sports, and you couldn’t hear any of them anyway. There was one in the corner showing the debate, and it had closed captions going, so I sort of followed some of it, but that’s a distracting environment.

    It’s not like the old days when one sat in wingbacked chairs amid the paneling and read the Financial Times, occasionally checking the ticker tape, while one’s fellow members quietly played whist and made wagers about whether one could travel ’round the world in 80 days…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      You might say, “You could have skipped going to your club,” to which I respond, “But it was Wednesday, you see. Everyone knows that’s where I’m to be found on Wednesday evenings…”


    2. Kathryn Fenner

      I belonged to one of those *real* clubs, in Chicago in the 80s. The University Club. My friend commented that there always appeared to be a vicar napping in its library.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        If one doesn’t have a member who is a vicar napping in the library, one should put a Roman collar on one of the staff and have him play the part…

        Of course, one must first have a library…

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    FYI, the full headline of the WashPost piece referenced in a Tweet above was, “Lindsey Graham roars out of the gates — and closes strong.”

    That’s actually a reference to the fact that there were more Google searches by people wanting to know more about candidates were about Graham.

    It’s when you look at exactly WHAT they were looking up that you begin to despair for the electorate:

    Lindsey Graham
    how tall is lindsey graham
    lindsey graham height
    lindsey graham military service
    lindsey graham net worth
    lindsey graham sister

    Bobby Jindal
    bobby jindal wife
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    bobby jindal portrait
    what nationality is bobby jindal

    Rick Santorum
    rick santorum children
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    rick santorum net worth
    rick santorum urban dictionary

    George Pataki
    george pataki height
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    republican presidential candidates

    I suppose that if people had a reasonable expectation that they could find “penis length” of candidates via Google, that would probably be the No. 1 search for everybody but Fiorina…

    1. Doug Ross

      “, that would probably be the No. 1 search for everybody but Fiorina…”

      After last night’s performance, don’t be so sure.

      1. Doug Ross

        By the way, under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you google “rick santorum urban dictionary” while at work. If you don’t know the history, you don’t want to know.

        1. Norm Ivey

          Dan Savage, who caused that to happen is, on the basis of that one act, a tediuosly despicable low-life creep who should be shunned by anyone who claims to have any decency or respectability or conscience. I have an urge to spit everyone I hear his name.

  5. Harry Harris

    I’m not surprised Graham stuck with his running against ISIS theme or his pandering remark about killing every one of “those bastards.” He’s playing his one note, but without much success since most claims by the militarists about our ability to shape that region are not working out.

      1. Harry Harris

        I mean Cheney’s claims about our easy victory and easy out in Iraq and the subsequent Iraq oil helping straighten-out the market. I also include the long commitment in Afghanistan after we spread ourselves too thin invading Iraq. We might also note the rise of ISIS, which threatens any non-Islamist regime in the region while Saudi Arabia’s large air force does nothing on that fron and Turkey tries to fight Kurdish militants who are also fighting ISIS while Turkey fights ISIS. The simplicity with which the neocons express our role as a military savior is good “rah rah” material, but ignores the real dangers of quagmire involvement and becoming a target. It does, however, sell more machine gun bullets and heavy equipment made in Graham’s district (our dear state). It also further enriches the Cheneys with Halliburton having the no-bid contract for feeding and supplying our troops.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          It was extraordinarily foolish for anyone to suggest that our effort in Iraq would be “easy.” Did Cheney do that? I don’t recall. I suppose it was someone — my first guess would have been Rumsfeld, who obviously DID think it would be easy, since he didn’t bother to prepare for the aftermath of toppling Saddam — because I’ve heard it alleged by so many antiwar folks since. That is, I’ve heard it said many times that “the neocons” thought it would be easy.

          Which isn’t true. Some may have, but Lindsey Graham never did. I distinctly recall him painting the task before us as extraordinarily difficult, something that would take our best efforts for a generation or more. (He spoke particularly, as an attorney, of how long it would take for civil institutions to arise, and for the old system to be replaced by judges and prosecutors with a respect for the rule of law.) And I always agreed with him. I used to compare the task in Iraq to the task of making sure all kids in SC got an excellent education — both were things that too many Americans/South Carolinians considered too difficult to keep trying…

  6. Kathryn Fenner

    The problem with the debates, okay, among the many problems with the “debates” is that they reward the sound bite, the outrageous comment, the buffoonish comment and punish the gaffe. They seldom, if ever, elucidate any substantive information on how the candidates might govern—or at least one hopes not.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      The problem with the debates, okay, among the many problems with the “debates” is that they reward the sound bite, the outrageous comment, the buffoonish comment and punish the gaffe. They seldom, if ever, elucidate any substantive information on how the candidates might govern—or at least one hopes not.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Actually, there were moments when I think Rubio came close to talking policy. Although it’s hard to tell; the young fella was talking too fast for us old guys to keep up…

      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        Followed the link… Ah yes, the old “those right-wingers are so stupid they believe Jesus is for real and think a fetus is a baby; it’s a wonder they have the brain power to put one foot in front of the other” meme….

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          The Twitter bio of the person who wrote that Jezebel piece: “Sometimes I regret using my 6th grade AOL screen name as a twitter handle.”

          AOL existed when she was in the 6th grade. Hey, when I was in the 6th grade, Gutenberg was still referred to as “the late Gutenberg…”

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Ah, the heyday of movable type! Thomas More and I used to sit around debating Tyndale — should he be burned at the stake or boiled in oil? Tough call…

        2. Doug Ross

          Jezebel is where liberal women go to get their talking points and snark memes. It’s like a printed version of Rachel Maddow.

          1. Doug Ross

            I shouldn’t have written that. I apologize. It’s where liberal women and emasculated men go to get their talking points and snark memes.

          2. Brad Warthen Post author

            I think I like Rachel Maddow better. But (hear comes the name-dropping again) she interviewed me once, so we have that personal connection thing going on…

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            I actually had trouble understanding exactly WHAT she meant to say.

            She was evidently speaking figuratively — which makes it seem odd to me to talk about it in terms of whether it was “factual,” as though she were describing an actual occurrence. But I had trouble following it…

          2. Harry Harris

            The facts that the “sting videos” have been heavily edited and the video with the situation Fiorina deceptively describes don’t come close to halting the misleads. We are in a factless political climate where misleading claims are made and perpetuated by whoever has the electronic ink to do so. The fact that the group (deceptively named Center for Medical Progress) that recorded the videos was aimed at entrapment (and evidently failed) doesn’t deter the Republican candidates from misleading with them and mistakenly or deceptively mischaracterizing them.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Yeah, “Center for Medical Progress” is misleading the way “women’s health” is misleading when what you mean is abortion.

              Nor am I impressed by the precision of “reproductive health,” “reproductive rights” or “reproductive freedom,” when what you’re talking about is the diametric opposite, the freedom NOT to reproduce. But hey, at least it HINTS at what you’re talking about, right?

  7. Brad Warthen Post author

    Seeing Santorum in that photo above reminds me…

    When that was on the TV at Cap City last night, I was watching Santorum talking, and I thought that HE had to be thinking, “I WON IOWA four years ago! What am I doing in the losers’ debate?”

  8. bud

    The worst moment of the debate was when Jeb stated that “the one thing that I’m sure of is that my brother kept us safe”. Really? If there is one thing that is absolutely clear about the George W. Bush tenure is that he absolutely DID NOT keep us safe. Geez, is there anything not out of bounds in politics today?

    1. Brad Warthen

      Not following you. There wasn’t another 9/11. That’s what he meant, and it’s true.

      I still find that rather amazing, that through the rest of Bush’s time, and almost two terms of Obama, there still hasn’t been a major attack on U.S. soil. That would seem to defy the odds, no matter how effective our measures may be…

      1. bud

        The point is there was ONE 9-11. How can people so cavalierly ignore the worst EVER attack against Americans on American soil. You can make excuses till the cows come home but he FAILED to keep us safe that day. Thousands of Americans were most assuredly NOT safe. And that’s not to forget the hundreds who were left stranded in New Orleans after Katrina, the 6000 killed in Iraq/Afghanistan and the millions who were destroyed by the financial collapse. Defending Jeb on that statement is a fools errand.

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