Graham: ‘Tell the administration to go F themselves’

Speaking of intemperate speech…

This is in The Washington Post today:

After long and arduous negotiations, Israel and the Obama administration have agreed on a landmark military aid package that would increase U.S. aid to Israel over the next 10 years. But the White House is reluctant to sign the deal because officials are upset one leading lawmaker won’t go along: Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.).


Lindsey Graham/File photo.

The new agreement, which officials say would raise Israel’s annual package of military aid from $3.1 billion to $3.3 billion starting in 2018, is a complicated deal that both the White House and the Israeli government badly want to announce before President Obama leaves office, and preferably much sooner. A senior administration official described the deal as “the largest single pledge of military assistance to any country in U.S. history.” It’s Obama’s parting attempt to establish a legacy of strong U.S. support for Israel’s security. The negotiations on the memorandum of understanding (MOU), as it is known, have been finished for several weeks.

But before announcing it, the White House wants to make sure that Congress won’t undermine the deal by going its own way on aid to Israel. Graham, the chairman of the Senate appropriations subcommittee that oversees the foreign affairs budget, has already marked up a bill that would give Israel $3.4 billion next year, more than the number the White House negotiated.

The administration hasn’t complained to Graham directly; it told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about its problem, and he talked to Graham about it in a phone call last month. But in Graham’s view, Congress has no obligation to agree to the deal, given that it was not included in the negotiations….

I can understand Lindsey Graham being irritated at the Obama administration for enlisting Bibi to lobby him. He is right to say, “If they don’t like what I’m doing, they can veto the bill.” I can also see his objection to the administration trying to steer the appropriations process, a legislative prerogative.

But I don’t appreciate him saying this to the prime minister of Israel: “Tell the administration to go F themselves.”

That’s uncalled-for, and I expect better from him.

35 thoughts on “Graham: ‘Tell the administration to go F themselves’

  1. bud

    I expect better from him.

    Why? Just another Republican acting like a Republican. Goes along with the SCOTUS stonewalling, government shutdowns, “you lie” comments, and dozens of senseless votes to repeal the ACA. This is after all the party of Trump.

    The worst part of this story is that we’re giving Isreal $billions for bombs. No excuse for that while our roads crumble.

    1. Doug Ross

      “The worst part of this story is that we’re giving Isreal $billions for bombs. No excuse for that while our roads crumble.”

      On this we can agree. The road to ruin for the U.S. will be paved with dollars spent propping up other countries militarily while our own infrastructure fails and millions live in poverty.

      Obviously, Senator Graham has already made commitments to his big defense contractor backers to deliver a number that will meet their budgets. He’s just the waterboy.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Oh, come ON, Doug! That is entirely uncalled-for!

        How could you doubt, even for a moment, that Graham sincerely wants to maximize support for Israel? Everything he’s ever done or said points to that. This is what he believes.

        Why do you have to invent some outrageously insulting, libelous, corrupt motive for something that has such an obvious cause?

        I just don’t understand such unrestrained hostility toward someone who looks at the world differently from the way you do. It’s like Graham ran over your dog or something, you reach so far to blacken his name…

        1. bud

          The fact that he wants to spend $billions money on this rogue nation motivated by some odious sense of priorities is plenty reason enough to detest this man with every fiber of my being. No need to invent reasons.

          1. Bryan Caskey

            “The fact that he wants to spend $billions money on this rogue nation motivated by some odious sense of priorities…”

            Are we talking about Israel here? Just checking.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Well, being the one liberal democracy in the region does make you something of a rogue, or at least a maverick.

              As a bonus to my readers, here are two Mavericks…


              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                And for you really serious connoisseurs, here are three Mavericks.

                To help those of you without an encyclopedic knowledge of late ’50s, early-’60s television, this is from when Robert Colbert and Roger Moore were both brought in in a vain attempt to make up for the departure of James Garner…


              2. Brad Warthen Post author

                And to top it all, here are two Mavericks, two Lawmen, a Sugarfoot, a Bronco and a Colt .45


                OK, to be more specific:

                Photo of all the Warner Brothers Studio television western stars who had programs on ABC. From left: Will Hutchins (“Sugarfoot” Brewster-Sugarfoot), Peter Brown (Johnny McKay-Lawman), Jack Kelly (Bart Maverick-Maverick), Ty Hardin (Bronco Laine-Bronco), James Garner (Bret Maverick-Maverick), Wayde Preston (Christopher Colt-Colt .45), John Russell (Dan Troop-Lawman).

                Click on it to blow it up.

                It’s such a shame for Bryan that he wasn’t around back then. Everything on TV involved guns.

                I’ll stop now…

        2. Doug Ross

          Tell me how you feel about Mark Sanford. It’s the same way I feel about the Senator from the state of Lockheed Martin.

          1. Harry Harris

            Unless my memory is faulty (a real possibility), I recall Graham expressing dismay about cutting back orders for machine gun bullets from an Upstate contractor as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars drew down. Do we need war to keep them in business, or should we stockpile beyond the Pentagon’s requests to keep them flush?

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Hey, I want the military to have plenty of ammo, too. And like Graham, I’d rather we hadn’t drawn down as precipitously in those places. I believed, for instance, we needed to have a residual force in Iraq, and it would have been nice for them to have ammunition.

              My more peaceful friends have been hoping for a screeching halt to military spending since the Berlin Wall fell. I look at things differently. (The fall of the Soviet Union ushered in a period of instability in which we were more, not less, likely to find ourselves in low-intensity conflicts involving conventional weapons.) So does Graham.

              Others disagree. I don’t malign their characters in response.

              1. Harry Harris

                We always need to stockpile whatever weapon is produced in a politician’s district, no matter what the Pentagon asks for, As a person from a military family, you likely heard about that numerous times. Of course, the Navy always needs more big surface ships, and the Air Force declares how vulnerable they are. It sounds like a military-industrial-political complex.

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  No, that wasn’t something military families talked about. Private businesses, the profit motive and politics pretty much existed in a different universe.

                  And yes, the Navy needs more surface ships. They don’t all have to be big, as long as you produce a carrier now and then. I think destroyers are a nice size.

                  Speaking of interservice rivalry — I wonder whether all this “jointness” we hear so much about has reduced that even a little. If you don’t know what I mean… Ford Island, where Burl works, isn’t part of Naval Station Pearl Harbor any more. Now it’s part of “Joint Base Pearl Harbor–Hickam.”

                  Which is just plain weird

                  1. Bryan Caskey

                    I think the inter-service rivalry is alive and well. Heck, the other day, my buddy who’s in the Marine Corps was telling me how he agrees that the Marines are a department of the Navy….


                    The Men’s department!


                    Don’t forget to tip your waiters, ladies and gentlemen.

                  2. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Speaking of “joint base” and Hickam.

                    Back when Burl and I were in high school, I heard this story. It was told to me, I think, at Priscilla Gummerson’s house in Makalapa Heights one night. I want to say the teller was this friend of hers whose name I forget who wore muttonchops like the ones I wore in “Pride and Prejudice,” only not gray.

                    But I digress.

                    The story, probably apocryphal, was that he had this friend who was an airman at Hickam. The guy’s job was to sit at this bank of monitors attached to security cameras at every important entry point in this highly secure building, and watch for unauthorized personnel. His duty station was in a locked room in the heart of the building, and you couldn’t get anywhere near it without him seeing you coming a long time before you got there.

                    So, the story went, he spent his entire time on post sitting there smoking dope.

                    A compelling story, but now that I think back, it seems unlikely. What did he do with all the smoke if somebody came in?

                  3. Bryan Caskey

                    One reason the services have trouble operating jointly is that they don’t speak the same language.

                    For example, if you told Navy personnel to “secure a building,” they would turn off the lights and lock the doors.

                    Army personnel would occupy the building so no one could enter.

                    Marines would assault the building, capture it, and defend it with suppressive fire and close combat.

                    The Air Force, on the other hand, would take out a three-year lease with an option to buy.

                    1. Brad Warthen Post author

                      Very good description of the differences. One question: Would the Marines be killing everybody inside before securing it? If you don’t want them to, be sure to give them orders to that effect. Marines need orders.

                      Once, way back when I was in college and my Dad was still in the Navy, I went to pump some gas at a station in Memphis. I went to a pump that wasn’t operating. The guy running the station called to me, “That pump’s secured!”

                      I asked him when he had been in the Navy. Of course, he had…

          2. Brad Warthen Post author

            I don’t speak of Mark Sanford the way you do Lindsey Graham. I don’t invent corrupt, venal reasons for him doing the things he does.

            Review my words.

            1. Doug Ross

              There isn’t a politician who I have disagreed with more than Lindsey Graham. He represents a mindset that has been disastrous for this country and is a narcissistic attention seeker. His total rejection by the American public in his run for President was the highlight of my year politically. 99.5% of Americans see him for exactly what he is.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Doug, first of all “99.5 percent” of Americans don’t see him one way or the other. “99.5 percent” of Americans is way more people than can identify Hillary Clinton.

                I’d be very, very surprised if half the electorate (much less half of “Americans”) has any sort of opinion of Graham. He failed to get enough attention in that melee of 17 candidates for people to form an impression.

                Do you think “99.5 percent” of Americans despise Scott Walker or George Pataki the way you do Lindsey? No, of course not.

                Just thought I’d say a few words there about hyperbole…

                1. Doug Ross

                  Maybe you are getting the sense of how it feels when you paint Libertarians with your hyperbolic broad brush. Frustrating, eh?

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Look, if you were a defense contractor looking to make donations, to whom would you give? If you didn’t give to one of the few remaining old-school hawks, you’d be nuts.

            That’s not in any way evidence that the politician is corrupt.

            Do you really, truly believe that Lindsey Graham would be some swords-to-plowshares pacifist if he didn’t get money from defense contractors? Do you really, truly think he doesn’t sincerely disagree with you on things like military spending and foreign aid? ALL evidence points the other way.

            By the way, I’m taking your word on the thing about him getting contributions from defense contractors. I’m not interested enough to look. But it would certainly make sense if he did.

            Why do people read something sinister into it when people give to candidates who support the causes that they agree with, or positions that accrue to their benefit?

            1. Doug Ross

              He wouldn’t be a swords to plowshares guy ever. He’s a war mongering hawk. The defense contractors invest in those guys and the return on investment is very high.

  2. Karen Pearson

    This sort of language comes from the observation that Trump seems to gain from it; he is seen as a ‘man’s man’, stating his case forcefully, and eschewing political correctness. It’s worked for Trump. I don’t think it will work for Graham. And does Graham really want the kind of voters that will attract? He seems upset that that they like Trump so much. He might want to think about whether his career is worth feeding that monster.

  3. Mark Stewart

    What’s become of civility in public discourse?

    I agree with Karen; Graham appears to have learned all the wrong lessons from this year’s political scrum. How long will we need to recover from the bile Trump has brought to our national political – and public – discourse?

    1. Juan Caruso

      Mark, he learned from Trump? You are kidding yourself and singling out Mr. Trump:

      2010: Vice President Joe Biden (D) was heard telling Obama “this is a big f—— deal” during the March 23, 2010, signing of the health care reform bill. While he was whispering into the president’s ear, the profanity was picked up by nearby microphones.

      2004: Dem. presidential candidate John Kerry, dropped the f-bomb in an interview in the November 11, 2004,

      “I voted for what I thought was best for the country. … Did I expect George Bush to f— it up as badly as he did? I don’t think anybody did,” Kerry said, referring to his vote allowing the U.S. to use military force in Iraq.

      Kerry also made news during the campaign when he reportedly called his Secret Service agent a “son of a bitch.”

      1998, 2010, etc.: White House Democrst aide Rahm Emanuel warned Prime Minister Tony Blair, “don’t f— it up,” referring to the British leader’s February 5, 1998, visit to the White House, according to Foreign Policy magazine’s Passport blog.

      Later, as Obama’s chief of staff, Emanuel allegedly once said “F— the UAW.” The comment was featured in former White House car czar Steven Rattner’s 2010 book “Overhaul.” The White House pushed back against the claim.

      Bill and Hillary Clinton (D)

      While President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton were not known to have cursed publicly, numerous accounts from White House insiders over the years tell a different story — that both often using the f-word in conversations and arguments inside and outside the White House.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        The UAW one has long been a favorite of mine. It makes me like him a little better than I otherwise would. Any Democrat who would say that even in private has a lot of sand…

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