Would the real Lindsey Graham please stand up?

Who is this man, and what has he done with Lindsey Graham?

Who is this man, and what has he done with Lindsey Graham?

I’ve called Lindsey Graham a stand-up guy here before, and I’d really like to have reason to do so again. After all, we’re talking about the Republican most likely to speak truth about the madness during the long nightmare of the 2016 election.

But it has come to this:

I don’t understand it. I really don’t. Yeah, I know a lot of GOP pols have concluded that they can’t be themselves and get their party’s nomination in this environment. But he doesn’t face re-election for another three years! By that time, will the Republican Party even exist anymore? Not at the rate it’s going…

19 thoughts on “Would the real Lindsey Graham please stand up?

    1. Juan Caruso

      Deplorable, certainly, but also humorously ironic, Mark.

      SC conservatives have long known Lindsey to be an unreliable pretender, now it appears even libs who have been keeping him in office are feeling betrayed.

      Hillary has the evidence to throw Lindsey under the bus on several hot-button issues that had been glossed over during Obama. His knowledge and tacit approval of Lois Lerner’s anti Tea Party scandal is about to become public if the transcript of Lerner’s congressional testimony is not sealed forever:

      If believed at all, most assume any death threats have come from tea party apparatciks. No, think again.

  1. Doug Ross

    “Would the real Lindsey Graham please stand up?”

    As Buckwheat said, “Here I is!!”

    The real Lindsey Graham is the one who floats along with the political winds… you just refused to see it. It started in 2008 with his Obama crush and then reversed to Obama hate at his next election.

  2. Phillip

    It’s really quite simple, I think, and forgive if I’m repeating a point I’ve made here before.

    Lindsey make not really like Trump nor agree with him on several matters on the domestic front, but he has come to realize that in spite of Trump’s campaign rhetoric seeming at times to tilt towards less foreign interventionism, Trump’s natural combativeness in his personality may actually make him an interventionist’s best friend.

    I think Lindsey wants to play nice with Trump so that he will have more and more of the President’s ear on foreign policy, to push the military option in as many flashpoints around the world as possible. If Trump replaces Tillerson with Pompeo and Pompeo with Cotton, then we are a big step forward to the America Lindsey wants, the one fulfilling its true destiny as he sees it, active militarily around the globe, engaged in–who knows,—one, two, maybe even three wars at once.

    If Trump gets in real legal trouble in the wake of potential Flynn testimony, will that be the time a military strike is launched somewhere in North Korea or, more likely, Iran? Despite everything Lindsey thought about Trump during the campaign, I think he’s coming to the realization that Trump might just be the President he has always dreamed of.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Phillip, I think you have a caricature in your mind of Graham’s worldview, and it’s not fair. I’m talking about lines like “I think Lindsey wants to play nice with Trump so that he will have more and more of the President’s ear on foreign policy, to push the military option in as many flashpoints around the world as possible.” And “Trump might just be the President he has always dreamed of.”

      Just because Graham wants to use the military at times when you don’t want him to, that doesn’t make him some guy going around saying, “I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I Wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and Guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies.”

      He’s a guy who understands America’s postwar world, and who sees all the aspects of international relations — including use of force at times.

      I’ve just spent too much time talking with him about policy to buy that caricature. I think you want to lump him in with the idiots who thought we could just topple Saddam and everything would be great in Iraq. No, he was the guy who would go on at length about what a complicated, daunting project we had ahead of us there, trying to build a civil culture, a judicial system, respect for the rule of law…

      Trump, by contrast, is the idiot you’re suggesting Graham is. He thinks he can just throw out his chest, rant about “fire and fury,” and the world will lie down before him, trembling.

      I can think of ways, though, that you’re onto something. I think Graham thinks that because Trump is such a bully, that he can use him to keep up our military strength in a time when the left and the right are increasingly isolationist, and far less committed to the multinational arrangements largely fostered by American diplomats after 1945. I suspect he thinks that with Bannon gone, maybe he can flatter and influence Trump away from the “America first” nonsense.

      Security internationalists like Graham and McCain used to be the norm in the GOP, and their buddy Lieberman used to be more of the norm among Democrats. But now, with America turned so inward and so divided and confused about its own national purpose and meaning, Graham may feel that he has to seize any tool that presents itself.

      But I think that’s foolish. If you care about America’s role in the world, what you want is to get the Trump era over with as soon as humanly possible. I refer you to the New Yorker piece I referenced earlier about what Tillerson has done to American diplomacy:

      In the broadest sense, the world we live in was created by the United States. The architecture of international economic and political relations—the United Nations, nato, the World Trade Organization, and so on—was largely drawn up by American diplomats at the end of the Second World War. The system they devised was meant to encourage the spread of free markets and liberal democracy, and it was premised, more than anything, on American leadership. It’s easy to trash the idea of American global leadership, imperfect and unjust as it has been. But what would the world be without it? Thanks in no small part to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, we are about to find out.

      1. Mr. Smith

        ”…to keep up our military strength…” – Brad

        Our military strength hasn’t suffered – except through the wars it’s fought.

        “…the multinational arrangements largely fostered by American diplomats after 1945…

        Excuse me? A big military budget is not the way to underpin and strengthen the multilateral arrangements we helped build. Trump has already done more to undermine those arrangements – along with our international standing – than any modern president, perhaps any president in our history. So you point makes no sense.
        Using him to “keep up our military strength” – which, like I said, has not been weakened in an objective sense – will only lead to the further erosion of our standing around the world – particularly if that strength is used in a way that the world sees as unwise – because it will only enhance the sense that America is focused solely on its military might. And I’m not sure Graham is the wisest even when it comes to the use of military power.

      2. bud

        Phillip, I think you have a caricature in your mind of Graham’s worldview, and it’s not fair.

        Actually I thought Phillip’s comments were quite diplomatic. Graham’s foreign policy views are very extreme to the point of being downright imperialist. That was his central policy agenda when he ran for president last year and apparently even within the GOP that made him a bit of a pariah.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Bud, Graham’s and McCain’s views on international affairs have pretty much been the consensus view among American leaders since 1945. Not anymore, because American consensus about EVERYTHING has been falling apart the last few years…

    2. Lynn Teague

      My question is whether Graham really believes all of the money to cover their outrageous tax cut can come from domestic programs. Our military is not weak at present, but people who are unable to pay for a nursing home for grandma or a doctor for a sick child are not going to be enthusiastic supporters of continuing to pour money into military adventures. It looks like the postwar American role in the world is dead, and Graham has helped to kill it. But on the other hand, the senator and his friends are acting as if public opinion doesn’t matter at all and they expect no accountability at the polls. So, who knows what interesting plans they have for our form of government.

  3. Mike F.

    All of Lindsey’s TV appearances in recent months seem designed to curry favor with one viewer who watches a lot of cable news. And now Trump is much more interventionist than than he was as a candidate. When Trump called 2 top Democrats liars before a meeting, Lindsey blamed them for calling it off instead of placing the blame where it belonged.

    Now we’re at the acid test and so far Lindsey seems stuck on, “well, he’s president, so whatever.”

  4. Harry Harris

    The real Lindsey Graham has left the building. Nowadays all we see are masks and other personas. The Lindsey who impressed Brad somewhat a few years ago has gone away or no longer exists. Every once in a while, there’s a sighting, but it always turns out fade away.

    1. Mark Stewart

      There never was any real Lindsey Graham. He has always been comfortable changing masks as he chooses. Brad just fell for one version Lindsey wore at one time.

      I fell for it once, too. But it’s pretty clear he is a charlatan and always has been.

  5. bud

    This is further evidence that the GOP is lock stock and barrel the party of Trump. Longing for the good ole days of a sensible center right party of George HW Bush will not change that obvious fact. The tax bill is still more evidence of that. No fiscal discipline at all.

  6. Bill

    McCain’s brain cancer drama looks bogus now,too.In the end,all the main GOP players look like fools…;’not great men’…

  7. Dave

    Yes, to echo a point already made here, this is the real Lindsey Graham. A man who changes his positions easily. He called Trump a kook who’s unfit for office and is now upset that others are calling Trump that. He was a deficit hawk and now he just voted for a huge increase in the deficit. He’s built his brand around promoting the rule of law and now he wants to use any shenanigans he can think of to get a different Republican candidate in Alabama solely, and I mean solely, because the Republican candidate may lose the election there. People who are committed to the rule of law don’t try to rig elections because their party may lose the election. Come on, Lindsey Graham has long demonstrated who he is. You just didn’t want to admit it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *