Graham does the impossible: He further abases himself


I was sure that, in his extravagant demonstrations of sycophancy toward You-Know-Who, our senior senator had thoroughly plumbed the depths.

Lindsey Graham, I thought, could sink no lower.

Well, I was certainly wrong. He said this in response to Trump’s assertion that he was being subjected to a “lynching”:

“I think it’s pretty well accurate—this is a shame, this is a joke,” Graham told a gaggle of reporters on Monday morning. “This is a lynching in every sense. This is un-American.”

Later, he added that it was “literally a political lynching.” Yes, “literally.”

There’s a hierarchy, or perhaps I should say, a “lowerarchy,” to these lynching comments.

To begin with, on the most basic level, unless you’re talking about a mob taking a person out and murdering him, without any sort of legal due process, then you are engaging in gross hyperbole, and it is objectionable.

This applies to when Joe Biden said it back in day — specifically, back in the day when Lindsey Graham was all for impeachment, and saw it as his constitutional duty to pursue that course. He said the Clinton impeachment could be seen by some as a “political lynching.” Specifically, he said in 1998:

Even if the president should be impeached, history is going to question whether or not this was just a partisan lynching or whether or not it was something that in fact met the standard, the very high bar, that was set by the founders as to what constituted an impeachable offense.

He shouldn’t have said that. That metaphor was completely wrong to use. It was, as I said, gross hyperbole, and Biden was right to apologize for it, or as the BBC reported, apologise for it.

That was bad. Of course, what Trump did was considerably worse, a fact that all the Republicans who so gleefully cited the old Biden quote last night conveniently ignored.

Here’s his Tweet on the subject:

In case the reasons why it was worse escape you as well, let’s consider some of the reasons:

  • Donald Trump is president of the United States. Yes, I know we no longer expect dignity in that office, but I thought I’d mention it.
  • He was talking about himself, not speaking in defense of another. In other words, engaging in self-pity, because as you know, in Trump’s world, there’s only one person who matters.
  • He was saying the impeachment process actually is a “lynching,” leaving no doubt. Biden wasn’t directly saying that’s what the Clinton impeachment was; he was just warning that someone in the future might choose to see it that way. (A more subtle difference than the others, but a difference.)
  • Trump’s point is that impeachment is somehow extralegal, rather than what it is — the House performing its constitutional duty with full due process, just as Graham did in the Clinton instance. Biden simply questioned whether the “high bar” set by the Framers was being met.
  • And this is the biggie: Biden apologized. Don’t hold your breath waiting for Trump to do that.

So yeah: What Trump did, what he continues to do since he has not withdrawn the remark, was and is quite a bit worse.

But not the worst. That distinction is reserved for Lindsey Graham. The senator has no excuse, because he is not an ignorant, babbling idiot. He is an attorney, and given his personal experience something of an expert on impeachment. HE KNOWS BETTER.

And yet he didn’t merely say, “Oh, give Trump a break; he’s in a fragile emotional state and, as I pointed out several years back, he’s a jackass.”

No, he went beyond Trump. He said, “This is a lynching in every sense.”

“Every” sense, of course, includes the literal sense. And in case you think our senator misspoke and did not mean that, he later said it was “literally a political lynching.”

So, you see, WAY worse.

So know you have it. Bad, worse, worst.

I hope you find the distinctions helpful.

Literal lynching.

Literal lynching.

38 thoughts on “Graham does the impossible: He further abases himself

  1. bud

    Lindsey has always had in it in him to be a crass, no holds barred jerk. He has always seemed that way to me. Granted he’s going further now than ever before but come on Lindsey is an awful person and always has been. I think what may have colored Brad’s view of Graham is that the two were essentially peas in a pod when it comes to the war mongering stuff.

    1. bud

      Brad, maybe you need to go back and read some of your criticisms aimed at me when I was suggesting polluters, neocons and plutocrats need to be shown the door. You had some pretty harsh, and frankly unfair, words leveled at me for not being willing to work together with those with whom I disagree. And I agree that in some cases compromise is appropriate. But I stand by my comments and will simply not consider working with or compromising with polluters, neocons and plutocrats or Nazis or NAMBLA or many other unsavory groups. So if you want to stand on principle there is no time like the present. Perhaps you can suggest a way to compromise with Trump and Graham in their defiance of the impeachment process. Perhaps you can suggest a compromise path whereby the House passes a strongly worded censure resolution. Since you suggest we should play nice with those whom we disagree with doesn’t a suggestion like that make sense?

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      Well, there’s that, if you choose to put it that way.

      But more to the point, I have praised Lindsey over the years for other things.

      He stood against the xenophobes of his party in pushing hard for rational comprehensive immigration reform — as did W., by the way. In this he was allied with his friend McCain, and he spent a fortune in political capital on the issue.

      He also went farther than anyone in trying to end the partisan warfare over judicial confirmations. He went further out on a limb on this than anyone, including McCain. He showed that he didn’t just believe that “elections have consequences” when his party benefited, voting for Obama’s Supreme Court nominees.

      These were singular acts of political courage, and they set him distinctly apart from the great herds of Democrats and Republicans in Washington.

      I don’t take back a word of the praise I directed his way in those days, because he deserved it.

      Just as he deserves the criticism I aim at him now…

    3. Barry

      I’ve noticed Lindsey likes to curse when he’s on tv and really wants to make a point. Most Senators would never think to do that on tv. Lindsey especially likes to do it on Fox and CNN. The S word seems to be his favorite on those channels.

      He’s also one of the few that have used the F word in senate committee hearings on tv.

      classy guy.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I’m not endorsing it — such words are against the rules on this blog.

        But as a newspaperman, I have little room to condemn others’ use of strong language. We managed to keep it out of the paper, but that’s because we got it out of our systems in the newsroom…

        Occasionally here at ADCO, I forget myself and speak as though I were in a newsroom. Which means, I embarrass myself. As does Lindsey, has he any shame…

        1. Barry

          what you did at home or work isn’t the point as you know.

          And I doubt you or your former newsroom buddies would use the F word or S word on WIS in an interview on tv in the middle of the afternoon.

          Lindsey used the S word today on tv. Now this is from those “good Christians” in the Republican Party, not those “evil Dems” the right wingers keep talking about.

  2. Sally

    Brad, Lindsey is suffering from the “Mark Sanford” effect. Being known as a RINO for years in this red meat state, Lindsey became Trump’s lackey when Sanford lost the 2018 primary to a newbie legislator who received Trump’s endorsement. Lindsey was afraid of a 2020 primary challenger endorsed by Trump. If you look at the timeline, this nauseating bowing and scraping can be traced to the Sanford loss.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Oh, it was happening before that, surely. Wasn’t it?

      Here’s the thing that really gets me about this — or rather, one of the things…

      Back in his “Grahamnesty” days, when he was still a standup guy, I remember attending a GOP gathering — I think it was the state convention, and he got up to speak. This was when county party committees here and there were passing resolutions censuring him.

      The reception he got from the crowd as he stepped to the podium was decidedly, and noticeably, chilly. And he made a joke about it, and moved on, completely unfazed.

      I miss that guy.

      Yeah, I understand that being a U.S. senator is everything to Lindsey. It’s all he has, not having a family or anything. But at some point, it’s not worth hanging on any more. You can’t make a case for remaining a senator if the things you DO as senator are contemptible.

      I think he tells himself that if he won’t guide Trump on foreign affairs, who will? Yeah? How’s that working out on Syria? You see yourself having a big effect?…

      1. Barry

        Sally is correct. I noticed an obvious change in his tone after Sanford’s loss. He started on the Fox News circuit on a much more regular basis right after that defeat.

        Of course he was also scared to death of John Warren.

        He even commented on it that it was all Sanford’s fault. It was obvious what he meant since the ONLY thing that had changed about Sanford was his public opposition to Trump. Mark is always Mark.

  3. David T

    How many of you anti-Trump folks will be taking off work tomorrow to stand on the curb and shake your fist at the motorcade?

      1. David T

        I dare you to try, I’ll give you $5 for every rotten tomato and potato that you throw at the motorcade.

    1. Doug Ross

      I’ll be at the Gabbard town hall in Columbia on Saturday. Come on down comrades. Vodka shots on me. I’m really enjoying her straight up take down of has been Hillary. She may never be President, but she’s got more integrity in her pinkie than Hillary has in her entire soulless body.

      1. bud

        If I had to suffer through that crackpot’s speech I’d need a few Vodka shots. 🙂 Gabbard has all the looniness of Marriane Williamson with none of her endearing charm. What Hillary was getting at, and with good reason, Tulsi is just the type of egotistical nut that would run as a third party candidate out of spite. Hillary is concerned that if Gabbard were to do so it would draw just enough voters away from the Democrat to swing a few key states to Trump. It’s a worthy concern and I’m glad Hillary spoke out.

        1. Doug Ross

          Nobody cares what Hillary Clinton thinks. She’s trying to reconcile that she is irrelevant and the biggest loser in the history of the Democratic Party by spouting off conspiracy theories. When you’re surrounded by Lindsey Graham-level sycophants for your entire adult life, it’s easy to become sheltered from reality. Hillary lost to Donald Trump. That will be on her tombstone.

          Gabbard is clear eyed, laser focused, intelligent, ethical, and has put her life on the line for the country. Hillary has been a political animal ever since she ignored Bill’s repeated sexual misconduct to further her own ambition.

          1. Barry

            Gabbard prefers to buddy up to dictators, refuses to call them out, and seems more interested in kissing up to FoxNews that using her limited national news appearances to talk about her own ideas.

            1. Doug Ross

              When has MSNBC or CNN offered her an opportunity to speak? The other Democrats like to stay in the very friendly confines of the liberal media bubble. Which will ultimately lead to another loss in 2020 when whichever senior citizen has to face actual tough questions.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Doug, it’s really bad when you make me, of all people, stick up for cable TV news. Being sure you were wrong, I Googled, and here she is on MSNBC (telling us Assad’s not such a bad guy) and here she is on CNN.

                Personally, were I in charge of administering the resources of those outlets, I would spend little time on such a marginal person. I have always been a firm believer in spending finite resources informing people about the candidates who have a chance.

                And no, she wouldn’t be doing better in the polls if she got more exposure. She’d be doing worse. Even on issues where I appreciate her — such as her more moderate take on abortion — the more Democratic voters know, the worse she’ll do.

                On other things, Bud’s right. She’s a flake. She’s terribly naive on foreign affairs. Assad totally pulled the wool over her eyes, for instance…

                1. Doug Ross

                  Uh, the Gabbard Assad clip was from FEBRUARY. That’s not exactly the same level of access MSNBC gives to their favorites. Did you watch the whole thing? Where she was asked if Assad is a good person and she said “No”. And what did she say that is incorrect? Is Assad the enemy of the U.S.? If so, what has the U.S. done to eradicate him? What has our U.S. military accomplished in the past two decades to “fix” Syria? Nothing of consequence… because there is no reason for us to be there. There is no declared war. There is no stated objective.

                  In the other one, she says Trump must be defeated. Yes, that’s Putin at work right there.

                  Meanwhile, I would suppose Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren have open invitations to appear on Fox any time. But apparently we’re supposed to believe Joe and Liz are ready to take on China and Russia but haven’t got the guts to face Sean Hannity or Chris Wallace. I’d love to see Joe sit for 15 minutes of grilling from either of them. No chance of him doing that…

                2. Barry

                  “Gabbard’s most troubling attribute is her documented connection to the far-right Hindu nationalist, or Hindutva, movement known as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the parent organization of India’s ruling BJP party.

                  From various political angles, Gabbard has been painted almost like Democratic Party’s version of Ron Paul, a marginal force but one who is seen both on the left and the right as principled opponent to US-led war and intervention. This is why her RSS affiliation is so damning, since it very much validates a regime carrying a large-scale military occupation that many observers interpret as being rooted in anti-Muslim animus. This is hardly jumping aboard the peace train.“


                  Calling her a nut is being kind.

    2. Barry

      I’m eating breakfast with my college aged son Friday and then hitting the lake.

      If I mention Trump to my son, he’ll vomit up his food. He thinks MUCH less of Trump than I do.

      1. David T

        It may be too late, but could you tell me where you are eating breakfast, I’d like to come sit next to your table and witness this. He may need to see a gastroenterologist.

            1. Barry

              Corrrecting your posts isn’t stalking. Wanting to watch someone in person while they eat with their son is stalking- and really strange.

  4. bud

    I know Brad is a word guy so it’s understandable that a reprehensible word like lynching would right draw his ire. But to me words are not as bad as actions or even pictures. The photo accompanying this post is much more disturbing to me than the F, S or even N word. I get it Brad is trying to make a point. But I could have done without the graphic picture.

    1. bud

      In case it isn’t obvious I was referring to the black and white photo at the bottom of the post not the picture of Lindsey. Although that is pretty hard to look at also.

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