Lindsey Graham throws away his very last excuse

Graham speaking about the vote in question.

Ever since Lindsey Graham apparently went stark, raving mad in 2016, a person inclined to make excuses for him might have said, “Well, he’s just getting close to the madman in order to be close enough to hold him in check.” Particularly on national security issues, because the madman is particularly dangerous there. (Did you notice him once again attacking NATO and defending Putin the other day?)

That would be the last excuse that anyone could possibly offer for Lindsey constantly licking Trump’s shoes. And occasionally, he has in the past given indications of this, as when he strongly protested Trump’s outrageous abandonment of U.S. allies in Syria in 2019:

“This impulsive decision by the President has undone all the gains we’ve made, thrown the region into further chaos. Iran is licking their chops. And if I’m an ISIS fighter I’ve got a second lease on life. So to those who think ISIS has been defeated you will soon see,” Graham said during an interview on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends.”

“I hope I’m making myself clear how shortsighted and irresponsible this decision is in my view,” the South Carolina Republican added….

Yeah, you did. That time.

But look at what he did this week. When Mitch McConnell was trying to pass a deal to send Ukraine the aid it desperately needs, this happened:

This was something that McConnell obviously cared about. You heard him there. But for the senators more closely aligned with Donald Trump’s anti-alliance, America-first wing, this is just not the kind of foreign commitment that makes sense. Let’s focus on South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham for a second. He’s long been emblematic of this kind of pro-military intervention, pro-military aid, robust leader of the free world Republican mindset. But he’s also grown close to Donald Trump, right? Last night, in a statement, he announced his opposition to this deal and called for changes to the bill in the House when it gets to the House that Trump had suggested. In some ways, that’s a surprise coming from him, given his policy legacy. But it’s also just kind of part and parcel of the fact that this Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney, John McCain era of the Republican Party is basically at a close…

That’s it, Lindsey. You’ve thrown away your last excuse…

18 thoughts on “Lindsey Graham throws away his very last excuse

  1. Doug Ross

    How much more money we don’t have are you willing to spend to keep the civil war in Ukraine from ending? Is there no end to these endless wars that do nothing but line the pockets of the defense industry? How is it that Putin is the greatest threat to the United States but the politicians don’t actually want to do anything to take him out? It’s a long con that’s been going on since the early 1960’s… there’s no incentive to try to work toward peace when there are unlimited deficit funded tax dollars to spend on war.

    I bet Putin thinks it is hilarious that we have a government willing to go into debt to arm a country with no chance of beating Russia while people in America can’t get healthcare, education, or protection from millions of illegal immigrants crossing our border.

    And then we send billions more to Israel with no concern for how they wage their own civil war that has killed tens of thousands of innocent people.

    Lindsey is just being the Lindsey the rest of us have recognized for long before 2016. The shape shifting weathervane chickenhawk… nothing new to see here.

      1. Doug Ross

        Wrong. This is what libertarians believe. I don’t support Trump. He’s just a different version of the same military supporters.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I don’t know what that last part means, but my point is, you’re explaining the isolationist viewpoint, common to Trump, Charles Lindbergh, etc.:

          How much more money we don’t have are you willing to spend to keep the civil war in Ukraine from ending? Is there no end to these endless wars that do nothing but line the pockets of the defense industry? How is it that Putin is the greatest threat to the United States but the politicians don’t actually want to do anything to take him out?

          The difference between you and Trump, of course, is that he deeply admires Putin, and will essentially do anything for him.

          Perhaps you can explain that “the politicians don’t actually want to do anything to take him out?” What are you suggesting? Send in U.S. troops? Keep it mind that Putin would then have nothing to lose, and he’s got nukes.

          Providing the material — and materiel — that Ukraine needs to defend itself is essentially doing everything you can to help, short of direct military intervention.

          This is like lend/lease back when the folks like Lindbergh wouldn’t let FDR go ahead and defend Britain and the rest of Europe. It’s what was possible at that moment in time…

          1. Doug Ross

            If Putin is the threat you think he is to world peace, then take him out. Tucker Carlson got within 5 feet of him. We don’t need to use battalions of troops in 2024. We have drones, missiles, special forces, CIA agents poisoning him.. the list of options is all there if you REALLY want to take out Putin. You think his replacement will be worse? Or is that just not how it’s done?

            That’s the problem with war… it’s people like Putin and Biden sending poor people to fight battles… for what purpose? What is the endgame here? Another 20 year worthless endeavor like Afghanistan? What is the objective we are trying to achieve that benefits the United States?

            Call me an isolationist.. I’m fine with that. We don’t have the resources to be both the world’s policeman AND take care of our own people. The ONLY reason we pretend to do both is that we use deficit spending. How many Americans would support sending money to Ukraine or Israel if it meant cutting the same spending from somewhere else? Let’s abolish the IRS and the Department of Education and send that money overseas. Let’s cut Social Security to pay for bombs in Ukraine — because WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER! It’s so easy to make the decision to send billions overseas when you don’t actually have to come up with the real money to pay for it.

  2. Ken

    Graham is an insufferable scold and an opportunist with daddy issues. And he again demonstrated just how much of a demagogue he is by agreeing with Trump that aid to Ukraine should be “a loan, not a gift.” The vast majority of the aid goes to US defense contractors. to produce weapons for Ukraine! Such garbage this man spouts.

    Now, instead of going to the Munich Conference, he’ll be heading to the border for a demagogic photo-op, apparently because he thinks the “paroling” issue (a necessary practice unless you really want to lock up tens of thousands of people, a very expensive proposition) is more important than aid to Ukraine.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      And this from the man who used to work so hard at trying to bring about a rational approach to immigration, at considerable political risk.

      I really think he’s a candidate for serious professional help….

    2. Doug Ross

      Where does the money come from that is going to Ukraine and Israel? How is it funded? Saying it goes back to defense contractors isn’t the win you think it is. If it’s just about funneling deficit funding that prop up the economy, what don’t we just cut out the middleman and give the people directly to U. S. citizens and, you know, cut out all the killing of Innocent people? 90 billion would cover a lot of school loans, infrastructure, and a public health option
      . You know, the things Joe Biden said he do…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author


        “what don’t we just cut out the middleman and give the people directly to U. S. citizens”

        The point is to save Ukraine — and Europe, and the world — from Putin’s aggression? That’s pretty essential. Two world wars in a century was enough.

        I really can’t think of anything more essential the U.S. should be doing than that.

        And what I’m saying only fails to make sense if you don’t give a damn about the rest of the world. But we kind of have to. We learned that after WWI. We walked away (despite Wilson’s efforts) and wrapped ourselves back in our cozy isolationist blanket (“minding our own business,” right?), and that led to WWII. After that, we learned that the world’s most powerful nation has to accept responsbility for what’s going on in the world. I know you don’t believe that, but it’s true…

      2. Ken

        Someone once wrote that the purpose of freedom is to help free others. Economic llbertarians cannot pursue that purpoose because they are slaves to money. It is at the center of their every consideration.

  3. Barry

    Lindsey and Tim Scott have simply transformed themselves into Donald Trump cultists.

    Lindsey and Tim would defend Trump if those supposed long rumored Apprentice outtakes of him using racial epithets were ever released.

    They would defend him if he said US miliary service members should be ashamed of themselves for serving our country. They’d defend him if he said something like “Those serving in Vietnam were losers and suckers”

    They’d defend him if he bragged about grabbing women by the genitalia.

    Tim Scott defended Trump this morning when asked about Trump insulting Haley’s husband as he served overseas on deployment.

    They’d defend him no matter what.

    Graham nor Tim Scott have any morals and that’s what makes it so easy for them.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      It’s two different cases. At least with Tim, it seemed to happen over time, step by step. More like the GOP — it took a bit of time for the whole party to bow down.

      With Lindsey, it was like a thunderbolt. One minute, he was Trump’s wisecrackingest critic in the GOP, and everybody was enjoying what he had to say about the guy. Minutes later, it seemed, he was Trump’s most desperately devoted lackey.

      And no, it’s not lack of morals. As I’ve said before, Tim Scott came along after I left the paper, so I don’t know him at all — never even met him. But I think he’s a guy with morals, and they matter to him.

      But he has profound weaknesses. As does Lindsey — and with Lindsey, the failure is more spectacular…

      Things like that happen in politics. And in business, of course. But I’ve never seen it happen so quickly, so publicly or so pathetically…

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