#PrimaryGraham was a trending hashtag on twitter earlier this week referring to the effort to put up a strong primary opponent to Senator Lindsey Graham in the Republican primary in South Carolina. Graham has been a thorn in the side of conservatives for a long time. He does damage to the GOP whenever possible. Like his best friend forever, John McCain, he considers himself a maverick while he carries water for the GOP establishment. But the winds could be changing.
There was interest in primarying Graham prior to this week, but the events of Wednesday seemed to have changed everything. At 11:47 am, Senator Rand Paul took the floor of the Senate to filibuster the nomination of CIA Director John Brennan until the White House explained what the domestic drone policy was, something Brennan has been heavily involved with. It was a heroic display as the Senator stood for thirteen hours without going to the bathroom. His speech inspired conservative Republicans like Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) to join him on the floor while also uniting establishment types such as Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL). House members came to support him. Democrat Ron Wyden (D-OR), who has been outstanding on the drone issue, came down to the floor. Moreover, the fight united most of the party in a way that it hadn’t been united prior.
While Paul was on the Senate floor with Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Jerry Moran (R-KS), taking it straight to Obama, Harry Reid and Dick Durban on their unwillingness to openly discuss when our government can kill Americans, John McCain and Lindsey Graham were being wined and dined by the President. After dinner, McCain came outside to give the media a thumbs up. He had enjoyed his fancy dinner with the President. To be sure, other GOP Senators were at the dinner, but they didn’t make the next moves that the Graham/McCain machine did.
The next day, the Graham/McCain machine began viciously attacking Paul.
Strangely, Senator McCain referenced Paul and Cruz as “wacko birds” after earlier saying that Rand’s impassioned speech were not part of a “mature debate or discussion.”
Graham accused the party of taking a different stance than “we” had with President Bush. He built up the straw man that it was opportunism that opened this discussion and thus not legally valid. Graham failed to mention that at least two American citizens have been assassinated under Obama, something that never happened under Bush. He also failed to speak to the fact that his neoconservative views on terrorism are completely out of the mainstream and as a result of this all of the senators involved in the filibuster – Paul, Cruz, Lee and Rubio were not U.S. Senators when George Bush was president.
Finally, in classic asshole fashion, Graham stated “I was going to vote against Brennan until the filibuster. So he picked up one vote! ” Um, good for you? I guess you’ll show civil libertarians.
With these comments aimed at members of his own party, Lindsey Graham has embarrassed himself, the GOP and the state of South Carolina. Graham loves being adored by the media and couldn’t stand not being the 24-hour news cycle darling for his date with the President.
Many have pointed out the stark contrast between leaders staying late into the night, forgoing food, rest and bathroom breaks to fight for America while other Senators went on a group date with the president. While there is nothing inherently wrong with dining with Obama, it really showed us who is fighting for us and who is concerned with snuggling up closer to power.
Lindsey Graham is now blasting the administration for bringing a criminal to New York for trial. He wants him tortured first, and then taken to be held indefinitely without trial at Guantanamo. Meanwhile, he works in the shadows to pass an immigration bill that many of his constituents don’t want. He continues to go-on-and-on about the mishandling of Benghazi while touting more war in every corner of every Middle East desert. Last week, it was Graham that was talking about ending sequestration.
This guy is the worst kind of hawk and when your desire is to spend all of our money on overseas wars, you can’t also be interested in taking care of the debt at home. Look for Graham to soon blunt any savings from sequestration with more war spending.
I hope that as Paul’s star continues to rise, people will lose interest in Graham. It would be a huge favor to the American people if the great state of South Carolina would primary Lindsey Graham. We could do so much better than him.