We’ve all puzzled and puzzled till our puzzlers were sore about what the hell happened to Lindsey Graham.
The guy who used to kind of make sense (at least compared to the other troglo-dipshits in the GOP) appears to have made a complete 180 from the lofty, rarefied principles of his longtime friend John McCain straight into the greasy eel pond of Donald Trump.
Now, I’m not a huge John McCain fan or anything, but compared to Trump the late senator was Siddhartha Gautama with two more abandoned children. (The Buddha only abandoned one — according to legend, anyway. And, to be fair, the Buddha left his family to pursue enlightenment and save all sentient beings from the yoke of suffering, whereas McCain left his to pursue Cindy McCain.)
Anyway, the point is, John McCain and Donald Trump couldn’t have been much more different, and yet Lindsey Graham has stayed within ass-kissing range of both during various times in his career.
I didn’t get it, and I’ve always been among those who at least suspected that Graham is being blackmailed by “somebody.” And that may yet prove to be true — but former McCain campaign strategist Steve Schmidt has an alternate explanation, and I have to say it’s fairly compelling.
In a recent Rolling Stone feature titled “How Lindsey Graham Lost His Way,” Schmidt insisted that Graham hasn’t really changed at all — because he’s always been a kiss-ass, and Trump’s ass is simply the most convenient place to pucker up these days.
“People try to analyze Lindsey through the prism of the manifest inconsistencies that exist between things that he used to believe and what he’s doing now,” Schmidt says. “The way to understand him is to look at what’s consistent. And essentially what he is in American politics is what, in the aquatic world, would be a pilot fish: a smaller fish that hovers about a larger predator, like a shark, living off of its detritus. That’s Lindsey. And when he swam around the McCain shark, broadly viewed as a virtuous and good shark, Lindsey took on the patina of virtue. But wherever the apex shark is, you find the Lindsey fish hovering about, and Trump’s the newest shark in the sea. Lindsey has a real draw to power — but he’s found it unattainable on his own merits.”
Ouch, that stings. But, hey, it also rings true, doesn’t it?
Schmidt also addresses the seeming cognitive dissonance between being John McCain’s best friend and continually genuflecting before Trump, a man who insulted and debased McCain, even after the latter’s death.
“We see more examples of this in film and literature, but there are instances of principled men and women laying down their careers in service of what is right. Clearly, that person will never be Lindsey Graham. With regard to the cruelty and abuse that was directed at John McCain by Trump, I think Lindsey’s flaccidity in defending him says a lot about his character. Nobody wants to be in a bar fight when they go out on Friday night. But when someone walks up and punches your best friend in the face, you’ve got to do something. Lindsey has demonstrated he’s the guy who runs out the door.”
And there you have it. Graham’s feckless friendship toward McCain and his absurd obeisance to Trump may be easier to explain than any of us thought. He’s a weak man and a coward. There you go. Occam’s razor. Boom.
So, he’s in the right party, anyway.
(Also, we can help roust him out of office. Yay!)
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