The only man who looked more foolish than Attorney General Bill Barr at this week’s Senate Judiciary hearing was Sen. Lindsey Graham. Graham, the committee chair, quickly admitted he hadn’t read the full Mueller Report. This seems like an abdication of his duties or at least a failure to finish his homework. Then he took valuable time to read some old personal texts from FBI agents that called Trump “a fucking idiot.” None of this made Graham look like a focused and serious leader. Even if you love Trump, you have to admit that the man often acts like an f-ing idiot. Between the flag hugging and the off-the-cuff calls for violence and the strange obsession with his own daughter’s sex appeal, I think there’s good evidence that the president is not exactly brimming with intelligence and good judgment.
Neither, it seems, is Lindsey Graham.
Graham called Trump a “race-baiting xenophobic bigot” just a few years ago, but that Graham no longer exists. It’s no surprise. Graham is a sad little chameleon of a man who attaches himself to more powerful men and rides along hoping to sop up some of the residual attention and glory. Every now and then he disagrees with his hero du jour in an effort to show the rest of us that he really can think for himself. I don’t buy it. I think Graham might actually disappear if he were forced to stand on his own convictions.
Let’s take a look at some of what Lindsey Graham has said on the matter of presidential conduct:
“Don’t cheat in a lawsuit by manipulating the testimony of others. Don’t send public officials and friends to tell your lies before a federal grand jury to avoid your legal responsibilities. Don’t put your legal and political interests ahead of the rule of law and common decency.”Lindsey Graham
“The point I’m trying to make is you don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if this body determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role.Lindsey Graham
If this sounds like Graham is making a plea for the president to tell the truth and to avoid trying to influence the testimony of his associates—well, he is. But not for the current president. Graham thinks it’s a-okay for the current president to do these things. These quotes are from the Bill Clinton years. Graham was a different man then.
For years, Graham swung through the Senate halls on John McCain’s coattails. I disagreed with a lot of what McCain put forth and I don’t know that I’ll ever forgive him for unleashing the Palin clan into our national awareness, but he was a man of strong convictions. He was a war hero. He obviously believed in America and he believed his work would make it better. Graham made a decent choice when he hopped on the McCain train, but when his mentor died he wasted no time in jumping straight into the Trump jalopy. I don’t know how anyone can take Graham seriously about anything at this point. He has no credibility and it’s clear that his allegiance is not to America. I don’t even know if his allegiance is to the Republican party. I suspect Graham’s only real allegiance is to Lindsey Graham. He has, to quote a former congressman, put his own “political interests ahead of the rule of law and common decency”
Graham isn’t the only senator who failed to distinguish himself during Barr’s testimony. Senators on both sides of the aisle used their time to grandstand and make self-serving speeches. The one person who came out looking stronger and smarter than everyone else in the room is Sen. Kamala Harris. She was focused, direct, and unwavering. Barr stuttered, stammered, and dodged her questions. He looked like a man who’d been caught sneaking in after dark with lipstick on his collar. Harris, of course, is one of dozens of candidates vying to win the Democratic nomination for president. I’d be happy to see her get it. I’d love to see how Trump would fare against Harris in a debate.
But back to Graham. The most ridiculous thing Graham has said regarding the Mueller report and Barr’s assessment on obstruction charges, is that it isn’t illegal to attempt to commit a crime. By saying this (repeatedly), Graham is basically conceding that Trump tried to break the law, but didn’t succeed. That’s not high praise. And what of that younger Graham, who argued that a person needn’t be convicted of a crime to be removed from office? It doesn’t matter. Graham is wrong on this as he is on so many other things. There are many examples where an attempt to break the law is more than enough to get you convicted—or impeached.
Lindsey Graham likes to present himself as an important man, but he will be no more than a blip in the history of our country. Before attaching himself to Trump, he’d probably have been forgotten. Now, I suspect he’ll be a footnote in the story of how a corrupt real estate developer and c-list television personality conned his way into the presidency and attempted to tear down America. The footnote will be that Lindsey Graham helped him do it. Congrats, Sen. Graham, you have a legacy.