There was a lot of laughter at Lindsey Graham’s expense this morning on Morning Joe, but it wasn’t cruel. Indeed, the alternative to the laughter was an angry rant, laden with examples of hypocrisy, split personality, and an empty soul, devoid of any meaning deeper than that which is politically expedient for Trump that day. The video we’ve all seen, the one in which Graham talks about Biden being as fine a man as God ever made, was part of the underlying premise, which is ironic. There was a point in time that many, even a lot of Democrats, might have said something similar about Lindsey Graham.
Many people who never worked in Washington fail to understand that for a period, maybe 10-15 years, call it roughly 2000 to 2015, Lindsey Graham was easily one of the most well-liked Republican senators among Democrats. If you were a young intern in DC for a summer or year and kind of sniggered at something Graham said, it would get a quick rebuke; “No, man, Lindsey’s a good guy, he’s not like that.”
And no, it was not that he was close to John McCain and more independent. It was that he was actually a good guy. There is a reason he was so close to Joe Biden. Democrats also went more out of their way than some Republicans to protect Lindsey’s personal life.
Even as Trump came on to the scene as president, very few people remember, that for the first year and a half or so, Lindsey was one of the Senators trusted to hold Trump in check – and he did, especially with Russia. Lindsey was not an automatic MAGA, more Romney than Johnson. That was then.
And then John McCain died and shortly thereafter, Trump and Lindsey went golfing. Trump was never going to get along with McConnell, and would never “own” McConnell, at least not in the way Trump would want. So Trump and Graham went golfing. The rest is history. It would be interesting to see Lindsey’s score on the front nine verses that on the back. Was there a threat? An offer? Or did Lindsey just like being close to power again? The last one seems impossible to believe. Neither of the first two can be proven. All anyone knows is that, though Trump has more loyal Senators, he doesn’t have a more powerful Senator that is entirely loyal.
The situation naturally lends itself to mocking Graham especially on the morning after January 6th. For a time last year, when it looked like Trump had finally gone way too far and would never, ever, be welcome back in American politics, one could almost see the relief in Lindsey when he said he was “done” with Trump, “count me out.”
Of course, as Trump came back, it appears Lindsey was under an obligation to be there, too. And that is what made juxtaposing yesterday, of a year ago, so entertaining. Scarborough noted:
“Lindsey’s consistency, we were just talking about him on the floor, and I can’t do it with a straight face, I’m sorry. Here’s Lindsey yesterday, he said, ‘What brazen politicization of Jan. 6 by President Biden.’ How dare he say the same thing yesterday that I said a year ago! That’s not in the tweet, actually.
No, that’s not the tweet, the tweet is much worse:
What brazen politicization of January 6 by President Biden.
I wonder if the Taliban who now rule Afghanistan with al-Qaeda elements present, contrary to President Biden’s beliefs, are allowing this speech to be carried?
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 6, 2022
Joe then pointed out that Graham had so little to work with, in part, because Graham was being such an obvious hypocrite.
“I’m a little confused here, I’m not exactly sure what the Taliban has to do with the United States Capitol being attacked and Lindsey being so angry — he said, ‘I’m done with him, I’m off the Trump train,’ and again, I think three people and a hound dog bothered him at Reagan National Airport and he melted down. This guy, he’s all over the place. I mean, Biden’s an angel, Biden’s a devil.
Biden is an angel and Graham knows it. The problem, at least in many people’s opinion, is that Lindsey isn’t entirely in control of what Lindsey says anymore. Whether it is just normal Trump pressure or more is ….
“When we were young kids there was a movie called ‘Sybil’ and it freaked me out. I think Sybil had about 48 personalities. I don’t know if Lindsey has 48, but he’s getting close. I have known him for a long, long time, there are many layers of that onion to peel. One day Joe Biden is the greatest guy of all time, peel back the onion — he’s the devil, he’s the enabler of the Taliban. Peel back the onion, he’s off the Trump train, peel back another layer, whoops, look at that. There’s an image in that layer of him golfing at Mar-A-Lago after he said he was done with Donald Trump.”
Come on, Joe. Everyone knows there are only two Lindseys. The real one, the “count me out” and “Joe Biden is as fine a man…” Lindsey, and the one that isn’t real, the Trump Lindsey. As to why there are two so obviously different Grahams? Very few people know and it’s more likely than not that we’ll never learn.
Jason Miciak is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is originally from Canada but grew up in the Pacific Northwest as a dual Canadian-American citizen, which he grows increasingly thankful for every day. He now enjoys life as a single dad, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast, getting advice from his beloved daughter and teammate. He is very much the dreamy mystic that cannot add and loves dogs more than most people. He also likes studying cooking, theoretical physics, cosmology, and quantum mechanics. He likes pizza.
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