No, the gentleman from South Carolina was too stuck in his own conservative outrage machine. So instead of using the Amy Coney Barrett hearings to delight his base of handmaidens, Lindsey used his perch on the Senate Judiciary Committee to complain about being out-raised by his Democratic opponent, Jaime Harrison: “I don’t know what’s going on out there, but I can tell you there’s a lot of money been raised in this campaign. I’d like to know where the hell some of it’s coming from.” Lindsey also used the opportunity to complained about Citizen’s United, which might have come as a big surprise to Graham’s evil twin, Mitch McConnell.
But that was not Lindsey’s only misstep. At one bizarre moment, he even mused about the “good old days of segregation.” (Not a great look for a white Southern senator.) He later said he was being sarcastic, but why should a Southern white man be given the benefit of the doubt that he was joking about racism, especially one who also “joked” in his debate with Harrison that Black people in South Carolina should feel safe anywhere in their state—as long as they were “conservative.”
And then there was Lindsey’s anti-Obamacare monologue. Perhaps Lindsey forgot that taking away people’s healthcare during a pandemic is not the most popular move, as Democrat after Democrat argued during the Barrett hearings.
But Graham wasn’t having it. “From my point of view, Obamacare has been a disaster for the state of South Carolina.” Graham began. “All of you over there want to impose Obamacare on South Carolina. We don’t want it. We want something better. We want something different. You know, what we want in South Carolina? South Carolina-care, not Obamacare.”
There is just one problem, after nearly four years in the White House, Trump has yet to explain what this “something better” is. (He also dodged a question about his missing health care plan during his NBC town hall on Thursday, with a dogged Savannah Guthrie pressing him to explain where the much-promised plan was.) Like his newfound hero, Lindsey also neglected to elaborate on what this “something better” was.
Later after the hearings, Lindsey started fundraising in the Senate building—which is an ethics no-no. (I mean I know we don’t hear a lot about ethics anymore, and yet.) Graham said, “I think people in South Carolina are excited about Judge Barrett.” Graham, who has been in the Senate for 18 years, said, “I don’t know how much it affected fundraising today, but if you want to help me close the gap . . . Lindsey Graham dot com — a little bit goes a long way.” Needless to say the next day, there were two ethics complains filed against Lindsey.
Will Lindsey Graham get reelected? It’s anyone’s guess, the polling is all over the place, from R+6 to D+1. But even if he gets re-elected, there’s a sense in which Lindsey has already destroyed himself. A former supporter of Graham, the law professor Benjamin Edwards told the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart, “I’m bothered by the fact that Lindsey Graham did not stand up for his friend John McCain.” Added Edwards: “If he won’t stand up for his best friend then what will he do for me?” If you don’t have any values than what’s the point? It you stand for nothing at all, why be in government? Why bother?
Did Lindsey Graham bring this on himself when he willingly decided to throw his lot in with the orange-hued charlatan in the White House and compromising all his principles to him? The short answer is yes. Lindsey cared about one thing and one thing only: power and his desperate desire to keep it. And this may be the thing that causes him to lose it.
And he will deserve it.