Lindsey Graham’s Evolution

Lindsey Graham flickr photo by Gage Skidmore shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

It doesn’t take the prospect of a government shut down to figure out Senator Lindsey Graham. He’s that Republican Senator from South Carolina. I like his teeth for some reason.

Anyway, Graham has had an odd relationship with the President leading up to their current blossoming friendship. During Trump’s campaign, he referred to Trump as a “xenophobic, race-baiting religious bigot.” But Graham has openly acquiesced to Trump winning the 2016 election. “I ran out of things to say. He won,” is essentially the Senator’s position.

It sums up the experience by most Republicans in Congress. A new avatar of right-wing ideology is here, and dissenters are punished, if not by violence, then by voters. Graham might have found the winning formula to survive as a Republican politician, combine the admission of defeat with support of the president, while adding a fine mixture of compliments and mild criticism.

Graham seems to think that race is irrelevant to the president’s view of a human being (I disagree), and that being as sweet as blueberry jam is the key to dealing with POTUS. If you are a Republican on Capitol Hill, appealing to the ego of a maniac is probably the way to go. Again, I believe that in Trump’s mind, race is highly relevant, since historically, he has demonstrated racism in policy but also language (which seems like you can make the argument that as POTUS, policy isn’t entirely distinct from a pattern of language).

As Trump surveys the wreckage caused by his White House, Bannon’s anchor no longer provides much-needed perceptual goggles to him. So, someone else steps up to the plate. Why not Graham? You don’t need to be a part of the White House staff to influence the president. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has experienced limited success with attempting to influence Trump in the past.

Bannon was given a a burial at sea earlier this month, so that left Donald without a firm anchor. Even when Bannon was booted from his post as Chief Strategist, he maintained a solid connection with the White House by continuing to provide the service of state-run media for the president.

Graham has slithered into Bannon’s place. While he might act the part of establishment politician, in some ways this is a worse combination than a firebrand steering the yoke of our donkey-in-chief. Establishment language melded to incendiary language really is a disturbing combination. Let’s see how long it lasts.


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