See video below …
I almost feel sorry for Lindsey Graham. Graham is one of the few national figures of the GOP that I have some respect for. I disagree with him often, of course, but Graham lives in the real world. Unfortunately, Graham is a pretty staunch and loyal ‘company guy’ when it comes to his chosen party. So, when given a choice between Trump and Cruz, the South Carolina Senator pretty much has to chose Cruz — even if he can’t stand him.
Cruz is a ‘fellow conservative’ and a party guy. Trump is using the GOP as his punch-line en route to a possible nomination for the Republican party. Someone like Graham at the end of the day just can’t have that.
Getting there, however, hasn’t been easy for Graham. In fact, it is safe to say that Graham’s endorsement, like many of the endorsements Cruz has gotten in this race, especially as of late now that he is the only ‘viable alternative’ to Trump appears as if they were coerced through torture. Graham has decided to make a deal with the devil to stop Trump and he really isn’t hiding it. He has decided eating his own words is a small sacrifice to save his party from totally imploding like one of Trump’s buildings after it has gone bankrupt.
This morning, Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC’s Morning Joe opened up her interview with Graham by making him watch his own slow and painful de-evolution into actually endorsing a guy he openly despises. The clip takes us through Graham’s ‘five stages of acceptance’ — denial, anger, bargaining, depression and his current state of acceptance. The Senator is visibly embarrassed to watch. After watching himself go through all these stages he even remarks on how painful watching it was. The clip shows both how Graham has been forced to weakly endorse Cruz and the slow train wreck his party has become.
Graham went on throughout the interview to make several stark statements about his chosen party and the ‘conservative movement.’ He admits that John Kasich is a better candidate and person vs Cruz, but won’t endorse him because he does not believe he can win. He also admits that the GOP will ‘probably lose in 2016.’
The rest of the time, Graham lays into Trump for his many irresponsible and untrue statements / positions. He also explains the difference between ‘close’ to a majority and an actual majority.
‘Being close counts I guess in horseshoes, but not in politics. If I am one vote short (of a majority) in South Carolina, I have a run-off. So I don’t want a lecture about what happens if you are close to a majority. If we don’t have a majority, there’s a process called balloting.’
‘Here’s my concern, we can lose in 2016 and we probably will. ... I’m not going to stand behind the guy who gets David Duke’s support.’
Graham is focusing on the long-term survival of his party, and despite what some on the far left think of the GOP and associate it with racism — it is good to see someone like Graham come along and reject that old ‘southern strategy’ mentality. I don’t have to agree with Graham on GOP policy to see that he is at least standing up for some halfway respectable standards from a human perspective. He’s had to make a deal with the devil to do it, which is why I only almost feel sorry for Graham and the pickle he is in. He and his fellow republicans have made this bed that they all now must lie in. They made it by either stoking or remaining silent as the GOP has gone down a path of increasing paranoia and religious insanity.
Or as my friend Jim Wright put it so well:
20 years of increasing religious extremism, 8 years of raging insanity and paranoia and conspiracy theories treated as reasoned debate, a decade of letting carnival barkers and talk radio dictate their platform and agenda, of promising to make good on their obsessed baseless vendetta against Obama and Clinton and never being able to deliver, this bizarre myth of guns and small government and gross selfishness, THIS is what groomed the Republican Party for a hostile takeover by a lunatic.
At least Graham is owning up to it and doing what he sees as the best alternative. While the Trump fans brag that their guy ‘tells it like it is’ despite every fact checker showing otherwise in about 75 percent of the cases, Graham has actually proven himself to be the ‘straight-shooter’ of the party. The good, bad and ugly. He’s a shameless hawk, but 75 percent of the cases, Graham has actually proven himself to be the ‘straight-shooter’ of the party. The good, bad and ugly. He’s a shameless hawk, but at least he served in the military (not exactly on the front lines as a JAG attorney, but hey …). He’s a party man and makes no excuses for it. He has stood up to the party on immigration on some levels at least and on most issues remains pretty consistent, whether I agree or disagree.
I wouldn’t vote for Graham just as he wouldn’t vote for Clinton or Sanders. I can respect that he, unlike many in the party, does have some moral compass if not in his politics, in his humanness. It is unrealistic to expect that those on the other side of the aisle as us are going to agree on a lot of policy, but I think Graham is the kind of opposition they would like to have more of. He can be honest about the state of his wrecked party because he’s been straight about it in the past. Despite the pain of watching it being replayed, he can also joke about it afterwards. He’s partisan, but not a robot. He believes in the party, he believes in the political process and playing by the rules. He’s a guy who while is a conservative, can at least on some issues look at things with a ‘this is where we are now’ view vs someone who is so trapped in their ideology that they can’t adjust to the reality of a situation.
Both sides of the aisle could use some more of this.
Check out the full interview with Mika Brzezinski and the Morning Joe team here … depending on where you sit on the political fence, it could be a painful or joyful experience watching this frank and honest mea culpa that is rare in today’s politics on any side of the aisle.