What to make of John McCain’s close friend and confidant Lindsey (Et tu, Brute) Graham? As his friend lay dying, Lindsey was kissing up to his best friend’s unrepentant tormentor. Graham is my Senator and I receive random news clips from his Senate Office extolling the virtues of his service to South Carolina. I remember a better Graham who stood up to the Broadway Bully during the 2016 primaries. I even thought that he had been shortchanged during the debates by being denied a place at the “big boy” debate. Lindsey was relegated to the second tier debates and often seemed to be the most knowledgeable candidate in either group.
When he opined that the frontrunning dolt was “bat-shit crazy” and didn’t deserve the support of the Republican Party for president, I thought I understood why he might be a friend to the outspoken McCain. It sure sounded like “country first.” Being a Democrat in South Carolina is an experience that one must experience. But at that moment it seemed that Graham was willing to speak truth to power and lead a Republican charge denying Trump the nomination.
Now, it seems, Graham stepped into the batshit he warned us about earlier. Once he discerned that Trump’s base could rise up and hurt his own chances for reelection in 2020, Lindsey performed a version of the Lindy Hop—taking a long leap of shame—as the official Senate apologist for his best friend’s detractor. By providing cover for the firing of Jeff Sessions:
“We need an attorney general that can work with the president, that can lead the Department of Justice,”
Graham’s statement belies the facts that Trump’s relationships with most, including his best friend, can be declared “beyond repair’ based upon Trump’s mood or his fear of being impeached. Graham also conveniently forgets the role of the Attorney General whose job description does not include the need to work with or for a president. In this case, Graham is dealing with his own form of fecal matters
And so, while his best friend lay dying, Graham pronounced with great dudgeon, that the president he lay cover for “pisses me off…” when he attacked McCain’s heroism and leadership—as the SC Republican extends his potty directed allusions. Within a few days, Graham’s ire is again tested as his new, more alive best friend, continued his assault on McCain even in death. Instead, Graham gushes
“He (Trump) called yesterday after my speech and he couldn’t have been nicer. He said, ‘That was very sad. I just want to let you know you did right by your friend.’ I said, Thank you Mr. President.'”
I picture Graham, fussing and all gushy, pleased with himself because the president told him what he most wanted to hear—that he “did right” by his friend, John McCain, and the America he served, deserved better–far better.
Finally, as his friend was lowered to his eternal rest, Graham felt the need to defend his indefensible behavior in this season of Trump. To say that McCain and an earlier Graham held to a political worldview that was anathema to this president is looking through a glass, darkly. To have lived through it is to know the truth we would never have surmised. Lindsey Graham may have “loved” his departed friend, but as his friend’s life waned, political reality took hold. In a convoluted argument following his claim of being both pissed off and disturbed by Trump’s treatment of McCain, Graham professed that he was operating on another plane of reality—a plane he now shared with Trump:
“I am not going to give up on the idea of working with this president,” said Graham. “The best way I can honor John McCain is to help my country.”
And so, by helping a deeply disturbed president (allegedly guilty of crimes up to and including treason) Graham would have us believe that he somehow had the imprimatur of his dear friend to further Trump’s undemocratic agenda. The friend, by the way, whom Trump declared was no American hero, had left unambiguous directions for his funeral telling the world of his disdain for the renegade comrade-in-chief. Uninvited and undeserved, the president decided to show his own disdain by playing golf and tweeting a cheap response McCain’s daughter’s heartfelt eulogy. And to her observation,
“The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again, because America was always great,”
The petulant president tweeted out in all caps “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” One can picture a little man with his thumbs twiddling madly—tongue out and brain unengaged.
Graham is peddling a self-preserving pseudo philosophy generally recognized by more honest men as the bullshit he detects among his critics. Only he doesn’t realize that the stench he recognizes is his own. And to those who wish to believe that there is a method to his madness, let it be known that he cannot have it both ways. Graham, neither hero nor maverick, has chosen a profile in cowardice and deception.
As America’s flags are once again at full staff, and as the Mueller probe to uncover the truth about Russian interference in our national election drone on, Graham has joined forces with the enemy. Patriots will one day soon right this wrong. As in every assault on our nation’s honor, there will be casualties. Both patriots and traitors will suffer losses. McCain, for all his conservative views and maverick ways, will be counted among the Patriots. Graham, unfortunately, will be left to wonder how he became the friend of his best friend’s enemy,