The play-acting Lindsey Graham threw a self-pitying hissy fit yesterday, which, in itself, isn't news. The aw-shucks senator is a kind of Howard Beale on barbiturates; he says the wildest, most frenetic things in the most theatrically muted ways, so as to reflect South Carolinians' intense insanity without making them think he's as crazy as they are. He has long studied this method-acting technique. I recall, for instance, when Graham as a House floor agitator during Bill Clinton's wantonly partisan impeachment bemoaned the heartbreaking partisanship of ... Democrats. It made Lindsey sad. He just didn't know if he could endure. But of course somehow he did, plucky fellow that he is.
At any rate yesterday he performed another of his controlled demolitions by excoriating not just Democrats, but everyone. The president? He's "a pathetic leader." His Democratic colleagues in the Senate? They keep "mov[ing] the ball because some poll comes out." And "Our friends in the House apparently can’t muster the votes to send something over here to open up the government. So it’s dysfunction at every level."
My favorite among that mix is the ball-moving accusation. The Dems have consistently held that two clean bills can lead to later negotiations. Perhaps they'll crack before this is all over, but for now nothing could be simpler. Re-open the government and lift the debt ceiling. Period. Then we'll talk. The only balls moving are those of the voices in Republican heads. But that's just Lindsey's Rothian theatre of demagogic puppetry, I guess.
He continued in a burst of redundancy, prefaced by some unshocking truth: "You can blame [Republicans], we’ve overplayed our hand, that’s for damn sure. But their response, where the president and [Senate majority leader are] basically shutting everybody out, and when you try to negotiate, they keep changing the terms of the deal." On the latter, see above. On the former, see early May 1945, German diplomatic feelers of staggering obviousness as a stratagem for conditional surrender.
Finally came this, the true depth of his prepubescent pissiness: "This is a very frustrated Lindsey Graham. Which is a very dangerous thing."
And there are 45 others just like you, Senator, who, along with the House toddlers with grenades, have been everybody's danger all along. Which also isn't news.