Sunday, October 07, 2018


In Frank Bruni's column about Lindsey Graham, the key word is "sad."
Lindsey Graham Is the Saddest Story in Washington

... Graham is special. He really is. I can’t think of another Republican whose journey from anti-Trump outrage to pro-Trump obsequiousness was quite so illogical or half as sad, and his conduct during the war over Kavanaugh completed it.

... Trump’s belittling of [Graham's friend John] McCain never ceased, and Graham took proper offense — for a while. Then Trump became president, started inviting Graham to play golf and Graham parted ways with his nerve and his spine....

That’s the sad part I mentioned. And this is the absolutely pathetic twist: McCain, battling brain cancer, stopped spending much time in Washington, and as his health deteriorated, Graham’s ardor and cheerleading for Trump intensified. McCain, you see, wasn’t just Graham’s friend. He was his road to greater relevance. And Trump presented a veritable expressway. So Graham switched vehicles and directions, and pressed the pedal to the metal.
But why is this sad? What was the result for Graham?
Shocker of shockers: He now has a nearly open line to the president and the president in turn calls him.
So flattering a powerful narcissist is working for Graham. (You could argue that Graham was doing the same thing with McCain.) What else resulted?
He has all the TV time that he could ever want. On Thursday he got a prime spot at The Atlantic Festival in Washington, where he was interviewed by the magazine’s editor in chief, Jeffrey Goldberg. On Friday he got a big profile in the Style section of The Washington Post.
So Graham's sycophancy didn't just give him access to the president. It inspired much of the "liberal media" to gush over Graham. I thought Graham was a media darling in the past, when he seemed to be on a Sunday talk show nearly every week, but with the possible exception of this Bruni column, the press is fawning on Graham more than ever.

To me, that's what's really sad.


Over at Politico Magazine, John Harris has concluded that it's the Democrats who are sad:
The president’s gleeful taunts of [Al] Franken as a quitter at a campaign rally in Minnesota Thursday night—he folded “like a wet rag,” Trump cackled—were, for Democrats, a wicked preface to their ash-in-mouth defeat this weekend in the Kavanaugh nomination fight....

A belief in one’s own virtue feels good. Losing a battle that could shape the American political landscape for decades feels bad. The tension between the two left some Democrats grappling anew this weekend with the implications: Maybe they really are the Wet Rag Party.
Here's the correct response to that:

So it's not just that Democrats can't win -- either we're too lily-livered or we're an out-of-control "mob" -- it's that no matter what we do, we're both simultaneously.

Harris, of course, finds Democrats who are willing to affirm his Wet Rag Party hypothesis:
“They [Republicans] are more ruthless,” said Jennifer Palmieri, who over a quarter-century has served as a top aide to Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama. “And I don’t want to be like them. ... The answer can’t be for Democrats to be just as cynical.” ...

“Democrats are the first to believe elite opinion and editorial-page opinion represent America, and they don’t,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

When he worked as an aide to President Bill Clinton, Emanuel said, he often heard Clinton’s view that ever since Lyndon B. Johnson and Vietnam, Democrats have had “a physical allergic reaction about exercising power in pursuit of your goals.”
Rahm? Jennifer? Here's one neat trick if you don't want the Democrats to be perceived as ineffectual losers: Don't give confirming quotes to journalists who are writing about what losers Democrats are. Even if you believe Democrats are wet rags, don't say it. Don't say it for attribution and don't say it on background. Don't cooperate with stories like this. Tell all your Democratic insider friends not to cooperate either.

If you feel it's rude not to talk to someone writing a story like this, change the subject to Republican evil. I don't care what questions you're asked. The correct answer to all of them is "Mitch McConnell is the Antichrist." You don't want Democrats to be doormats? Don't be a doormat yourself.

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