Friday, April 02, 2021


Say what you will about Steve Schmidt, the former Republican strategist and co-founder of the Lincoln Project, but he's right about Lindsey Graham.
The way to understand [Graham] is to look at what's consistent. And essentially what he is in American politics is what, in the aquatic world, would be a pilot fish: a smaller fish that hovers around a larger predator, like a shark, living off of its detritus. That's Lindsey. And when he swam around the McCain shark, broadly viewed as a virtuous and good shark, Lindsey took on the patina of virtue. But wherever the apex shark is, you find the Lindsey fish hovering about, and Trump is the newest shark in the sea. Lindsey has a real draw to power — but he's found it unattainable on his own merits.
I think of Graham as the Kato Kaelin of politics -- though maybe that's unfair to Kaelin, who wasn't really a habitual hanger-on. Graham seems lost without an alpha to follow. And now that John McCain is dead, and Donald Trump is not only out of the White House but mostly just lazing around Mar-a-Lago, what is Graham to do?

He seems to have a new alpha -- but it's not a man, or even a woman. It's a gun.

We saw him a few days ago telling Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that he owns an AR-15 and no one better try to take it away from him, dammit. This seemed to be an isolated effort on Graham's part to do what Republicans always do after a mass shooting -- rush to defend the weapon. But the news cycle has moved on, President Biden and congressional Democrats don't seem eager to have another futile battle over firearms, and yet here was Graham yesterday.

He doesn't have to do this. He won another six years in the Senate last November.

But he seems to believe he needs protection out there in the mean old world -- and if he can't get it from a domineering individual like McCain or Trump, I guess he's hoping he'll get it collectively from the gun community.

It's sad. He's 65 years old. He's an important figure in American politics. But he's afraid to just be himself. He still wants to be protected.

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