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Sen. Lindsey Graham comes out -- as a maverick

You might recall last December my whining about Republican leaders such as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who say all the right, bipartisan things in elite settings but don’t dare say those things in a wider forum. Well, I’m happy to report that the “Maverick” mantle that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) dumped in a desperate (and kinda sad) bid to save his seat has been picked up by his best buddy Graham.

In a rather entertaining profile by Robert Draper that will run in the New York Times magazine on Sunday, Graham reveals himself to be a rather quirky but fun fella who doesn’t cook, loves almond schnapps and is having a ball being the White House’s favorite Republican. (The other one, of course, is Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.)

"My God, look what I'm involved in!" he said. "By default, if for no other reason. How do you close Gitmo without working with me now? How do you do immigration?" He added: "What if I walked away from climate change tomorrow?... You know, all politicians like to be thought of in their own mind as somebody special. I'm past that now. I'm a little worried. This is not healthy for the country. It's really not."

White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel certainly thinks Graham is special. "He's willing to work on more things than the others,” Emanuel said. “Lindsey, to his credit, has a small-government vision that's out of fashion with his party, which stands for no government.... He's one of the last big voices to give that vision intellectual energy."

Such coziness hasn’t gone over well with the rowdy wing of the Republican base. Tea Partyers have branded Graham a RINO -- Republican in Name Only. Whatever. Graham thinks the Tea Party “will die out” because “they can never come up with a coherent vision for governing the country.” Graham has been dubbed “Obama Lite” by Glenn Beck. And Rush Limbaugh mocks him as “Lindsey Grahamnesty” because of his desire to actually do something meaningful about immigration reform. Such commitment caused William Gheen of Americans for Legal Immigration to badger the never-been-married Graham at a Tea Party rally in South Carolina in April. “Sen. Graham,” Gheen taunted, “you need to come forward and tell people about your alternative lifestyle and your homosexuality.”

When Draper asked Graham about this, he had a stellar response.

"Like maybe I'm having a clandestine affair with Ricky Martin," he said. "I know it's really gonna upset a lot of gay men -- I'm sure hundreds of 'em are gonna be jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge -- but I ain't available. I ain't gay. Sorry."

Guess I better pack my bags for San Francisco.

By Jonathan Capehart  | July 2, 2010; 8:02 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Lindsey Graham's put-down to the gay charges was priceless. And what is said for the Republican who thought it was ultimate insult lowered my respect for the current Republican party further into the minus range. I talked to some friends briefly about William Buckley last night. Where or where have the rational, thoughful conservatives gone? In hiding in terrible shame I suspect.

Posted by: withersb | July 2, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Emanuel: “Lindsey, to his credit, has a small-government vision that's out of fashion with his party, which stands for no government...."

Is that all they have left now? Hyperbole?

Posted by: theduke89 | July 2, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Buckley wasn't anything to write home about either, a lightweight intellect with a thesaurus, though not as lightweight as George Will, another "luminary" who dresses up tavern conservatism with five dollar words.

It's pretty clear that the whole tea thing has peaked. And maybe the Hitler signs didn't represent the whole "movement" but then nobody was telling the guys with the ni66er signs to tone it down, either.

Posted by: Noacoler | July 2, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Lindsey Graham came out of the closet, as a scumbag.

Have a good time in San Francisco Capehart.

Posted by: rcubedkc | July 2, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Remind me again how Robert "sheets" Byrd the Klansman use the term "white n-ggers" in a live TV interview just three years ago. He said it twice.

"My boy Barry is a light-skinned nigra"
- Harry Reid

Speaking of Democrats.

Posted by: screwjob16 | July 2, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

It appears that Graham, unlike most Republicans, believes that government, whether it's large or small, has a mandate to do SOMETHING.

Posted by: jlhare1 | July 2, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully the good people of South Carolina will remove Lindsey the RINO from office. He is a disgrace to the Republican party and is definitely NOT a conservative. He strongly supports "immigration reform' (amnesty) when 15,000,000 REAL Americans are out of work and 8,000,000 illegal aliens are working in this country stealing jobs from Americans. Many of them work in skilled construction jobs such as carpentry, masonry, concrete work, plumbing, etc. We do not need any immigration now, legal or illegal. Our borders are being over run by criminal aliens every day and Lindsey is playing buddy buddy with the anointed idiot we have in the White House. We need to get rid of all the old politicians and bring in some blue collar working people to take their place that knows something about being an American patriot and will stop all the politically correct nonsense that we have endured for decades now. Lindsey Graham is an old time political hack.

Posted by: good_angel | July 2, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

lindsey graham realizes that when a minority of the population spends all day calling the majority traitors, the minority party isn't going to win any elections in the near future

tell me again how I am not a real American because I don't agree with the repuglootards

constantly calling me a traitor doesn't really attract me to the repuglootarded party

revising history to hide all of the failed repuglootarded policies doesn't really attract me to the repuglootarded party

constantly lying does not attract me to the repuglootarded party

blaming Barack Obama for the problems created by george bush doesn't attract me to the repuglootarded party

lindsey graaham realizes that

the terrorist teabaggers have to learn that the hard way

see you in november

and when the terrorist teabaggers start crying, and threatening to kill all of us unamerican liberals, THAT isn't going to attract me to the repuglootarded party

friends don't let friends vote repuglootarded

Posted by: nada85484 | July 3, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

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