The Unfettered Lindsey Graham
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Politics and Activism

The Unfettered Lindsey Graham

The Unfettered Lindsey Graham
Greg Nash

Lindsey Graham is not going to be the next President of the United States. You know it, I know it and he knows it. He consistently registers little national name-recognition and couldn’t crack the top-ten in national polls needed to attend the first Republican debate on August 6th – standards most political observers deem necessary to even have a shot at the nomination. Graham, who has been in national politics longer than I have been alive, is seasoned enough to read the writing on the wall. He almost certainly is aware that, barring some miraculous happening, he will not come close to securing the Republican nomination.

Many men would respond to inevitable defeat by stepping out of the ring and throwing in the towel. Graham has done quite the opposite – rather than suspending his campaign and slinking back to Washington, he has continued to take every opportunity to speak his mind on any issue, whether it be foreign policy or Secretary Clinton’s credibility. In fact, Graham’s rock-bottom polling seems to have almost lifted his spirits. He may be out of the running for all intents and purposes, but he is hell-bent to use the platform any candidate receives to spread his ideas. Without having to worry too much about swaying undecided voters or sounding particularly “presidential,” Graham is free to say what he truly wants.

The beginning of this newfound liberty can be traced back to a, while perhaps not particularly consequential, certainly gratifying interview. When Donald Trump argued that Senator John McCain was not a war hero for serving years in a Northern Vietnamese prison – a claim that I’m sure people on both sides of the aisle will agree is purely asinine – he was faced with general scorn. Most Republican presidential candidates, while universally disapproving, were fearful of alienating far-right voters who might support Trump, and issued carefully-worded, ticky-tack statements decrying Trump’s words and dripping with righteous and restrained disappointment. Graham called him a jackass on CNN. Twice.

That’s not President Obama calling out Kanye West when he didn’t know his mic was on, that’s not (now former) Congressman Grimm attempting to quietly threaten a nosy reporter, that is a respected member of one of America’s highest governing bodies very calmly and deliberately stating that Donald Trump – a man who is currently leading the Republican field – is a, and I quote, “jackass” on national television. That’s not a candidate worrying about polls and focus groups, that’s a guy defending both a buddy and every other man and woman in the armed services who has ever faced captivity. That’s Senator Graham being, well, Lindsey Graham from small-town Carolina.

And don’t think that Graham has limited his words to Trump. He has gone after Hillary Clinton more vociferously than the other candidates – something they may avoid out of fear of alienating swing voters. Graham has also been unafraid to trot out his unmatched foreign policy expertise when speaking on international issues. He has very plainly and knowledgeably derided the Iran nuclear deal as naïve and dangerous, compellingly presented the intense threat posed by ISIS and vividly illustrated the loss of American prestige around the globe. Many of his words have been shared by one candidate or another, but there is seemingly no other Republican candidate willing to express all of these ideas – unpolitic as some might be.

So what’s Senator Graham’s next move? Well, eventually his continuing inability to poll well and his duties as a senator will compel him to withdraw. While I think he could be a compelling veep-pick – adding foreign policy experience and gravitas to a ticket headed by a younger candidate a la Joe Biden (yes, I said it) – I don’t think that will end up happening. He would be an interesting choice for a cabinet position; perhaps even Secretary of State, should a Republican clinch the White House, but that’s an issue for after the election. For now, I personally think that Lindsey Graham will continue speaking his mind on whatever he pleases. And enjoying the hell out of it while doing so.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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