Lindsey Graham Got Confirmed Bachelor All Over The Undercard Debate, Buttercup
You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders!
Lindsey Graham seems to have finally resigned himself to the cold hard reality that he has about as much chance of becoming the Republican nominee for president as he does of getting cast in Magic Mike III, so he devoted his appearance in Tuesday's Kids' Table debate to Getting his Ideas Out There, as well as being as Out There as humanly possible. Since it's possible (please God, we ask for so little) that this was the final Kids' Table debate, let's take a moment to bask in the fabulousness that is Lindsey Graham in full cray-cray mode.
How About A Nice Hot Cup Of War?
Graham did his best to position himself as the Serious Foreign Policy Expert of the bunch, and he said a few things that made sense, like pointing out that most Muslims aren't allies of ISIL, and that if America were stupid enough to bar Muslims from entering the country, "ISIL would be dancing in the streets, they just don't believe in dancing." Yet -- as in that example -- Graham also kept up an undercurrent of pure weirdness, careening between "Islam is not the enemy" and "I want to KILL, Sergeant! I WANNA KILL!" Not only does he want boots on the ground (conveniently failing to say anything about the men and women who'll be sent home in body bags, with or without their boots), he also can't wait to start collecting Americans' phone data all over again, even though not a single terrorist plot was foiled by the late, unlamented data-scooping program.
Ah, but war also brings out Graham's sensitive side -- he was so very touched by one of his trips to Afghanistan, and so proud of the 3,500 Muslims who serve in the military:
I was at the second presidential election in Afghanistan. The guy guarding me was an American Muslim sergeant in the Army who grew up in Kabul, left when he was -- graduated high school, joined the U.S. Army, went back to his high school where they were doing polling, people voting, he took me there and cried like a baby. I cried like a baby.
Big applause for that; now that John Boehner has retired, we can safely say that Lindsey Graham is the most lachrymose man on Capitol Hill. Not that he's not still a tough guy. He promised all sorts of wonderful new military commitments to destroy ISIL, and then tenderly take the surviving civilians by the hand and show them how loving America can be as we help people out of the bomb craters we've created:
What would I do in Syria? I'd form a regional army of Arabs and Turkey. Ninety percent them, 10 percent us. Up to 10,000 U.S. forces to go in on the ground and destroy the caliphate and its roots. Take Raqqah away from ISIL, kill every one of these bastards we could find. Then I would stay. I would hold the hands of those who are willing to live in peace with us. I would build small school houses in remote regions of the world to give a young woman a voice about her children, something that will end radical Islam more than the bomb. I'm all in.
Funny, though, for a guy who keeps insisting that ISIL is not legitimate, Graham sure is willing to accept their contention that the territory they control is a "caliphate." You'd think he'd want to call it a fraud, or at least toss "so-called" in there to emphasize that these radical loonies have no more claim to legitimacy than would some crazy American rancher who declares a chunk of federal land an independent sovereign state. But no, Graham thinks there really is a "caliphate" that we have to destroy.
Did Lindsey Graham Admit To Any Secret Crushes?
Maybe just a little. For one thing, we now know that for all of the Republican man-crushes on Vladimir Putin, Lindsey Graham is just not that into him: "I'm not afraid of a guy riding around on a horse without his shirt." Not aroused, either. You just stop that. Lindsey gets his kicks above the waistline, sunshine.
Oh, but in the very next breath, he did yearn openly for a Man's Man of a recent president:
George W. Bush made mistakes, but he did adjust. I blame Obama for ISIL, not Bush. I'm tired of beating on Bush. I miss George W. Bush. I wish he were president right now. We wouldn't be in this mess.
It's hard, when the president you love isn't loved by your party. But as far as Lindsey feels, George W. Bush has gotten even better-looking since he left the White House. He was such a wonderful commander in chief. So exciting to go to war with. If Lindsey thought we truly couldn't ever go to war in the Middle East again, why, he'd find him the longest, sharpest knife he could and he'd stick it straight into his heart. He'd do that. He misses George W. Bush like a cat on a hot tin roof, and he just doesn't know what to do!
My Way's Not Very Sportsmanlike
[contextly_sidebar id="bvo76aVoXgDyhdzyc4p6RlhaMvNY3mGt"]And then there was the weird Princess Bride reference. In an attempt to take a shot at Ted Cruz, Graham tried to make use of one of those embarrassing moments when Cruz shows how "hep" and "with-it" he is by referencing popular culture; this time, instead of murdering The Simpsons, Cruz did a little scene from The Princess Bride. Assuming that everyone knew what the hell he was talking about, Graham tried to connect a line from the movie to foreign policy, as one does when one is a dingus trying to pull an ill-fitting pop culture reference out of the closet:
To my good friend Ted Cruz ... you say you would keep Assad in power, I will tell you that is the worst possible thing that could come out of an American leader's mouth. It would be disastrous. His favorite movie is, apparently, Princess Bride. Ted, getting in bed with Iran and Russia to save Assad is inconceivable.
Princess Buttercup would not like this.
CNN tries to explain the tortured metaphor: In the movie, Buttercup thinks the charming Westley is dead, and so she
agrees to marry the loathsome Prince Humperdinck.
Buttercup, though, never truly gives up her feelings for Westley. When she comes across the man believed to be his killer, Dread Pirate Roberts, she pushes him down a hill. But as he tumbles, the would-be pirate yells, "As you wish!" -- the same line Westley once said to her, over and over, as a boy on the farm.
At this point, Buttercup realized the man she believed to be Dread Pirate Roberts is, in fact, her beloved.
So what point was Lindsey Graham trying to make on Tuesday night? Well, let's just say he doesn't think Ted Cruz is much of a Westley. And Princess Buttercup, well, she would not approve of his plans.
We're not sure how well that holds up, though. If Assad is Humperdinck and America is Buttercup, does that mean that Russia is Count Rugen, the six-fingered man? Are the Kurds supposed to be Fezzik the giant, or Inigo Montoya, the vengeful Spaniard? And haven't we already removed all of Syria's stockpiles of iocaine powder and destroyed them?
Hell, we went Trick-or-Treating years ago with Kid Zoom as Inigo Montoya, and we have no idea how any of that's supposed to make sense.
In any case, Lindsey should have watched the movie a little further. It has some great advice about not getting involved in land wars in Asia.