On Lindsey Graham’s exit

Folks who read my posts regularly know that I can’t stand Lindsey Graham. That’s one of the reasons why I was glad he entered the presidential race this year. I figured he would get a well-deserved shellacking from GOP voters whom he has let down so often.

The shellacking was even more complete than I expected. Graham hovered below 1 percent support in the polls, never made the “adult table” for a debate, and now has withdrawn from the race before the first Iowa Republican showed up to caucus.

I take only small satisfaction in this outcome, though. Graham ran an honorable race and, to the extent he was heard, made a unique contribution to the campaign by taking a strong interventionist stand with respect to ISIS and the Middle East.

It seems to me that only Graham and Rand Paul have been completely honest, from their perspectives, about the Middle East. The rest of the field, I believe, is fudging — pretending that ISIS can be defeated on the cheap by better American leadership, namely theirs. The argument sells because Obama’s leadership has been poor, but that doesn’t make it true. I don’t think it is.

Graham’s pitiful poll numbers can be viewed as a comeuppance. However, bad numbers aren’t much of a disgrace in a cycle in which Donald Trump has swallowed up a sizable share of support and beaten down candidates who spoke up against him (as Graham certainly did). Scott Walker, Rick Perry, and Bobby Jindal — each a quite respectable candidate — failed to make an impression in the polls. Graham is in good company.

I would take solace from the fact that Graham won’t be the GOP nominee, except that this was a foregone conclusion. Moreover, there’s now more a chance that the Party will nominate someone worse than Graham — more liberal, vastly less knowledgeable, and, quite possibly, an authoritarian at heart.

No need to name names.