It was a good day for Sen. Lindsey Graham. A reporter asked President Obama at his news conference about Graham's comments on a Sunday talk show that the Boston marathon bombings and Benghazi showed that national security had been weakened under Obama's administration. "No, Mr. Graham is not right on this issue," Obama said, "although I'm sure it generated some headlines." Wrong. What it generated was cable news hits for Graham. As did Graham's tweets responding to Obama. "If Benghazi is not an example of system failure before, during, and after the attack what would be?... If Boston is not an example of a pre-9/11 stovepiping mentality what would be?" Graham tweeted Tuesday morning. By Tuesday afternoon, he was scheduled to appear on Fox News and CNN to talk about Boston and Benghazi.
Lindsey Graham is a very popular Sunday show and cable news guest, and he's invited to speak on just about every major policy issue under debate. It is not clear why this is, other than that Graham is best pals with another Sunday favorite, Sen John McCain. What does Graham bring to those TV tables? Unlike McCain, Graham does not have a reputation for criticizing his own party. Unlike McCain, Graham doesn't have a unique personal story (like getting tortured in Vietnam) that colors his view of major political issues (like torture). If Graham isn't a check on his party, at least he reliably signals what the GOP will do, right? No. Graham is also not a good guide to where Republicans are headed — he said it was time for the GOP to accept higher taxes as part of a sequester deal, which they did not do. Graham is not a good guide to what Republicans are thinking — he frequently complained about what the sequester's defense cuts would do to the military, which turned out not to be much of a motivator for Republicans. Graham doesn't predict the future, like when he wrongly predicted the fiscal cliff would be averted. Graham is not even a decent legal expert, having demanded — immediately after his capture, on Twitter — that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev be held as an "enemy combatant," a term the government doesn't even use any more, and a demand which legal experts on both the right and left mocked as ridiculous. What we can see from this is that the No. 1 thing Graham is an expert on... is getting on TV.