Well, apparently it’s just like those tea party types have said all along: Lindsey Graham ain’t in touch with South Carolina “values.”
For years, they’ve claimed our senior senator’s politics were more in line with folks in Washington or Hollywood.
Maybe they meant Dublin.
In Wednesday’s Post and Courier, Washington correspondent Emma Dumain had an interview with Bono, front man of the band U2 — or, as he is perhaps better known to Fox audiences, a major international liberal activist.
And he said Graham (gasp) gets “stuff” done.
“It’s people like him that just give me hope in the political process,” Bono said.
That’s the sort of statement that gives some people in the Palmetto State, well, vertigo.
It certainly isn’t the sort of endorsement that helps Graham in those parts of South Carolina where the streets have no name.
Bono was in D.C. to testify before Graham’s subcommittee, where our senator is trying to pass a multi-billion dollar aid package for countries in the Middle East. And of course, since Washington actually is just Hollywood for ugly people, the rock star’s appearance generated much attention.
Attention that perhaps Graham didn’t need for such a humanitarian effort.
No doubt some people will soon call out Graham for his mysterious ways.
It’s no secret that Graham isn’t the most popular politician in South Carolina.
But he is without a doubt our most influential political leader these days. As a certain Irish rocker noted, he can work with people of all stripes. Which isn’t bad.
That used to be the way it was in Washington, when Fritz Hollings and Strom Thurmond walked the halls of power. And it should still count for something. But these days, some people only judge a national politician by his ability to obstruct and do absolutely nothing of value.
See “Cruz, Ted.”
Now, Graham hasn’t been tooling around South Carolina to talk up his aid package. Most likely he knows it would play poorly here. Giving money to Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel is not winning politics in this state.
Well, maybe for Israel.
Graham thinks this aid can be used to fight Islamic extremism, and perhaps he’s right. Or maybe our potential enemies can’t be bought with diamonds and a ring of gold.
But it is certainly a more constructive solution than standing in front of TV cameras and vowing to carpet bomb an entire region of the world. That tactic leaves a lot to be desired, and it invites attack.
Luckily, Graham has enough pride in his work to see that and not bow to crazy politics — no matter how hazardous it is to his electoral health.
In one way, Bono crooning about Graham’s virtues just reinforces those stereotypes some conservatives have of him.
He’s too liberal, he’s out of touch with South Carolina, he’s an attention hog. He’s too much like his buddy John McCain.
But Graham is an old-school Washington politician, one with the maturity to try to keep the trains running. Where some people see surrender, others see compromise — which is what politics is supposed to be all about.
No matter what nutty pundits bore into people’s heads today.
Bono’s kind words for Graham’s efforts to help folks won’t give him an edge in the 2020 Republican primary, but then conservatives have been vowing to take him out for more than a decade. And they still haven’t found the candidate they’re looking for.
So bravo to Graham for at least attempting to do something about our international problems — even if we only hear that he’s a rock star from, well, a rock star.
That’s more than you can say for most pols these days, presidential candidate or not.
Graham is fearless, and he’s sending a strong message to all his naysayers out there.
He’s going to do his job, with or without you.
Reach Brian Hicks at email@example.com.