Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Graham is the Smithers to McCain's Montgomery Burns

Not really a McCain Media Mashup of Existing Mancrushes, but close.

I would not consider myself a reader of the Politico. It seems to be inside baseball for people who are a little too into baseball. But this story is as good as any to look at when it comes to the McCain Media Mancrush. The Politico is an outfit that tries to do politics better than everyone else, but who's buying? Who's really this far into politics?

If anyone else called him “little jerk,” Sen. Lindsey Graham might be offended.

But the jab comes from Sen. John McCain, so he wears it like a badge of honor.

“If John’s not belittling you, you’re in trouble,” Graham said. “He calls me lots of other names, too, but they’re not appropriate for the newspaper.”

Obligatory cheap shot: He calls you names? Like he does his wife? Does he call you a trollop and a cunt?

McCain and Graham aren’t just friends. They’re inseparable, so much so that colleagues, staffers and journalists have begun making cracks about the relationship between the freshman senator from South Carolina and the man who would be president.

Some call Graham a lapdog. Others say he acts as though he’s one of McCain’s legislative aides. One Senate aide, who called Graham and Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) “Pips” to McCain’s Gladys Knight, said that Graham “fawns over McCain like there’s no tomorrow.” In the run-up to this week’s hearings for Army Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, The Washington Post’s Tom Ricks said Graham “sometimes seems like McCain’s ‘Mini-Me.’”

“I think it’s almost a father-son relationship,” said Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), a friend of both senators and another member of their Senate clique. “I think Lindsey looks to [McCain] and relies on him. But I think John draws on Lindsey’s energy and relies on him for a laugh.”

McCain spokeswoman Melissa Shuffield said the two senators “have the kind of friendship that will outlast their political careers.”
The two have grown so close that a Fox News anchor felt compelled to ask Graham last week if he might be McCain’s running mate — a suggestion Graham laughed off by saying that McCain “doesn’t have anything I want or need.”

That’s not exactly true. As Graham himself admits, his close relationship with McCain affords him opportunities and access that most neophyte senators don’t usually enjoy — as long as he’s willing to put up with the abuse that goes along with it all.

I want you all to understand something--Graham is the senior senator from South Carolina. Do you think that a form of "buyers remorse" has set in for the people of South Carolina, as it has for the people of Connecticut?

Tuesday morning was typical. As a curtain raiser for Petraeus’ appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCain, Graham and Lieberman appeared together outside the Capitol at an event organized by Veterans for Freedom.

The TV cameras turned out to catch the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, but Graham got some of the attention and a bit of the ribbing. “Lindsey Graham was a colonel — that’s the good news,” McCain told the crowd. “He’s also a lawyer — that’s the bad news.”)

Tuesday was McCain’s first day back at the Capitol in a few weeks. The last time he was there — for votes on the massive budget bill — he and Graham could be seen walking side by side in the Russell building and riding together on the Senate subway. During the late-night vote-o-rama, the two men cracked jokes in the back of the chamber like two grade school pranksters.

“Lindsey! Lindsey! Get over here!” McCain said, his raspy voice wafting up to the gallery, when Graham strayed momentarily and walked in the other direction.

Now, explain to me why the Burns-Smithers comparison doesn't work. (I am not suggesting, nor will I acknowledge anything relating to sexual orientation.) Yeah, I'm being lazy--the quickest way to construct a blog post is to wrap it around "The Simpsons" and steal some of their intellectual property. But I believe that I have done so in a way that honors this country. So, it's all good...right?

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