Why Lindsey Graham is the face of Republicans today

The problem with the Tea Party, Sen. Lindsey Graham was saying, is that it's "just unsustainable." They will "never come up with a coherent vision for governing the country." The shelf life of this new movement: "It will die out." Graham was talking in 2010 to (egads!) The New York Times about the type of candidate he wanted to run for president in 2012. "We don't have a lot of Reagan-type leaders in our party. Remember Ronald Reagan Democrats? I want a Republican that can attract Democrats."

And that is why Lindsey Graham is everywhere President Obama isn't these days. Graham, personally popular but politically mistrusted in his conference because of his deep association with Sen. John McCain and his willingness to secretly negotiate with Democrats, is now the face of opposition to Sen. Chuck Hagel. He'll hold up Hagel's nomination to "get to the bottom of what happened," referring to the Senator's penchant for blunt talk about Israel. He promised to hold up the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA because the White House won't answer his questions about Benghazi (even though they've answered his questions). At this point, he very nearly literally wants to know how many tears the president shed, and when he shed them.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us
Marc Ambinder

Marc Ambinder is TheWeek.com's editor-at-large. He is the author, with D.B. Grady, of The Command and Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry. Marc is also a contributing editor for The Atlantic and GQ. Formerly, he served as White House correspondent for National Journal, chief political consultant for CBS News, and politics editor at The Atlantic. Marc is a 2001 graduate of Harvard. He is married to Michael Park, a corporate strategy consultant, and lives in Los Angeles.