I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Lindsey Graham 2.0 is the greatest software upgrade in history. For those of you old enough to remember, it puts the leap from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95 to absolute shame.
Gone is the milquetoast functionary so convinced of his own importance that he thought he was a plausible 2016 presidential candidate and ended up getting vote percentages that needed to be expressed in scientific notation. Now — well, have you been paying attention to the news lately?
Take, for instance, Graham’s appearance on Fox News on Friday with network host Shannon Bream, as the clock ticked away the hours to the government shutdown. The old Lindsey would have dithered like it was going out of style. I can see it now: “Well, Shannon, both sides need to work together to find a solution blah blah blah we need decorum and decency blah blah blah set the tenor etc., etc., and therefore, I think we need to find some middle ground.”
Lindsey Graham 2.0: “Mr. President, dig in.”
The South Carolina senator was indeed one of many political figures who were pressed into action on cable news to speak of the perfidies of <insert other party here>, but Graham’s appearance on “Fox News @Night” was an especial treat. He called the Democrats children and urged the president to “break them now.”
“Number one, when you make a promise to the American people, you should keep it,” Graham said when asked what the next steps would be.
“The one thing I like about President Trump, he is trying his best to keep his promise. He promised to build a wall, and he is going to fight hard to keep that promise. After the caravan, if you don’t see the need for more border security, you are blind.
“Here’s the problem: I think Democrats hate Trump so much they want him to lose, even though it would be good for the country to work with him on border security,” he added. “And if he doesn’t break ’em now, it’s going to be a terrible 2019. So Mr. President, dig in.”
“I don’t think I am thought of up here is some radical guy,” Graham said later in the exchange, “but if you don’t see the need for more border security, then you are just not paying attention.
“The president of the United States is right to want more money to secure our borders, to build the wall as part of border security. Democrats are wrong to act like children, to say you can’t get a penny more.”
The Democrats are currently offering $1.6 billion for border security — nothing close to what the president is asking, which is $5 billion. According to The Hill, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York has said that both houses could get a deal done if the president would just get out of the way — an option which, last I checked, wasn’t what the kids might call “on the table.”
As for a possible compromise, Graham said the Democrats would suffer in two years if they held firm to their lower number.
“If they are not willing to work with the president, I think they are going to hear it from the American people in 2020,” Graham said.
“He just needs to make the case that ‘the border needs to be better secured, the money I’m asking for can be well spent. And here is what I find odd, Democrats will spend money on almost anything except a wall that we need.’”
And Graham had one parting shot: Bream said we didn’t know how this would all end, to which Graham responded, “I will tell you how it ends. President Trump is going to get more money for the border.”
Graham acknowledged that how much more is still being negotated, but his prediction was pretty adamant.
Aside from my constant wonderment over just how much of an upgrade Lindsey Graham 2.0 represents, there are plenty of other great takeaways from what he had to say.
First, it’s not just the border wall that meets opposition merely because the Democrats don’t like Donald Trump. This is, in case you haven’t noticed, the song and dance from the left side of the aisle on pretty much every issue.
Let’s say that — much like in that classic work in Nicholas Cage’s oeuvre, “National Treasure” — we discovered some sort of secret map on the back of the Declaration of Independence leading us to a motherlode under Trinity Church in Manhattan. As it turns out, the moneys from said hoard could be spent to wipe out the entirety of our foreign debt and we’d still have enough left over to bestow $50,000 on each American family. Also, we would never have to pay taxes again.
The first thing the Democrats would do would be to condemn the Trump administration for heartlessly laying off the brave civil servants of the IRS and force through legislation not only protecting the agency but raising taxes as well, just for the hell of it. Then they’d appoint a special counsel to look into possible links between Trinity Church and the Trump Organization, since both are based out of New York City.
Also, if the president is going to make a stand on the wall, it’s sort of like the old Chinese proverb about planting a tree. The best time to do it would have been a year and a half ago. The next best time would be now.
If you think the news cycle is chaotic now, wait until next year.
We’ll have a new Democratic majority in the House, one that is stridently liberal and has already decided that no matter what may be contained in the Mueller report, it constitutes impeachable offenses.
We’ll likely have another budgetary showdown later in the year, and this time the attendant shutdown won’t just be partial. President Trump has more than a few positions in his cabinet to fill, as you may have heard. The presidential campaign is going to begin in earnest. And, if you think Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is taking up all the air in the room now, it’s going to get a lot worse when she’s sworn in.
If the president wants $5 billion for the wall — or even anything in that ballpark — he’s certainly not going to get it if the can gets kicked an inch further down the road.
The takeaway here is simple: It’s time to dig in. Well, that and the fact that Lindsey Graham 2.0 remains awesome. Please don’t downgrade, senator.