How you know Lindsey Graham is starting to panic

As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham had a unique opportunity: He got to kick off the questioning Tuesday of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

How did he mark this historic moment? By giving a purely political speech about the Affordable Care Act in a transparent attempt to bolster his flagging reelection campaign in his home state.
“From my point of view, Obamacare has been a disaster for the state of South Carolina.” Graham began. “All of you over there want to impose Obamacare on South Carolina. We don’t want it. We want something better. We want something different. You know, what we want in South Carolina? South Carolina-care, not Obamacare.”
Graham cast the ongoing debate over the ACA, which the Supreme Court will hear on November 10, as a choice between “consolidating all the power in Washington, have some bureaucrat you’ll never meet running this program versus having it centered in the state where you live.”
    And Graham even took time to tout his own health care proposal — which would block grant federal money to the states and allow them to spend it on health care as they see fit — noting that if the government adopted his idea, “South Carolina would get almost a billion dollars more.”
    Like, dude, how much more transparent can you be? The answer, because we’re talking about Graham, is WAY more transparent.
    “So that’s the political debate,” he said near the end of his “questioning” of Barrett. “We’re involved in a campaign in South Carolina. My fate will be left up to the people of South Carolina.”
    Indeed it will!

    Graham knows he is in a toss-up race against former state Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison in the Palmetto State. He knows that he is being absolutely crushed in fundraising — Harrison raised $ 57 million in the last three months alone — and that has translated into Graham’s being buried under an avalanche of Harrison ads. (Graham said in his questions speech that he was newly interested in campaign finance reform because ‘there’s a lot of money being raised in this campaign. I’d like to know where the hell some of it’s coming from.”) And he also knows that he continues to underperform among Republicans in the state — and that these hearings represent his last, best chance to turn that around.
    “There is one remaining Hail Mary for Graham — the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett that begin next week, in which he’ll have the starring role as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Republicans certainly hope that heavy coverage can help consolidate Republican votes and remind them why they want to vote for a GOP majority on judges, with Graham being the only way to get that.”
      That Graham would have no problem in using his position as chairman of the committee that holds confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court to deliver a purely political speech aimed at saving his own bacon back in South Carolina speaks to how desperate he believes his current situation to be. And how few tools he seems to have left at his disposal to change the arc of the contest.
      Maybe his speechifying on Tuesday morning did the trick? But if it didn’t, it’s hard to see what else Graham could possibly hope to do to save his political career at this late date.




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