Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is having a very unfortunate week. Worse, nearly all of the trouble relates to one issue – the one he claims to be his signature issue.
Graham’s week started with a Sunday-show appearance in which the senator condemned President Obama’s handling of the crisis in Ukraine in a way that just didn’t make much sense. It got worse when Graham decided tried to connect Ukraine and Benghazi in a way even conservatives found ridiculous, and then struggled to explain what in the world he was talking about.
Yesterday, Graham made matters worse in his criticisms of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-N.Y.) bill to address sexual assaults within the U.S. military by shifting prosecutorial responsibilities from commanders to prosecutors.
“If you’ve got a rape in the barracks, the worst thing that can happen in a unit is for the commander to say, ‘This is no longer my problem,’” Graham said.He added, “This is about liberal people wanting to gut the military justice system. Social engineering run amok.”
His characterization of Gillibrand’s proposal is hard to take seriously on any substantive level. But let’s also not forget that Gillibrand’s bill picked up support from 11 Republican senators, including Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and David Vitter (R-La.).
Does Graham really see this group as “liberal people” out to “gut the military justice system”?
Making matters even worse still, during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing this week, Graham insisted that “in times of peace,” the United States traditionally spent over 5% of GDP on national defense.
When Glenn Kessler pressed for an explanation, Graham’s office refused comment, but a closer look suggests the senator sees the Cold War as a time of “peace.”
We’ve all had rough weeks from time to time. It looks Graham is having one now.