The case of Lindsey Graham’s missing lunch

THE CASE OF LINDSEY GRAHAM’S MISSING LUNCH…. A couple of weeks ago, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was largely satisfied with the outcome of the tax deal, but he didn’t like President Obama’s willingness to criticize the costly and ineffective policies Republicans demanded.

“Quite frankly, the president is whining,” Graham said.

It was an odd complaint. The president agreed to unpopular provisions he didn’t like, and he’s not supposed to mention that? Besides, as Dave Weigel noted at the time, Graham was complaining about “whining” by “whining at around 10 times as many decibels.”

It’s a quality Graham has nearly perfected. Yesterday, Graham’s latest round of whimpering related to the lame-duck session.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) lashed out at fellow Republicans Tuesday for a “capitulation … of dramatic proportions” to Democrats and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in the lame-duck Congress.

Graham said Republicans have no one to blame but themselves for allowing ratification of the New START Treaty and other legislation in the period before new lawmakers are sworn in in January.

“When it’s all going to be said and done, Harry Reid has eaten our lunch,” Graham said on Fox News radio. “This has been a capitulation in two weeks of dramatic proportions of policies that wouldn’t have passed in the new Congress.”

Graham seemed especially incensed by his retiring GOP colleagues, like Utah’s Bob Bennett, who are willing to support quality legislation as they depart. “They have used the power of the Senate against the minority, and we have, quite frankly, a handful of us have been letting them do it. And a lot of the people who are doing this got beat. And that’s what makes me so upset,” he said. “It makes me disappointed that, with a new group of Republicans coming in, we could get a better deal on almost everything.”

For all of Graham’s whining about “capitulation” and Reid eating his lunch, the truth is, a handful of Republicans are supporting good bills that deserve to pass, and which just happen to enjoy broad national support among voters. Before the midterms, partisan strategies made much of this impossible — the GOP had a powerful interest to deny Democrats pre-election victories and stymie the majority’s legislative agenda. In the lame-duck, it’s easier for some members to evaluate proposals on the merits.

And so key priorities are becoming law. For Americans, that’s good news. For Lindsey Graham, it’s little more than fodder for a fine whine.