Lindsey Graham didn’t think this tantrum through

LINDSEY GRAHAM DIDN’T THINK THIS TANTRUM THROUGH…. We talked Tuesday about Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) unfortunate new shakedown plan — he’ll wreak havoc in the Senate until he’d paid off with some pork funding for a project at the Port of Charleston in his home state. Yesterday, these developments gained considerably more attention. For Graham, that’s not good news.

As it turns out, I was wrong about a key detail earlier in the week. Originally, Graham wanted a $400,000 earmark for the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a feasibility study at the Port of Charleston. What I didn’t realize is that Sen. Jim DeMint — Graham’s own GOP colleague from his own state — already helped block that earmark months ago.

Graham is now throwing a fit over a much smaller sum: $40,000.

Graham said he had originally requested that the money be included in the deal funding the government for the rest of the current fiscal year, but that the final agreement hammered out by President Obama and congressional leaders late last week did not include it. […]

The funding is necessary in order to make sure the port is deep enough to handle oversized cargo ships that are “going to dominate the shipping lanes” in the coming years, Graham said.

In defending the project – which amounts to a trifle in funding compared with the $38 billion in cuts that the 2011 budget deal would enact – Graham delivered a lengthy defense of infrastructure spending, a budget item that the White House has strongly backed as necessary if America is to “out-innovate” other countries and create jobs.

“If you’re a Republican and you want to create jobs, then you need to invest in infrastructure that will allow us to create jobs,” Graham said. “So, for $40,000 or $50,000, we can keep on track the deepening of a port that is a huge economic engine for the southeast. We have lost our way. The Obama administration talks about export jobs, but if you don’t invest in ports, how are you going to get the goods to go to other parts of the world?”

Now, as a substantive matter, Graham’s not wrong — without port expansion at Charleston, South Carolina would likely lose billions of dollars in commerce and thousands of jobs. It’s why even right-wing anti-spending activists support the funding (DeMint’s willingness to hurt his own constituents to advance a philosophical point continues to be bizarre).

But as a rhetorical matter, I have to wonder if Graham can even hear the words coming out of his mouth. Public spending is good for jobs? Officials need to invest in infrastructure?

Does he not realize that Democrats have been saying this for two years — and that he and his party have been fighting like mad to convince the public that Dems are wrong?

So to review, Lindsey Graham is prepared to make the Senate even more dysfunctional, on purpose, until he’s paid off with an earmark that will create jobs despite his insistence that public spending can’t create jobs.

And people wonder why it’s so hard to take Republicans seriously on public policy.