ThinkProgress reports that Sen. Lindsey Graham has decided to continue his spectacular temper tantrum over Benghazi, telling Fox News last night, “I haven’t forgotten about Benghazi. Hillary Clinton got away with murder, in my view.” He’s not using this in its idiomatic meaning, either. He literally seems to think that Hillary Clinton has cleverly wriggled out from under a Murder One conviction via some kind of Machiavellian trickery.
Next up in Graham’s Benghazi crosshairs is defense secretary Leon Panetta. Graham has now decided that he won’t rest until Panetta testifies too, and to make sure that happens he’s going to block Chuck Hagel’s SecDef nomination until he’s got Panetta sweating under the klieg lights. “Why would we not want to understand what happened during the attack itself?” he asked Greta Van Susteren rhetorically. “How could our secretary — what happened for seven hours? Why were there no military assets available on September the 11th?”
This is very close to literal insanity. Graham knows perfectly well that these questions have been answered, and he knows perfectly well that Panetta won’t tell him anything he doesn’t already know. So why is he putting on this performance? My theory is simple: Graham likes being a maverick, but voters in South Carolina don’t really want a maverick as their senator. They want a 100 percent ACU-certified hard-right conservative. Since Graham doesn’t want to give them that, he has to compensate for it with periodic high-profile eruptions that demonstrate the kind of spittle-flecked hatred of Barack Obama his constituents want. It makes up for his occasional apostasy over climate change or immigration, and shows that he’s really one of them even if he does have a few peculiar pet causes they don’t understand.
Either that or he really is crazy. I guess I’m not entirely sure which.