The Lindsey Graham Show (Liftoff)

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announces his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, 1 June 2015, in Central, South Carolina.  (Detail of frame from msnbc)

Did you ever rehearse a line and then not use it, but later found yourself wondering why not, because it was a perfectly servicible line, and that is why you were working on it in the first place?

Right.

A few weeks ago I mused to a friend over the idea that when Lindsey Graham gets to make a Civil War joke while playing the adult in the room, Republicans might want to take a moment to figure out just where they are. The map is not the territory, but why are they using that map?

But as I explained to a friend, there is no mystery that I don’t really like Sen. Graham; perhaps the best thing going for the Palmetto Republican is that he is not the worst person in the state of South Carolina. I pointed out that we all know his presidential ambitions aren’t grounded in any political reality. Still, it was enough to appreciate the moment when Lindsey Graham was the sane voice in the room, and wonder if perhaps he might have tacitly ended his presidential aspirations.

And in that I was wrong.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham officially added his name to the growing list of Republicans seeking the White House in 2016 on Monday, focusing his message on the hawkish foreign policy positions that have made him a leading voice among the Senate GOP.

“I’ve got one simple message: I have more experience with our national security than any other candidate in this race. That includes you, Hillary,” Graham said in Central, South Carolina, his childhood home.

The three-term senator is expected to focus his candidacy on combating Islamic militants in the Middle East, stabilizing Iraq and preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. He has been highly critical of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who has said U.S. intervention abroad led to the rise of ISIS.

(Rafferty)

A three-term one-trick pony who can crack wise about the Civil War at Ted Cruz’s expense.

Honestly, of all the never-been won’t-be candidates in the race, I figured Mr. Graham smart enough to stay out. Am I underestimating exploratory committees, or overestimating?

____________________

Image Note: U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announces his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, 1 June 2015, in Central, South Carolina. (Detail of frame from msnbc)

Rafferty, Andrew. “Lindsey Graham launches 2016 presidential bid”. msnbc. 1 June 2015.

Benen, Steve. “Leading Republicans differ over armed ‘insurrection'”. msnbc. 17 April 2015.

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