There’s an old political maxim that seems particularly apt in our Trumpian Age of Tribalism.
I remember the first time I heard it; I was sitting in Republican headquarters (reminder: this was at a time when Republicans were sane), and a few stalwarts were discussing one of the party’s candidates for local office. (I no longer recall either the candidate or the office.) No one liked this particular candidate, and the discussion had turned critical when one of the more senior party members admonished us: “Yes, he may be a son-of-a-bitch. But remember– he’s our son-of-a-bitch.”
The phrase displayed the distilled essence of partisanship.
Back then, however, there really were limits on just how much “S.O.B.-ness” someone could exhibit before that partisan solidarity could no longer be invoked to salvage him. (It was always a him.)
Those limits obviously no longer apply. Today, a shameless double-standard prevails. There are plenty of truly egregious examples (Sean Hannity comes to mind), but if we are looking for truly monumental hypocrisy in the service of dominance, you really can’t do better than Franklin Graham.
Graham is a poster child for why conservative Christians no longer have any claim to credibility.
In 1998, when President Clinton was accused of having a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky, Graham was all about the wages of sin, writing in the Wall Street Journal that “Private conduct does have public consequences.”
“Just look at how many have already been pulled under by the wake of the president’s sin: Mr. Clinton’s wife and daughter, Ms. Lewinsky, her parents, White House staff members, friends and supporters, public officials and an unwitting American public,” Graham wrote….
He continued, saying, “the God of the Bible says that what one does in private does matter. Mr. Clinton’s months-long extramarital sexual behavior in the Oval Office now concerns him and the rest of the world, not just his immediate family. If he will lie to or mislead his wife and daughter, those with whom he is most intimate, what will prevent him from doing the same to the American public?”
Fast forward to 2018, and the serial sinner currently in the Oval Office.
In January, as the news that President Trump paid porn star Stormy Daniels hush money was shaping, Graham urged the American people to believe Trump’s denials that there was no affair – and to do so for the good of the nation….
And even if he’s lying,Graham clearly thinks it’s none of our business.
“I think this thing with Stormy Daniels and so forth is nobody’s business. And we’ve got other business at hand that we need to deal with,” Graham told The Associated Press, as the American Family Association published.
And then there’s this..
“I don’t have concern, in a sense, because these things happened many years ago – and there’s such bigger problems in front of us as a nation that we need to be dealing with than other things in his life a long time ago. I think some of these things – that’s for him and his wife to deal with,” Graham insisted.
“I don’t defend those kinds of relationships he had. But the country knew the kind of person he was back then, and they still made the decision to make him the president of the United States.”
One of the few things that Bill Clinton and Donald Trump have in common–probably the only thing– is their womanizing. But of course, there’s a big difference between Clinton’s sexual peccadillos and Trump’s.
Trump is Graham’s son-of-a-bitch.