The OZY 'Hunger Games': Last Call for Lindsey Graham - OZY | A Modern Media Company

The OZY 'Hunger Games': Last Call for Lindsey Graham

The OZY 'Hunger Games': Last Call for Lindsey Graham

By Sean Braswell


Because a president is someone you want to have a beer with, not a Baileys on ice.

By Sean Braswell

Remember how the Hunger Games would honor its fallen tributes? In this occasional series, OZY predicts which presidential candidates will be the next to fall — whether they know it or not.

Sorry, Sen. Graham, but we’re going to have to cut you off. This election’s happy hour is finally coming to an end, and it’s time to start clearing out the undesirables still loitering around the bar. What’s that you say?  

“The first thing I’m gonna do as president — we’re gonna drink more.”

So we’ve heard from you. Well, Lindsey Olin Graham, we can’t wait. It’s a fine idea, and no surprise coming from a candidate raised above a South Carolina liquor store. And for a lifelong bachelor who doesn’t cook, own a smartphone or send email, it might just help make that rotating first lady scheme you’ve proposed go down more easily.

“You know what I like most about running for president? … It’s just fun.”

It is, isn’t it? And we’ve enjoyed having you, even if your campaign did not respond to OZY’s requests for comment. You’re a refreshing vaudeville act amid a cut-and-dried carnival rigged by pollsters and image consultants. Still, the bartenders are getting worried about your drinking alone so much after the show. And not only have you already been bounced from the main debate stage, your recent poll numbers carry more asterisks than a Barry Bonds stat line.

You may be the only military veteran left at the campaign bar now, but there’s a fine line between being a happy warrior and just another punch-drunk politician, and you’ve begun to slur your ideas, scaring people with talk of massive entitlement cuts, a ground war in Syria and “another 9/11.” But you’ve always been a pragmatist and a foreign-policy hawk capable of ruffling feathers across the room and the political spectrum, just like your good friend John McCain. From your early days in Congress managing the Clinton impeachment trials to your recent opposition to same-sex marriage (which you’ve compared to polygamy), you’ve picked your fair share of fights with liberals. Of course, when you weren’t fighting with them, you were working with them, on issues like immigration reform — much to the chagrin of your Republican drinking buddies (who call you “Grahamnesty” when your back is turned — sorry). 

One for the road? Sure, why not. It’s going to be a bumpy one. You’ve pinned your presidential hopes on New Hampshire and its pragmatic conservatives, hoping that a good showing there will vault you to victory in your home state’s primary, and then it’s off to the races, right? 

“I’m a young stalk of corn that’s going to grow tall.”

Sure, sure, you will. But even in your beloved Palmetto State, you’re polling near 1 percent, and 84 percent of GOP primary voters think you should quit the race cold turkey. A recent editorial in The Post and Courier in Charleston urged you to “concede reality” and drop out. But reality’s not easy to concede when you’re wearing those 2016 beer goggles — at least not until you wake up next to some dog-ugly 12th-place finish you took home from a caucus in Iowa.

So, it’s last call, senator. Drink up. And don’t worry, Ted Cruz will be happy to drive you home

Please raise your glasses to the Fallen, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. 


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