Lindsey “Still Exists” Graham may finally be getting the picture about his past-dead presidential ambitions.

At a speech Thursday to the Republican Jewish Coalition, Graham took a short detour, before launching into his usual crazy hawk routine (“we’re gonna go in and pull the caliphate up by the roots and kill every one of these bastards we can find”), to admonish his own party—mostly Ted Cruz and Donald Trump—for being too “hard-ass” on immigration and abortion. He’s starting to sound like what he is: a candidate with nothing to lose.

Take it away, Graham:

“How many of you believe we lose elections because we’re not hard-ass enough on immigration?”

“I believe we’re losing the Hispanic vote because they think we don’t like them. I believe that it’s not about turning out evangelical Christians, but about repairing the damage done by incredibly hateful rhetoric driving a wall between us and the fastest growing demographic in America, who should be Republicans.”


“If you wanna ask Hispanics why they’ve gone from 44 percent of support for the Republican party to 27, they’ll tell you “we don’t think you like us.” And given what I’ve heard I would be in their camp, too.

It’s worth watching the portion of the speech (around the 8:00 mark in this video) he devotes to immigration—Graham speaks plainly and rationally about citizenship and policy. If you’re like me and despair at the bitterness and ignorance on display in this election cycle, this will be a welcome relief. I can’t believe I just said that about Lindsey Graham.

Ted Cruz, whose speech earlier at the same forum apparently inspired Graham’s lecture, found himself in the crosshairs:

“How are you going to bring us together if your whole career has been about dividing us?”

“I am tired of that crap.”

He went after his party’s orange gasbag by name:

“I believe Donald Trump is destroying the Republican Party’s chance to win an election that we can’t afford to lose.”

On abortion:

“How many of you think we have a problem with young women as Republicans? Why do you think that is? Any idea? It’s a variety of problems. How about abortion? Any of you think that that does create a problem for the Republican party?”

“I think you can be pro-life as you want to be, as long as you’re sincere, and as long as you have a reasonable approach to the pro-life issue. I am pro-life.”


“It’s not because of social issues that we will lose. It’s positions we take regarding social issues that can disconnect us from America at large. How many of you believe there should be an exception for a woman that has been a victim of rape, has become pregnant? I don’t believe you can be pro-life and win an election if you’re gonna tell a woman who’s been raped she has to carry the child of the rapist, you’re losing most Americans.”

On Lindsey Graham:

“Not the speech you thought you were gonna hear, right? Not the speech I thought I was gonna give.”

Graham was pretty fired up, pounding the lectern, raising his voice, scolding his party, and so on. He gets a lot wrong. A lot. But pissed off, end-of-his-rope Lindsey Graham will pound the lectern and raise his voice and scold his party, and that’s a more entertaining Lindsey Graham, for sure.


Photo via AP