Philip Klein of National Review thinks so. In fact, his latest column is called “Lindsey Graham is an idiot.”
Klein bases his assessment on the fact that Graham is now back on board the bipartisan infrastructure deal. Graham had jumped off when Joe Biden said he would only sign the bipartisan bill in tandem with a multi-trillion dollar Democrats-only reconciliation bill containing the rest of his liberal wish list. At that point, Graham declared that Biden had made him look like “a f—— idiot.”
Because it’s still clear that Biden, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi view the bipartisan bill and the Dems’ reconciliation bill as a package, it’s understandable that Klein calls Graham an idiot. Is he one, though?
I’ve made many derogatory comments about Graham over the years, but I’ve never considered him unintelligent. I still don’t.
It’s difficult for anyone on the outside to know just how the infrastructure-plus saga will play out in a bipartisan scenario and how it would play out without Republican buy-in. My sense is that the legislative result will be basically the same whether it’s the product of two bills — a bipartisan deal plus reconciliation — or just one reconciliation bill. In either case, it will come down to what Joe Manchin wants.
Similarly, my guess is that the political fallout will be more or less the same in either scenario.
It’s conceivable that Manchin will force Democrats to take a somewhat smaller total package to reward Republicans for their bipartisanship. On the other hand, it’s conceivable that, to keep the price tag of a reconciliation bill down, he would take a somewhat smaller total package if Republicans forced him to do the whole thing through reconciliation.
At the most, though, we’re talking about marginal differences, I suspect.
My preference, nonetheless, is for making the Democrats go it alone. But that’s mainly because of my distaste, on aesthetic grounds, for bipartisanship.