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Gone With The Wind: Has Obama Blown It?

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Well, honey chile, South Carolina's favorite McCain Munchkin says he has.

Lindsey Graham was on Meet the Press Sunday morning. Somebody grab the smelling salts--he's near-swooning with disappointment. You'd have thought he'd lost his last, best role model for Honest Change in Government. Barack Obama has opted out of "public funding" and po' Lindsey is simply mortified. "It's pitiful...pitiful!" he declared. "It's sad." Oh, Lawd.

To save his soul, Graham jes' could not lay on the self-righteous moralizing molasses thick enough: Oh, the shame of it! Barack Obama has broken his promise to the American people. Nice gentlemen simply do not do that. According to McCain's favorite "Little Jerk," Obama "chose winning over his word...His cause is to win the election, not change the country..." Lindsey is all a-flutter, too, because Obama "...has all that talent..." and Lord, have mercy! He's jes' wasted it all! Frittered away all that talent and all that honesty. Why? Well, Lil Ole Lindsey says he can't understand why "...1.4 million [individual small donors] can make you change your mind..." Please! Somebody stop Barack before Lindsey faints dead away!

Now, I can argue 'til the cows come home (as Munchkin put it this morning) that Senator Obama made no such promise without conditions. He said more about public funding than simply "Yes." Look it up.

I can argue that the purpose of true public funding is exactly what the Obama Campaign has achieved with a million and a half small donors footing the bills without compromising the candidate. I can argue that the notion of "suddenly McCain sanctioned" public funding--which takes half of my piddling little contribution and gives it to a candidate I do not support, will not vote for and resent having to finance--denies me a real, clear choice. I'm a woman-- and you'd better believe choice is a mighty sore subject with me in more ways than one.

I can argue that, in January 2004, on the Fox News show "On the Record," John McCain said:

"I think it's wonderful that Howard Dean was able to use the Internet, $50, $75, $100 contributions. That's what we want it to be all about. We want average citizens to contribute small amounts of money, and that's a commitment to a campaign. I'm for that. I think it's a great thing. I think the Internet is going to change American politics for the better."

I can argue that John McCain now tries to tell us there's something sinister about Barack Obama successfully doing what McCain lauded in 2004--and that his favorite mouthpiece, Lindsey Graham, is out there selling the lie.

I can argue that, unlike the John Kerry, Barack Obama will not go quietly into that good night of lethal GOP 527 bullets without an Uzi. "Average citizens committed to a campaign" are that Uzi. There are a million and a half of them--and more are coming--who will rise up when macho-man John McCain is too pitiful, too weak, to control his 527 pet pit bulls (He can't stop 527s--but wants us to believe he can say "Boo!" and Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan will tremble?) . They'll darn well rise up with cash, honey--cash enough to fight back if they have to.

But I won't.

Because the core issue Sunday morning was honesty. Lindsey Graham is having a nationally televised hissy-fit because, he squeals, Barack Obama's character is at issue now that we know he's not entirely honest. Really? By whose definition?

To give that argument veracity, to make that argument stick, Graham has to be able to put his honest money where his honest mouth is. And he can't do it. Has he lied to us? Has he lied to us about really big, really dangerous things? You bet your fatback and collard greens he has.

In the spring of 2007 Lindsey-Loo tagged along with Big John McCain on a trip to Iraq. They enjoyed a happy little jaunt to Shorja, Baghdad's central market. Shorja had been bombed at least six times in the months between the summer of 2006 and the U.S. delegation's visit, but the war-lovin' GOP insisted their urge to surge had changed everything. Peace at last, y'all. So, a shopping trip was in order. To prove the point. McCain and Graham were off to the market. And they were safe as two babies in a buggy. Everyone, McCain said, had a grand time--no gunfire, no IEDs, no suicide bombers in sight. "Yeah...What he said!" Lindsey echoed.

Shorja and Baghdad were safe, McCain pronounced.

"Yeah...What he said!" Lindsey giggled.

"Never have I been able to go out into the city as I was today," McCain exclaimed.

"Yeah...What he said!" Little Sir Echo--well, echoed.

Now we all know that shopping trip in balmy Baghdad was hardly what tag team McCain/Graham tried to market to the masses when they came home. Oh, they were safe, alright. But only because the bullet-proof vest clad delegation had a little protection. Like a hundred armed troops with armored Humvees, sharpshooters on the rooftops and armed attack helicopters circling overhead. Oh-- and traffic to the area was redirected and market access restricted to Americans only while the Dynamic Duo were there.

In case you didn't know it: Within 36 hours of that shopping spree Shorja was bombed. Again.

They were a tad less than honest with their "Lookee here how we're winning this war, folks! We can shop 'til we drop!" propaganda. They lied. Lindsey Graham lied.

With the kind of massive military protection John and Lindsey enjoyed, Paris Hilton could go shopping, buck nekkid, carrying a fistful of cash, with a gallon-sized Baggie of high grade cocaine duct-taped to her bare keester, in the highest crime area of the most crime-ridden city in America--and no one would touch her.

Lindsey Graham looked us right in the eye after Shorja and lied to us. In the event it hasn't hit you yet, let me point out that real people died--and continue to die--because of Senator Graham's willingness to lie about something really, really big. Really, really, dangerous. Dangerous to folks who, by accident of birth, are Iraqi women, children and old men. Dangerous to the troops he and McShame say they honor and vow to support. Dangerous to the world and to U. S. security--that would be us, our children, our grandchildren.

And anyone who'd lie about something that big cannot be trusted to tell the real truth about anything else.

Given the whole story behind Senator Obama's decision about public funding, given Graham's own failure to tell the whole truth about Shorja, his moral indignation about honoring one's word was a tad disingenuous. Given John McCain's own lavish praise for the concept of building exactly the small donor based campaign Barack Obama has built, Graham's disdain was hypocritical.

Obama's mistake, it seems, was being astonishingly successful at engineering his own campaign finance reform. His decision to stick with it is sinister only because John McCain can't muster support enough do the same thing. And because Lindsey Graham says it is.