Is the Republican party ready to nominate a confirmed bachelor for president? We’re going to get a chance to find out. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has formed an exploratory committee for a presidential run. Graham is joining a field so crowded with candidates that they threaten to outnumber the sum total of registered Republicans in the country.
Over the years, Graham has lovingly burnished his antigay creds, opposing the repeal of DADT and gay-inclusive immigration reform. Just this week, he proved once again that he can drag his knuckles with the best of them, asking Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch why marriage equality didn’t clear the way for polygamy.
Of course, Graham’s main problem is that he may have some skeletons rattling around in his, er, closet. His far-right opponents in last year’s GOP primary didn’t have any problems labeling him “ambiguously gay” and “a nancy boy.” Rumors about Graham on the verge of being outed pop up every once and a while, a phenomenon that will increase dramatically if he runs for president. Esquire political columnist Charles Pierce pointedly calls Graham Senator Huckleberry J. Butchmeup. (Graham’s official photo doesn’t do much to knock that nickname down.)
Needless to say, Graham insists he’s not gay. He’s done so by speculating about having a relationship with Ricky Martin, which is exactly the kind of thing that a red-blooded heterosexual would do.
The only bachelor to occupy the White House was James Buchanan, who had a long-standing relationship with Franklin Pierce’s Vice President, William Rufus King. History rates Buchanan as one of the worst presidents ever. Given Graham’s track record in the Senate, we’re confident that he could give Buchanan a run for his money.