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Doug Clifton: Lindsey Graham needs to stop playing the crazy card

Somebody needs to grab Sen. Lindsey Graham by the scruff of the neck and give him a shake or two. In the ideal, it would be one of his Republican colleagues but that’s not likely, given the party’s weapon of choice — extortion.

Last month the party nearly shut down the government and pushed the country into default in the GOP zeal to kill Obamacare. Happily, cooler heads emerged and the shutdown was avoided.

Where are those cooler heads now?

Graham is threatening to block a slew of appointments unless he gets to personally interview 30 or so witnesses in his quest to get to the bottom of the Benghazi affair.

How four Americans were killed in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi has been an obsession of House and Senate Republicans since two days after the assault. What, exactly, they are looking for is hard to tell.

Do they think then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was somehow complicit? President Obama? Some other high-ranking administration official? Hearings have been held. Investigations have been launched and concluded.

Dozens have testified under withering cross-examination. All have produced nothing except the obvious, a tragedy occurred, one that would have happened no matter who was president. (There were fewer investigations and far less accusatory rhetoric after the Beirut bombing that killed hundreds of Marines on Ronald Reagan’s watch.)

But petulant Lindsey Graham isn’t happy and won’t be unless he gets his way. When “60 Minutes” aired its much touted and subsequently discredited investigation of the Benghazi case, Graham was nearly gleeful.

When the bottom fell out of the “60 Minutes” report, Graham was asked if he would abandon his quest. He didn’t skip a beat. “I want to perform oversight,” he said on CNN’s “Face The Nation.” And he’ll block key appointments until he gets to interrogate all potential witnesses in the case.

Among the hostages to Graham’s whimsical search are Janet Yellen, who was nominated to chair the Federal Reserve and Jeh Johnson, nominated to head the Department of Homeland Security.

By Graham’s twisted logic, it’s more important for him to interview Benghazi witnesses than for the nation to have a Homeland Security chief.

The Obamacare extortion attempt didn’t work so well for the Republican Party. Every poll showed that Americans blamed the Republicans for the shutdown fiasco.

What makes Graham think he’s covering himself in glory with his latest gimmick? Does he think he’s going to be named the hero of Benghazi? I hate to break the news to him, but he’s more likely to be seen as the exploitive petty politician that he is.

He’s no doubt playing the crazy card because he has a primary opponent to whom he has to prove his right-wing bona fides. He does that at the risk of his reputation. Wouldn’t it be so much better for him to be seen as the more reasonable candidate than the more loony one?

And wouldn’t it be better for the nation too?

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