Three term Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) launched a quixotic quest for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination. Aside from his scant standing in the polls, Senator Graham is also challenged by the fact that he is a life-long bachelor.
|Harriet Lane with President Buchanan|
|Grover Cleveland wedding 1886|
No Presidents in the 20th Century were faces with that dilemma in etiquette. The 15th President, James Buchanan, never married so his niece Harriet Lane Johnson acted in the role of the First Lady for White House social events. The 22nd (and 24th) President, Grover Cleveland, entered the White House as a bachelor. Initially, Cleveland's sister, Rose Cleveland, acted as White House hostess. However, President Cleveland married Francis Folsom in the White House Blue Room in 1886 and thereafter she assumed the ceremonial role as first lady.
In the event that a President Lindsey Graham ever had to host formal White House dinners, Senator Graham suggested that: "Well, I've got a sister, she could play that role if necessary. I've got a lot of friends. We'll have a rotating first lady." This creative answer should have put to rest such a peripheral political question.
Alas, Senator Graham had his good friend from Illinois, freshman Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) got caught in a hot mike moment.
During a Senate roll call vote, Senator Kirk referred to Lindsey's rotating First Lady situation as being necessitated because of an off the cuff comment:"[H]e's a bro with no ho." With friends like that, Lindsey, who needs enemies? Kirk's press secretary quickly sent out an email explaining that he was joking and apologized if anyone was offended.
What was Senator Kirk thinking being so jocose while being miked up? Is he prepping to win votes on Chicago's South Side for his re-election bid? Did his 2012 stroke impair his judgment on decorum? After all, Senator Kirk claimed that the stroke made him a better politician and a better man. Or is it an establishment politician who has become oblivious to always being in the limelights and just misbehaving?
The Chicago Tribune seized upon DNC talking points to question if Kirk is still fit for office with a string of off-the-mark comments. The 2016 election cycle is a difficult one for the Republicans to keep the Senate because the GOP has so many seats being contested. Kirk's comments make holding the Land of Lincoln's seat more questionable for the Republicans.
As for Presidential candidate Lindsey Graham, the quip concentrated attention on being a confirmed bachelor rather than his presumed prowess in military matters in a foreign policy driven election.