Politico reports today that Senate Republicans have let tensions spill into public view over who is to blame for the GOP's inability to take the Senate. "If you think what happened in Delaware is ‘a win’ for the Republican Party then we don’t have a snowball’s chance to win the White House," said South Carolina's Lindsey Graham, who channelled the establishment view. "If you think Delaware was a wake-up call for Republicans than we have shot at doing well for a long time."

It’s not every day that a front-page Washington Post report has copy that can be mocked as “Auditioning to Be the Next Obama Girl.” (That is, unless you count Eli “Obama's Chiseled Pectorals” Saslow.) James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal designated this florid passage for that title, from a sprawling 5,355-word Wednesday front-page article by reporters Michael Leahy and Juliet Eilperin.

The moment was vintage Obama -- emphasizing his zest for inquiry, his personal involvement, his willingness to make the tough call, his search for middle ground. If an Obama brand exists, it is his image as a probing, cerebral president conducting an exhaustive analysis of the issues so that the best ideas can emerge, and triumph.

Slogging through the entire article (eating up all of two inside pages) demonstrates that the Post reporters were praising Obama’s “zest” and thoughtfulness even as they summarized how Obama, in their view, struck too “centrist” a path by supporting offshore drilling and stiff-arming the Left – which Leahy and Eilperin never identify as liberals, merely as “environmental activists.” The Post reporters say Team Obama was trying to find a “grand bargain” to pass a “climate-change bill.”

On Sunday's Meet the Press, NBC host David Gregory wrapped up his interview with Sen. Lindsey Graham by setting up a debate with anti-war NBC reporter Richard Engel, who wasn't shy this week in asserting on NBC's Today that the Iraq war was unnecessary, that Saddam Hussein was growing more moderate and respectable by the day, and was gaining acceptance in Europe.

After Gregory played a clip of that -- complete with Engel calling Iraq a "giant distraction of resources" from Afghanistan, just like a congressional Democrat -- Senator Graham insisted that the NBC reporter was "completely rewriting history" and that Saddam "was not becoming a good citizen, he was becoming a more dangerous dictator. The world is better with him dead."

Even as this stage of the Iraq war, as the surge seems to quite clearly brought peace and calm, never-say-it's-a-win die-hards in the liberal media are the first line of attack on the Republican position:

Not the biggest deal, but emblematic of how the Washington press corps consider anyone to the right of center, no matter if barely so, to be a “conservative,” while anyone who strays at all from a perfect liberal line is not worthy of an ideological label.

Setting up Sunday’s Face the Nation, CBS's Bob Schieffer described guest Evan Bayh simply as “the Indiana Democrat” while tagging Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is every bit, if not more, off the conservative reservation as Bayh is off the liberal one, as a “conservative Republican.” Schieffer:
Today on Face the Nation: Is Washington broken? We'll talk to Evan Bayh, the Indiana Democrat. He's become so disillusioned with the Senate he's leaving, but he's still trying to find a way to ease the partisan rancor by teaming with conservative Republican Lindsey Graham who’s also here to talk about that...

CNN's John King on Thursday claimed Attorney General Eric Holder intentionally avoided Sen. Lindsey Graham's "stumping" question during the previous day's Senate Judiciary Committtee hearing because he didn't want to admit that trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other 9/11 suspects in a criminal courtroom is indeed precedent setting.

As NewsBusters reported Wednesday, Holder appeared stumped when Graham asked, "Can you give me a case in United States history where a enemy combatant caught on a battlefield was tried in civilian court?"

Speaking with WOR radio's Steve Malzberg Thursday, King said, "He knew the answer to the question. He just wasn't going to say it because...he did not want to be the one saying this is the first time we've ever done this" (15-minute audio available here, relevant section at 6:50, partial transcript follows along with embedded video of Graham-Holder exchange):

During Wednesday's Justice Department oversight hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) stumped Attorney General Eric Holder on what should have been a fairly routine question for America's top law enforcement official.

Maybe more surprisingly, NPR reported it at its website.

As NPR's Frank James noted, "The exchange started with Graham stumping Holder with a question one would have thought the attorney general would have been prepared for."

I quite agree (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, h/t Steve Malzberg):

Sarah Palin's new book "Going Rogue" is set for release on Nov. 17 and with that will likely come a media blitz of epic proportions. However, based on the cover of the Nov. 23 issue of Newsweek, someone felt a response was warranted.

The wizards of smart at Newsweek took an image from a shoot of Palin that originally appeared in Runner's World magazine for the cover and splashed the headlines, "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Sarah?" and "She's Bad News for the GOP - and For Everybody Else, Too."

Mike Allen of Politico previewed the cover in the Nov. 14 edition of his "Playbook." In it, he included these comments from Newsweek editor John Meacham who blamed Palin for Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., struggles with his conservative base in South Carolina. One of those struggles for Graham was his acknowledgment that climate change is a manmade phenomenon in need of a so-called "compromise," And that backlash is somehow former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's fault:

The New York Times Caucus blog reported moments ago that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has been censured by the local Republican Party in his home state "for many of the positions he has taken that do not represent the wishes of the people of South Carolina."

In essence, he's getting slammed for being what conservatives call a RINO -- Republican in name only.

As the Times' Bernie Becker reported:

On Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer tried to provide some perspective on the Fort Hood shooting, committed by an Islamic extremist: “It’s looking more and more like he was just, sort of, a religious nut. And you know Islam doesn’t have a majority – or the Christian religion has its full, you know, full helping of nuts too.”

Schieffer made the comments while speaking to Senator Lindsey Graham, who agreed that Muslims do not have “a corner” on extremism. Schieffer went on to wonder what role political correctness played in the shooter, Major Nidal Hasan, not being held accountable for radical comments he made prior to the attack: “Do you think the fact that he was a Muslim may have caused the military to kind of step back and be reluctant to challenge him on some of this stuff for fear that they’d be accused of discrimination or something like that?”

Graham replied: “I hope not. I hope – I hope that’s not the case....his actions do not reflect on the Islamic – Muslim faith” Schieffer added: “Well, I’m not suggesting that they do.” Promoting the very political correctness that Schieffer asked about, Graham argued: “But some people are. Some people are, and I want to say, as a United States Senator, that I reject that....Let’s don’t accuse people of basically giving him a pass because he’s a Muslim. Because I don’t think there’s any evidence of that.”

"The glow from a health care triumph faded quickly for President Barack Obama on Sunday as Democrats realized the bill they fought so hard to pass in the House has nowhere to go in the Senate."

That's not a quote from National Review, the Weekly Standard, NewsMax, or World Net Daily.

Such was the opening paragraph of a truly surprising Associated Press article published moments ago:

Chris Matthews, on Tuesday's "Hardball," invited on HBO's Bill Maher to mock GOP criticism of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor as Maher accused them of being "racist," and Matthews marveled at how Republicans can admire Sarah Palin but not someone who worked as hard as Sotomayor to achieve her position, as he pondered: "Why do they like somebody who's shown no sweat equity against somebody who's shown nothing but sweat equity?"

Before discussing Republican treatment of Sotomayor Matthews asked Maher to rate the audiences that come to see him in the South. Maher, not surprisingly, belittled most of the region, saying the ones that do come to his shows are the minority as they are "marbled in and surrounded by a bunch of hillbillies and rednecks." To which Matthews rejoined: "Isn't it refreshing to meet Southern liberals? Because the great thing about Southern liberals is they don't, they're not competing for the latest nuance of sexual freedom like in Greenwich Village. They are liberals, meaning they're, they're for black equality for example. Things like that, that are pretty nice and wholesome." [audio available here]

Not long after that slam against non-liberal Southerners, Maher threw out the charge of Republican racism:

MSNBC hosts Tamron Hall and David Shuster on Tuesday repeatedly grumbled at the tough questions Senator Lindsey Graham posed to Sonia Sotomayor over the judge's ability to keep her feelings in check. At one point during live coverage, Shuster derided the lawmaker's remarks as "patronizing" and fretted that "the blogs are already going crazy over this." Hall saw the statements as insinuating the nominee is too "hot blooded."

The comments that drew the ire of the anchors were Graham's quizzing of Sotomayor as to reports that lawyers have found her difficult to deal with in the courtroom. Graham probed, "I never liked appearing before a judge who was a bully. Do you think you have a temperament problem?"

Co-host Hall vociferously objected to Graham's queries. Responding to news articles about the subject, she complained, "These are anonymous sources....One might read into this that he's [Graham] talking about her being a hot-blooded person or a woman who can't control her emotions."