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Lindsey Graham's unique list of priorities

Associated Press

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), making his 13th Sunday show appearance of the year, said something interesting on ABC yesterday that arguably deserves a little more attention. Host George Stephanopoulos asked the prospects for a crisis resolution that can pass both chambers of Congress. The Republican senator said he doesn't see one.

"[H]ere's what I'm worried about a deal coming out of the Senate: that a majority of Republicans can't vote for in the House, that really does compromise Speaker Boehner's leadership. And after all this mess is over, do we really want to compromise John Boehner as leader of the House? I don't think so.

"So I'm not going to vote for any plan that I don't think can get a majority of Republicans in the House, understanding that defunding Obamacare and delaying for a year is not a realistic possibility now."

Graham is obviously just one senator, though he's not without influence in the chamber, and much of the media takes him seriously, making his perspective that much more noteworthy.

The government is shut down and we're just days from a debt-ceiling deadline, and Lindsey Graham has to decide what's important to him. Finding a resolution that can pass both chambers and earn President Obama's signature? Not quite -- he wants a resolution that will satisfy "a majority of Republicans in the House" so John Boehner's stature is protected.

In other words, a bill could pass the Senate and the House, and enjoy the White House's support, but that's not quite good enough for the senior senator from South Carolina. Stephanopoulos didn't press the point, or really even acknowledge it in passing, but three days from an economic catastrophe, Graham believes what truly matters isn't what can pass the House, but what can garner the approval of the House's radicalized Republican caucus -- the same folks who shut down the government for no apparent reason.

Why? Because the senator is worried about "compromising Speaker Boehner's leadership." Seriously?

First, I think it's safe to say Boehner's leadership has already been compromised. Second, I'll look forward to Graham explaining to the nation after the economic collapse, "Don't worry, everyone, Republicans may have left the nation's economy in ruins, but the good news is Speaker Boehner's leadership hasn't been compromised."

Honestly, I don't know how comments like Lindsey Graham's don't lead to broader ridicule. The man effectively told a national television audience he's prioritized Boehner's political standing over the global economy.

Why would the political establishment consider this acceptable?