Graham Whistles “Dixie” on Morning Joe

Franklin Graham’s Fat Tuesday appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe came with his usual “dog whistle” to the Tea Party and Teavangelicals about Obama being a Muslim. Graham has done this before, back in April of 2011, when he discussed President Obama on This Week with Christiane Amanpour. Graham threw out all of the dog whistles he could, bringing up Jeremiah Wright, and pushing back on the panels’ direct question to him as to whether President Obama or not is a Christian, by saying that “you’d have to ask him.” Franklin Graham is playing a dangerous game for the RNC and his role as Dog Whistle Evangelist for whomever is the leading religious conservative candidate smacks of pandering in the worst way. Graham’s Dixie Whistle is both racially coded and religiously coded, and is designed to push white conservatives Rick Santorum’s way.

Franklin Graham has been shilling for conservative republicans relentlessly since the 2008 election, always managing to be in proximity to whomever is the strongest “values” candidate in the GOP field; back in 2008 it was rumored that Graham was one of a small number of those responsible for bringing Palin to the attention of the McCain Camp.

Graham’s M.O. is to show up on television every time a very conservative Christian candidate rises to the forefront of the current political cycle, attaching himself much like his father, Billy Graham, to the person of power. Unlike Billy however, who courted presidents, Franklin is crass enough to jump aboard even before the voting and vetting process is completed. Back in April 2011, When Donald Trump was squawking about running for president, Franklin threw Sarah Palin under the bus, and said Palin wouldn’t run (he was right). He promptly began promoting Donald Trump’s “Where’s the Birth Certificate” screed.

He raised a ruckus on ABC’s “This Week” Easter Sunday in 2011, when host Christiane Amanpour interviewed him, complaining that he couldn’t understand why President Obama had not produced his birth certificate. He also took the opportunity to brag about his own Christianity and to question Obama’s definition of what a Christian is against his own. Moreover, he continued to repeat, and he did on Morning Joe, that Obama’s Muslim heritage was conferred because his father was a muslim.

Franklin Graham however, is even more dangerous than the garden variety spouter of birther lies and misconceptions. He is the head of Samaritan’s Purse, a multi-million dollar aid organization which he draws a considerable salary from, and he owns properties on the Soldotna Peninsula in Alaska. Franklin also flew Sarah Palin around for her 2009 book tour, and regularly has the tail numbers of his planes blocked at What does he have to hide?

Franklin Graham’s appearances are coordinated to help out whichever Republican conservative candidate he perceives to be on top at any given time. Like his father, he wants to be the prayer partner of Presidents. But Franklin, frankly, is too crass for his own good. Crowing about his Christianity on television, while barely concealing both his racism and his bias, Graham’s appearance on Morning Joe is just proof that the Teavangelical and religious right is far from dead. Graham’s lies and opportunistic Christianity at the expense of lying about President Obama is a damnable thing, and I can only hope that he is held to account for his shameless pandering to power. The Republican Party has in Franklin Graham their very own pandering pilot as party evangelist, who is selling a sow’s ear instead of a silk purse.