Why is it OK for Jon Stewart to make Lindsey Graham gay jokes?

“Daily Show” host Jon Stewart was at it again Tuesday night, making jokes implying that South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is gay.

Stewart played video of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s 11-hour Senate speech against renewal of the Patriot Act, in which Graham can be seen in the lower part of the screen rolling his eyes.

“Well! Why, Randal J. Paul! I do declare! If you do not stop this nonsense immediately, well, I have no choice but to take my pupils and rotate them from one side of my orbital socket twixt to the other!” Stewart said, dripping in Southern accent. “That’s right, Randal Paul, look at the whites of the corners of my eyes and know I am so over this!”

He closes the segment, mocking Graham again with, “Bring me my faintin’ couch!”

Stewart’s gay barbs are subtle. He never literally questions Graham’s sexuality, but the words he puts into the senator’s mouth are in a feminine tone and evoke Victorian women. The fainting couch, for instance, was typically used by the fairer sex, as one once might have said, to deal with the hysteria typically associated with their gender.

When Stewart interviewed Rand Paul later in the show, he asked if Graham might have rolled his eyes because Paul was “wearing white before Memorial Day.”

One of Stewart’s favorite lines for his Graham impersonation is to say he is suffering from “the vapors,” a Victorian-era term for various indefinable female maladies.

A September 17, 2013 post by The Atlantic Wire yukked it up along with Stewart as Graham complained about the “peaceful solution” that had just been reached with Syrian President Basher Assad.

“I have not seen a disaster such as this since I arrived at the Beauregard Cotillion with a magnolia in my hair when everyone else was wearing orchids,” Stewart said.

Not only did he make Graham into a Southern belle, but one who was into whips and chains as well.

“I wanted to see him squirm,” Stewart said as Graham. “I wanted to tie Assad up and spank his taut — his taut Syrian — oh, I’m gettin’ the vapors.”

HuffPost Comedy enjoyed Stewart’s impersonation so much they produced a compilation video of him and substitute host John Oliver doing it.

In 2010, the never-married Graham told The New York Times Magazine  that rumors he is gay are untrue. Jon Stewart even defended Graham against the slur back at the time when it was some of his fellow Republicans making the accusation.

Stewart defended Graham when he was being slurred by other Republicans, but joins in the bashing – while cleverly never saying he is – when that same Republican is doing something he disagrees with.

Why is it OK for a good liberal like Stewart to make gay jokes about a man who says he isn’t gay and for which there is no evidence that he is? And regardless, why is gay-bashing acceptable just because a liberal is doing the bashing against a conservative?

Not very gentlemanly of you, my good Mr. Stewart.

Richter is a freelance writer whose work appears at Newsmax.com and The Clyde Fitch Report. Follow him on Twitter at @OwenTew.

Tags Lindsey Graham Rand Paul

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