Nope! Graham instead used his TV time to announce that he would announce whether he was running on June 1 in his hometown of Central, South Carolina -- and to make the case why he is the only candidate (or potential candidate) in the field with the deep foreign policy experience necessary to be the next commander-in-chief.
"I'm running because I think the world is falling apart," Graham said. "I've been more right than wrong on foreign policy,"
Graham is far from alone in gaming the political media's voracious appetite for "news" to his benefit. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee did the "I am announcing when I am announcing" thing in mid-April during an appearance on Fox News Channel. He actually announced his presidential campaign on May 5. Ditto Texas Gov. Rick Perry whose wife, Anita, sent out a tweet over the weekend announcing an announcement next month.
There are lots reasons candidates do this sort of I-have-made-up-my-mind-about-when-I-will-make-up-my-mind dance.
The main one is because it works. Works in the sense that the best thing for anyone running for president -- especially someone not very well known like Graham -- is attention. Simply getting people to hear the name "Lindsey Graham" while they are getting ready for work in the morning is a win for the South Carolina Senator. So, the more times he can get that sort of media platform, the better it is for Graham. Hell, he'd probably make three announcements a week about when he was going to announce what he will do in 2016 if he could.
Aside from simply pure name recognition, announcing that you will announce also primes the pump for donors who might not be aware of if/when you are getting in. Think of the announcement of an announcement as akin to pressing that little red button on your lawn mower a few times to get the gas flowing through the system before you try to start it. Or like a "save the date" reminder for a wedding. You get the idea; it's a way for Graham to get his planned announcement on the calendar of the political, donor and media world.
What the announcement of the announcement is not designed to do is increase the drama of what Graham will say. Because, everyone already knows what he will say. He's made clear in the recent past that he's "99.9 percent" sure he's running for president. And, you don't signal a big event in your hometown to announce that you are not running for president. You can do that from anywhere.
The reality is that Graham, Huckabee, Perry and those that will, inevitably, follow in their footsteps, are doing what they should be doing: Taking advantage of the system. Whose to blame for the system? Me -- and my ilk -- who allow ourselves to be fooled over and over again by these candidates promising "big" announcements every few weeks.
As long as we in the media continue our Charlie Brown routine -- and, with the desire for new "news" growing with every passing day it seems certain we will -- candidates will continue to exploit it. Unfortunately, the cumulative effect will be for voters to pay even less attention than they already do -- since the boy can only cry wolf so many times before everyone stops paying any attention.