Here's Sen. Lindsey Graham, hitting a phone with a stick (and ruining a backdrop).


(IJReview on YouTube)

We'll get back to that. First, a story.

Once upon a time, in a simpler era -- 2010 -- then-governor Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) figured that the best way to show his state that he should be its governor was by demonstrating how much he hated climate change legislation.

So he got out his rifle and shot it.

This ad quickly became famous. It was a great combination of machismo, YouTube gimmickry, and, weirdly, public policy. People who had never heard of Joe Manchin suddenly knew him as "the guy who shot the cap-and-trade bill."

In other words, it gave him attention.

Five years later, there are 16 major Republican candidates running for their party's presidential nomination. But only one, Donald Trump, is attracting any attention. About the best hope candidates have had of getting people to pay attention to them is by attracting Trump's Sauron-like eye to themselves and basking in the spotlight.

Rand Paul tried a different tack. He busted out a chainsaw and, like Joe Manchin, proceeded to do damage to a much-hated bit of code: IRS tax law.

That video has only been viewed about 68,000 times. In the past 24 hours, he has barely registered at all in the number of Google searches for his name versus Trump's. And it didn't do a whole lot for his mentions on Twitter.


(Topsy.com)

Lindsey Graham, on the other hand, got a bit more lucky. Graham managed to attract Trump's attention by using the age-old and elegant strategy of calling Trump a "jackass." The bear having been poked, Trump responded by giving the entire world Graham's cell phone number.

Making it Graham's turn for a response. With the help of the conservative media site IJ Review, the senator released a Manchin-like video in which he got rid of his cell phone in various unnecessarily violent ways.

It's too early to tell how much attention Graham's gambit will garner, but the video has two advantages over Paul's. First, Graham was already getting more attention than Paul, thanks to Trump's attentions. Second, it's being pushed out by one of the more attention-hungry new media organizations.


(Google Trends)

But no one may care. A decade into the YouTube era, we've grown inured to videos in which things get destroyed. I mean, Sprint does ads where people chop stuff in half. Maybe pulling out a firearm and blowing a hole in something really is just sort of "2010."

Or maybe we just need to keep cranking up the intensity. Look for Rick Santorum, just out of the running for making the stage during the first debate, to eject out of a F-16 and paraglide down through the Grand Canyon, landing on the actual physical manifestation of Satan and firing some sort of homemade laser system that projects "AMERICA RULES" onto the Sun.

That's gotta be good for a point or two.