In a June 28 New York Times profile, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) fired back at the Tea Partiers who have been hounding him in South Carolina.
Graham has been a favorite target of Palmetto State Tea Partiers for his attempts at bipartisanship.
At a Town Hall event last year, one Tea Party microphone jockey mocked Graham, “You keep wanting to reach across the aisle to the Democrats. It’s like you made a pact with the devil. . . when are you going to announce that you’re going to be switching parties?”
Tea Partiers have also called Graham dishonest because they claim he is closeted
They believe that his hidden homosexuality has led to blackmail attempts that have caused Graham to sell out his country.
It sounds like one of the fantasies common to true believers of McCarthyism.
Graham has repeatedly denied being homosexual, stating, “I know it’s really gonna upset a lot of gay men — I’m sure hundreds of ’em are gonna be jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge — but I ain’t available. I ain’t gay. Sorry.”
As usual in 21st century America, gays are the leading scapegoats along with Muslims. If you can’t beat ’em, and they’re not Muslim, just call them names.
Harry Kibler, a low-level Tea Party hack running for the Greenville City council, keeps a a toilet in the back of his truck with what a sign says are Graham’s legs sticking out of it as a part of his RINO (Republicans in name only) hunt (see Youtube video at end of article). Graham is also in the gunsights of another patriotic Tea Party group, Resistnet.com.
If you think that Graham has the moderate inclinations that would lead to party defection, as with his Senate colleagues Arlen Specter and Joe Lieberman, think again.
Graham has described himself as a “Ronald Reagan-Strom Thurmond-Lindsay Graham Republican.”
If this isn’t a frightening enough description of Graham for you, check out the following factoids:
• Graham is a military prosecutor
• Graham is pro-death penalty
• Graham is pro-drilling in ANWAR
• Graham is pro-school prayer
• Graham led the Clinton impeachment in the House
• Graham chaired the McCain-Palin campaign
• The NAACP gives Graham an approval rating of 11%
• The Human Rights Campaign and the ACLU give Graham approval ratings of 0% respectively
• The American Conservative Union gives Graham an approval rating of 82 %
Tea Partiers must be quaking in their boots at the thought of such a liberal holding office!
Graham’s major sin to the Tea Party’s rank and file is his criticism of Ron Paul and libertarianism and his adoption of the pragmatic view of government that has led to his bipartisanship.
Oh, and the fact that Graham views the Tea Partiers as untalented, loud-mouthed, ‘angry white guys’ who have no idea about how government works or what they would do if elected office fell to one of their own.
Because of the Tea Partiers, Graham said, ‘Ronald Reagan would have a hard time getting elected as a Republican today.’
Graham sees the Tea Party movement as lacking the ideas, values, or political power to elect Republicans to office.
The senator recalls meeting with Tea Party leaders in his office, and being shocked at their incompetence.
“The problem with the Tea Party, I think it’s just unsustainable because they can never come up with a coherent vision for governing the country,” Graham said. “It will die out.”
To add insult to injury, Graham faults the Tea Party for a lack of leadership.
“We don’t have a lot of Reagan-type leaders in our party. Remember Ronald Reagan Democrats? I want a Republican that can attract Democrats.”
Graham’s bipartisanship comes from having John McCain as his mentor when he entered the Senate.
Graham is particularly dismayed by the legislative gridlock in Washington, and has a strong desire to deal with the pressing issues of the day such as a comprehensive energy policy, climate change, immigration reform, and Obama’s moratorium on deep-water drilling.
Graham’s pragmatic Republican populism was on display to an unresponsive crowd at a commencement address at Lander University this May.
“My advice to you graduates is . . . try to be part of the solution, not the problem. . . . And the only way we’re going to solve these problems is working together.”
This is just the kind of talk that riles up the Tea Party. Working together. Getting things done.