Commentary by Jim Campbell
Lindsey Graham reminds me of a petulant child. He refused to help his own constituent PFC Corey Clagett who remains wrongfully incarcerated in solitary confinement for following direct orders to kill while in Iraq.
He incredulously worked on cap-and-trade legislation and was co author of a bill in the United States Senate but with drew his support when his position began drawing fire. Please note, “Lindsey Graham: For Cap and Trade, Except When He’s Not,” by Christopher Horner.
The guy is a weasel, and probably would like to be the last person to vote so that he could to the most politically expedient thing for his own maintenance of personal power.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it, I’m J.C. and I approve this message.
Tea Partiers hope for a strong foe, but state’s senior senator confident
WASHINGTON — These days, Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina isn’t deriding town hall hecklers as a bunch of “angry white guys” or branding as losers the conservative activists who criticize him at the S.C. GOP’s convention.
Starting his 18th year in Congress, Graham also is not writing New York Times columns with U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., on the dangers of climate change, pitching immigration reform or predicting the demise of the Tea Party.
Instead, Graham is struggling to respond to the political force of Republican insurgents who helped elect backbench legislator Nikki Haley South Carolina’s governor in 2010 and, last month, gave Newt Gingrich’s anti-Washington presidential campaign its only win so far, in the state’s Republican Primary.
Is the recalibrated Graham just being a shrewd pol, adapting to the times? Or is he running scared, afraid of a serious primary challenge in 2014?
Graham sat in his Capitol Hill office earlier this month, pondering those questions for a moment or two, which, for the Seneca Republican, is a rhetorical eternity.
Then, he responded in typical fashion.
“I fear God,” he quipped with a laugh, easing into what sounded like the outline of a stump speech.
“My profile is — I’m conservative, not an ideologue,” Graham said.
Midway through his second term in the Senate, Graham assesses himself as better prepared now than ever before to help the nation and his state.
“I want to be a guy that Democrats can find common ground with on the issues of the day,” Graham said. “I want to do something on Social Security and Medicare. I want to find a way to get Tea Party Republicans and conservative Reagan Republicans, like myself, and some middle-of-the-road Democrats in a room to solve problems.”
Asked again whether he fears a primary fight, Graham cut to the chase.
“No, I don’t fear one; I expect one,” he said. “In politics, you have to earn these jobs, and I just feel real prepared.”
‘Graham is really an outcast’
In his first Senate re-election campaign, in 2008, Graham swamped his GOP challenger, then soundly defeated the Democratic nominee.
Now, in Myrtle Beach, Tea Party leader Joe Dugan already is marshaling activists to make sure Graham faces a formidable foe in two years.
“Graham is really an outcast,” Dugan said. “He stands out like a sore thumb in a state as conservative as South Carolina. I wish he were up for re-election this year so we could vote him out.”
Good luck with that, said Barry Wynn, a former state Republican Party chairman. Wynn — the campaign treasurer for South Carolina’s other U.S. senator, Tea Party darling Jim DeMint of Greenville — has close ties with conservative activists across the state.
“I can tell you there are some noisy people who would like to run somebody against Lindsey Graham, but they really represent a fairly small minority,” Wynn said. “My money would be on Lindsey to win any Republican Primary in the state by a landslide.”
Wynn also cited Graham’s fundraising prowess, noting many of DeMint’s biggest campaign contributors also give generously to Graham.
DeMint, the onetime Republican backbencher who has risen in stature to national conservative icon, disagrees with critics who brand Graham as a RINO — a “Republican in Name Only.”
“Lindsey has been a really great partner of mine on just about every issue — Social Security reform, tax reform, a balanced-budget amendment,” DeMint said. “He’s passionate and great at what he does.”
In a Clemson University poll last November, Graham fared reasonably well among Republican voters: Sixty-three percent approved of his performance as senator versus 23 percent who disapproved.
“If somebody’s going to tackle Lindsey, they’d better pack two lunches because he’s going to eat the first one,” said Katon Dawson of Columbia, also a former state GOP chief.