The price of Graham’s arrogance

Tomorrow, GOP voters will go to the polls across South Carolina, and among those they will put in office, and those who they will remove from office, United States Senator Lindsey Graham will receive enough votes to give him the GOP nomination, all but assuring him a return to Washington for six more years.

Were it not for the Senator’s arrogance, it is a race which might never have happened in the first place.

Graham, once a darling of conservative activists for his role in the impeachment proceedings against former President Bill Clinton, had risen quickly. His election to the Senate came ten years following his political debut as the first Republican State House member to be elected from Oconee County. Few could have predicted that six years later, he would be a virtual pariah in his party.

Senator Graham isn’t in trouble for the overwhelming majority of the votes he cast. His trouble stems from a number of highly-visible actions that have infuriated conservative activists. Votes that might have been explained, but the Senator never felt the need to do that.

It’s not uncommon for a politico to buck the party line from time to time. Generally, once they realize they’ve rattled some cages, they take the time to reach out to those offended, and appeal to the good judgment of their friends in their party to weigh one vote against the many others which met the party loyalty test.

That’s not what Graham has done. He has chosen to keep the rank-and-file of the party at arm’s length. Instead of engaging his critics in a hands-on campaign, he has chosen to let their attacks go unanswered and run for re-election hiding behind a five million dollar warchest.

We’re not going to entirely disagree with Graham’s politics. The Gang of 14 turned out to be a smart move, keeping the GOP relevant even after the Democrats took the Senate. Being willing to reach out and work with Democrats, especially since they took over the Senate, has allowed him to play a role in avoiding the kinds of tensions that were seen a few years ago when former Senator Tom Daschle led a 51 seat Democratic majority.

But these are things that he has never tried to explain to the party faithful who feel betrayed by these and other moves. Maybe he felt such explanations would not be welcome, or maybe he didn’t feel he needed to explain anything.

For such arrogance, Lindsey Graham won’t get our endorsement, nor our votes. In our opinion, he’s done nothing to deserve either.

Senator Graham’s efforts to work with his party back home pales in comparison to the state’s junior Senator, Jim DeMint, who has attracted a following among conservatives both at home and nationwide. Should he win the nomination tomorrow, Graham would be wise to be more like DeMint and a lot less like he’s been during his first term.

5 Response to "The price of Graham’s arrogance"

  1. Moye Graham 9/6/08 14:02
    Well I got his bumper sticker on the back of my car and a sign in both yards. I also have a Buddy Witherspoon sign in one yard and both of the signs on a lot on main street. I did vote absentee a couple of weeks ago and yes I voted for Graham. While I do not agree on everything I do know that Graham is not a Liberal. I also know that out of all the candidates including Mark McBride that Senator Graham is the strongest and best to represent SC. Of course that is my opinion.
  2. Anonymous 9/6/08 15:33
    So Graham is a pariah in his party yet he is going to win the party nomination, probably overwhelmingly? Ugh, that doesn't make a lot of sense.

    Or maybe it's because some of the local GOP county parties are being taken over by Ron Paul followers or sometimes even worse.

    Graham is in the mold of Thurmond and Campbell. They were conservative in their beliefs and practice but not off the deep end. Unfortunately, some in the current SCGOP are extreme in their beliefs. They aren't wild about Graham and probably won't ever be. Nothing you can do about that dynamic.
  3. Anonymous 9/6/08 19:53
    Graham traded SC votes for millions of out of state cash. He will probably win tomorrow...but it will be closer than most people think.

    I am a life long republican and I am voting against him. I am just plain tired of these guys.
  4. Anonymous 10/6/08 06:24
    Sorry Mr. Capps, you left out a biggie. Lindsey Graham does not represent the PEOPLE of South Carolina. Don't ask for anything because he simply won't help the average citizen of this state. Now he needs our help?
    Why should anyone in South Carolina help Lindsey Graham go misrepresent us??
    I'm going to vote today too. Buddy's my man.
  5. mr. graham 10/6/08 18:26
    do you like it when they call you mr. capps

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