Of all the sitting Republican senators up for reelection in 2014, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina must be the prime target for a Tea Party led primary effort. Graham has been outright hostile to the Tea Party and describes himself to the New York Times as “completely opposite of where the Tea Party movement’s at.”
It’s hard to find a contentious vote where Graham has aligned himself with conservatives rather than progressives in the Senate. He voted to confirm both Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Elena Kagan. Each is an anti-Second Amendment activist on the bench of the Supreme Court.
South Carolinia’s retiring junior senator, Jim DeMint has a 100% lifetime rating from the free market Club for Growth. DeMint is a leader of the conservative movement in the Senate and should be regarded as a model for a challenger to Sen. Graham, who has only a 75% lifetime rating—one of the lowest among sitting Republicans.
Graham has a history of making bad votes. He’s a serial flip-flopper when it comes to raising the debt ceiling, voting against it in 2009, for it in 2008, for it again in 2008, against it in 2007, for it in 2006, for it in 2004, and for it in 2003. That’s consistency!
And Graham supported the worst pieces of legislation to come out of the Bush-era; TARP, the Patriot Act, and No Child Left Behind. Now Senator Graham is leading Republicans, like a progressive Pied Piper, to break a pledge many of them have made to never raise taxes. Graham is undercutting his fellow Republicans who are keeping their promises by refusing higher tax rates.
But perhaps most damning of all, Senator Graham is, along with Sen. John McCain, the leading neocon in the Senate. This crowd is willing to stomp on the constitution to pursue foreign nation building efforts. In an interview with Bob Schieffer Graham said “Free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war.” Are those the words of a man sworn to uphold the constitution? He also supports holding U.S. citizens indefinitely without trial, ignoring their rights. His justification is that America is at war, but, in another violation of the constitution, he and his Senate colleagues refuse to declare one.
South Carolinians and the nation need a more conservative alternative to Senator Lindsey Graham. There are a number of qualified candidates in South Carolina, and hopefully one of them will step forward to bring Senator Graham’s tenure to an end.