Sen. Lindsey Graham: Putting “Con” in Conservative
The first line of South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham’s public profile begins, “In the United States Senate, South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham has earned a reputation as a conservative leader willing to tackle the toughest issues facing our nation.” It appears there should be an asterisk immediately following this comment, and a list of items which point to the contrary being the case.
Whether it was Graham’s decision to support Mr. Obama’s liberal nominations of Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the US Supreme Court, or Graham’s amnesty views on immigration, or his desire to launch a war in Syria, Graham has not represented the conservative position among the majority of GOP members in his state. However, it was his outlandish liberal position tied to the remarks he made in support of the now infamous National Security Agency (NSA) spying scandal that have him putting the “con” in conservative.
During an interview reported on Fox News and covered by The Daily Caller, when asked about the NSA spy program allegedly to fight terrorism Graham replied, “It is happening in our own backyard, and I am glad that the NSA is trying to find out what terrorists are up to overseas and inside the country.” Conservatives across America were and are still outraged by the level of government intrusion on everything from private phone calls to emails to social media. Mr. Graham’s position on government spying versus right to privacy is heavily at odds with the Constitution and Conservatives.
As if all the noted reasons were not enough to out Mr. Graham as Democrat-lite, his allegiance to “Maverick, Trouble-maker John McCain” have caused quite a stir in the Conservative movement and especially among Tea Party members. Senator Graham and Senator McCain took very strong and controversial positions against fellow Republicans Rand Paul and most recently Ted Cruz.
When Senator Rand Paul took to the Senate floor to filibuster for more transparency about the drone spy program, it was Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham who lead the verbal assault against their fellow GOP member. The White House was free to remain aloof from the 13 hour long filibuster because the criticism they would have leveled was handled sufficiently by McCain and Graham. Yet, the verbal assaults did not stop with this incident but escalated when McCain called Senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee, “Wacko Birds” all while the anything but conservative Graham nodded his happy approval.
The position Graham takes towards Senator Paul as being ridiculous and not worthy of a response are of and in themselves ridiculous and thus a response essential. Mr. Graham asserted that he did not remember any Republicans accusing former President Bush of using drones to kill Americans so why would anyone now accuse Mr. Obama? Well, it could be that Mr. Obama killed an American overseas without a conviction, without a trial, or evidence of an imminent threat. It could be that the White House, via press secretary Jay Carney, said the following in response to criticism from an NBC report about the drone program under Obama:
“We conduct those strikes because they are necessary to mitigate ongoing actual threats—to stop plots, prevent future attacks and, again, save American lives. These strikes are legal, they are ethical, and they are wise.”
Carney’s comments came after NBC News published a Justice Department memo that lays out a broad rationale for targeting individual Americans anywhere outside the U.S. for assassination—without oversight from Congress or the courts, and even if the U.S. citizen in question is not actively plotting a specific terrorist attack.” (Read more here.)
Continuing the assault on fellow GOP members, when Senator Ted Cruz took to the floor to filibuster and attempt to debate the unpopular Affordable Care Act, it was again Graham and McCain the Dynamic Duo of Double Speak who attacked. First, both stated their objections for the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare but then decried the government shutdown over attempts to defund the law. Graham went so far as to say Cruz gave a “political gift” to the Obama administration. Though Graham claimed he supported defunding Obamacare, it was his actions or rather his vote which ultimately supported funding the law.
Graham experienced what some are calling a flip flop and others see as primary panic, when after Nancy Mace (a primary contender for Grahams Senate seat in SC) tweeted that Graham supported the funding of Obamacare, Graham quickly tweeted back that he was in support of defunding the law. Then, in an apparent flop of his flip flop, he voted in lock step with Democrats to fund the unpopular and poorly rolled out healthcare law.
Mr. Graham has served at the leisure of South Carolina tax payers for the past 19 years, first in the US House of Representatives from 1994 until his election to the Senate in 2002. During that time he has enjoyed a relatively favorable status among Republicans in general and conservatives in particular. That has taken a significant change since he began his alliance with Senator McCain after joining the Senate. His most recent poll numbers indicate he has much to fear in the upcoming mid-term elections. It appears the time for South Carolinians to oust the “con” man conservative from office and replace him with a true Conservative has arrived.