Lindsey Graham: Everybody F***ing Hates Me

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

Poor Lindsey Graham.

He’s the senior senator from the great state of South Carolina; a Republican who has held his office since 2003.  And yet very few people in his own home state can stand the sight of him.

Democrats hate him because he is a Republican.  Republicans hate him because he is a Democrat with an R behind his name.  He votes against his fellow Republicans 69% of the time.

One might ask, “How the hell does somebody like Lindsey Graham get elected in South Carolina?”  Well, it’s complicated.

You see, the last primary election in South Carolina featured six contenders for his Senate seat who filed as Republicans.  Five of them actually were conservative Republicans.  The sixth was Lindsey Graham.  Now, the Democrats knew they had no chance of winning the Senate seat in a conservative stronghold like South Carolina.  Fortunately for them, South Carolina has “open primaries”, where anybody from any party can vote in whatever primary they wish.  And the Democrats wished to elect Graham, knowing he will vote their way in the Senate most of the time.  They got him through the primary, and the general election went predictably easy for the guy in the “R” column.

At a time when Americans are dancing in the streets over the Trump-induced death of the liberal left, Lindsey doesn’t even pretend to be conservative.  He’s for big bailouts.  He busts his butt to preserve the corrupt corporate-crony Import/Export Bank program.  He leads the fight for amnesty.  After President Obama encouraged illegal immigrants to get out and vote, Lindsey excoriated President-elect Trump for even suggesting that vote fraud is possible.

Graham routinely supported even the most liberal nominees.  He scoffed at the Tea Party.  To everyone’s astonishment, he ran for President, but never advanced from the kids’ table in the debates, dropping out before spending any of his campaign funds.

There was a time when the Senator had one thing in common with Republicans – his support for a strong military and a generally hawkish outlook on foreign affairs.  But even that is no longer completely in step with recent conservative sentiments.  Strong military, yes.  Protracted and expensive engagement in foreign entanglements without an end game or any obvious American interests served, not so much.

Washington, DC can be a lonely place sometimes.  And Lindsey Graham may be the most hated man in town.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

In a trap, trip I can’t grip
Never thought I’d be the one who’d slip
Then I started to realize
I was living one big lie,
She f***ing hates me

She Hates Me – Puddle of Mudd

South Carolina Grassroots Conservatives – Something Old, Something New

TedCruz_at_2015SCTPCThe South Carolina Tea Party Coalition gathered last weekend in Myrtle Beach, and there was never a dull moment.  All the leading right-wing organizations were there, including the Tea Party Patriots, Freedom Works, the Heritage Foundation, the Tea Party Leadership Fund, and Americans for Prosperity.  Contenders for the 2016 presidential race made stump speeches.  Senators and congressmen tossed red meat to the hungry throngs.

The event sold out, skewering the notion that the Tea Party is in decline.   Conservative celebrities lined up to participate.  I have been attending events like this for a long time, and let me tell you – these people are more fired up than ever.

Some things haven’t changed.  Barack Obama remains the target of the Tea Party’s ire, and the conservative faithful are more baffled than ever that so many Americans are still oblivious to the damage he continues to inflict on our nation.  And the Tea Party is still an army of mostly gray-haired, fair-skinned grandmas and grandpas.

Yet the Tea Party and the conservative movement continues to evolve.

Lately the grassroots conservatives are as angry at Republicans as they are at arch-rival liberal Democrats.  They stood and cheered as speaker after speaker exhorted them to “hold the Republicans in DC accountable.”  Congressmen Louie Gohmert, Jim Bridenstine and Jeff Duncan got standing O’s specifically to thank them for their anti-Boehner votes.  Still, Rep. Mick Mulvaney came out guns blazing in defense of his vote for the Speaker, and scored some points.

Minorities continue to gain in numbers and in comfort level in Tea Party circles.  While they have always been warmly welcomed by the Tea Party, African American and Hispanic conservatives no longer feel conspicuous and are taking a significant leadership role.

A fairly large contingent of young conservatives also attended.  One of the most compelling presentations came from Lauren Cooley of Turning Point USA.   Cooley, a striking and very hip young lady, is winning high school and college students over to the conservative side at a wholesale clip.  She single-handedly shut down the gender-studies department and its series of obscene programs at Furman University, and handed attendees to a Jesse Jackson event a list of unflattering direct quotes by him, standing her ground in a confrontation with the embarrassed sponsors.  Her charges carry the pithy message, “Big Government Sucks”, and in growing numbers they understand and articulate the abuses heaped on young Americans by their government in recent years.

But the biggest change in the conservative movement is more subtle, and significantly more important.  Grassroots conservatives have learned that they must work within the system to accomplish real reform.  The days of loud complaints but little action are history, as conservative activists now work to reorganize precincts, run for local offices, and learn policy issues in detail, making them formidable citizen leaders and constituents.  And the top conservative organizations all have focused goals with serious action plans in place to accomplish them.

Two larger-than-life issues in South Carolina took center stage at the convention.  A determined group of conservatives led by Greenville activist Diane Hardy contends that primary registration by party would prevent election perversions such as moderate Republican Lyndsey Graham’s narrow win over several conservative primary candidates.  Graham’s name, by the way, was roundly booed whenever uttered at the event.

Another policy issue that caught a lot of attention is the failure of the state to honestly implement its new law that struck down the Common Core standards.  A panel was assigned to write new state standards, but instead they merely copied the Common Core standards and gave it a new name.  An aggressive campaign is underway by Shari Few and her group, South Carolina Parents Involved in Education, to rewrite the standards.

South Carolina is an early primary state, a fact not lost on presidential hopefuls.  Dr. Ben Carson was soft-spoken, but his conservative convictions were rock-hard.  He admitted a lack of experience and expertise in both foreign and domestic affairs, promising to surround himself with smart people.  Senator Ted Cruz made a rock-star entrance and then machine-gunned his well-rehearsed talking points with precision and authority, if not much inspiration.  Cruz knows exactly what buttons to push.  Rick Santorum was sincere, but didn’t show much fire in the belly.  Donald Trump was . . . well, you know.  Arrogant and embarrassingly shallow.  But he was warmly received.

In conversation and informal straw polls, most of the attendees seemed to favor Scott Walker and Dr. Carson for president.

Nobody went home from this event feeling cheated.  I’m sure this group from South Carolina provides a good cross-section of the Tea Party nationwide.  And while the grassroots conservative movement has been consistent over the years in its values and aims, one can’t help but sense the changes underway.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideSha la la la la la,
Live for today!
And don’t worry, ’bout tomorrow, hey
Live for today!

Live for Today – the Grass Roots