Author Topic: How Lindsey Graham outmaneuvered the tea party  (Read 613 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Online mystery-ak

  • Owner
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 255,204
How Lindsey Graham outmaneuvered the tea party
« on: April 23, 2014, 03:17:37 PM »
http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=122EE311-D0E9-4643-9B82-F4277C52F74C

 How Lindsey Graham outmaneuvered the tea party
By: Manu Raju
April 23, 2014 05:07 AM EDT

Part of an occasional series on the hottest races of the 2014 midterm election.

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. — Sen. Lindsey Graham recognized the threat years before it had a chance to form — and knew immediately what he had to do.

After the tea party wave in the 2010 election, right-wing groups were itching to get one of South Carolina’s newly elected conservative congressmen to challenge Graham, the blunt-spoken, deal-making congressional veteran of two decades. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, a favorite of the grass roots, was high on their list.

So when Graham got wind in 2012 that Mulvaney wanted a seat on the House Financial Services Committee, he quietly lobbied his longtime friend, Speaker John Boehner, to make it happen. During regular dinners and breakfast meetings, the senator made clear to Mulvaney and other up-and-comers in the delegation that he was there to help with their districts’ needs. All the while, Graham was busy assembling a daunting multimillion-dollar political operation.



Lo and behold, Mulvaney and others thought better of taking on Graham when the time came. “Not being able to win is a really good reason not to run,” Mulvaney said in an interview.

Graham’s deft maneuvering shows why he’s become the dominant political figure in this deeply red state and is skating to another six years even as he’s angered the base on immigration and other hot-button issues. Far from pandering to the party’s tea party wing in order to get reelected, he’s challenging it head-on: Graham warns that the GOP is caught in a “death spiral” with minorities, says it needs to get real about climate change and defends his move to open debate on gun control legislation after a school massacre.

His legwork to protect his seat could serve as a model for other endangered incumbents looking to fend off more conservative challengers.



“There’s a head wind for all incumbents,” Graham, 58, said over a dinner of chicken livers and fried green tomatoes in nearby Charleston last week. “I’ve tried to insulate myself.”

The losses of GOP Sens. Bob Bennett of Utah in 2010 then Dick Lugar of Indiana two years later showed how longtime incumbents who look unbeatable can be upended in primaries by more conservative challengers.

“Perhaps I was not as concerned as I should have been about the challenge in my primary,” Lugar said in a recent interview.



No GOP incumbent on the ballot this fall has done more to heed that lesson than Graham. Even as he cruises in the polls, the senator has blanketed the state with more than $1 million worth of ads promoting his work. He faces several lesser-known, underfunded candidates — including state Sen. Lee Bright, pastor Det Bowers, businessman Richard Cash, attorney Bill Connor, attorney Benjamin Dunn and Nancy Mace, a consultant and the first female graduate from The Citadel military college — in the June 10 primary.

They’re trying to keep Graham under 50 percent and trigger a runoff, which would give Republican outside groups that have sat out the race a chance to rally behind a single candidate and potentially hurt Graham.

But his opponents have not demonstrated much viability. One of them even credited Graham with ensuring a lackluster GOP field.



“I think he’s done a good job of keeping these congressional candidates out of the race,” Bright said, pointing to Reps. Mark Sanford and Jeff Duncan as primary opponents who could have provided “such a contrast that Graham could have been in trouble.”

Asked if he jumped into the race because no one in the congressional delegation would, Bright said: “I really didn’t want to do it. Of course I didn’t want to run for state Senate either. I hate this stuff.”

As he travels the state attending rallies offering free barbecues and breakfasts, with crowds larger than any he’s experienced during his career, Graham repeats a warning you wouldn’t expect to hear in a GOP primary: Republicans need to be more inclusive and to work with Democrats or risk becoming a party that can’t win national elections. He said it repeatedly to a Summerville Country Club crowd of 350 people and the next day to 100 seniors gathered at a retirement community in Charleston.



“You know who wants 30 pure Republicans? Harry Reid,” Graham said, referring to the oft-quoted line from his former South Carolina colleague, Jim DeMint, that the party would be better served with 30 rock-ribbed conservatives than 60 who aren’t. “What I want is a party that can grow. … What’s my big sin: 1-in-10 [votes defecting from the party line]? If we’re going to build the party around universal agreement, we become a club.”

Building the Graham machine

Soon after helping his close friend John McCain’s presidential bid in 2008, as the tea party began to show its strength in 2010, Graham began preparing for what an aide called “Armageddon.” He enlisted an army of paid staff and volunteers — including some 5,200 precinct captains — to help build six regional offices throughout the state.

And he amassed a staggering war chest, aimed partly at scaring off prospective opponents. Many donors have been reluctant to give money to anyone but Graham for fear they will be blacklisted by the senior senator, his adversaries said. And some big-dollar contributors are starting to put money behind a Graham-allied super PAC created by a former state party chairman, Katon Dawson.

Through the end of the first quarter, Graham had raised $11.6 million with nearly $7 million remaining — none of his opponents have cracked the half-million-dollar mark. Even though Graham’s periodic defections from the conservative line have landed him in hot water — his support for President Barack Obama’s two Supreme Court nominees and flirtation with proposals controlling climate change were three such occasions — the senator said his fundraising has been bolstered by his reputation as a voice of reason in the Capitol.

“Ideological people don’t give you a whole lot of money,” Graham said.

Also key to Graham’s approach is how meticulously he tends to the details, from constituent service to reaching out to local politicians. Any major meeting of South Carolina business types is likely to have a Graham aide on hand. He is known to treat problems at a water treatment facility or an effort to deepen the Port of Charleston every bit as seriously as a debate over Benghazi on the Senate floor.

Graham says his service-oriented approach is a “lost art” in politics. It’s modeled, he said, after the late-Sen. Strom Thurmond, who served in office for half a century before Graham left the House to fill his seat in 2002.

“How did he go to being the Dixiecrat candidate to winning an election where he got more African-American votes than anybody in the South?” Graham said. “I think the average person thought if he could help you, he would.”

Graham is a presence at virtually every major party event — even in crowds hostile to his politics. At least eight county chapters have censured Graham for cutting deals with Democrats, but he and his staff are not afraid to show up at events before his detractors.

“We have somebody from his campaign at every one of our meetings — all the time,” said Jordan Bryngelson, chairman of the Dorchester County Republican Party, who has resisted calls to censure Graham. “They are sort of everywhere, truthfully.”

All the while, Graham has ingratiated himself to candidates at the local level by offering political advice while raising cash for the party. He’s donated more than $150,000 to the South Carolina Republican Party through his campaign and political action committee accounts over the past dozen years and repeatedly headlined big-dollar events, including one with the state’s congressional delegation next month on Capitol Hill that’s expected to bring in at least $50,000.

It’s not just fundraising; Graham has gone out of his way to befriend potential rivals. People like Trey Gowdy, a second-term congressman from the state who is widely viewed as a potential future federal judge — an appointment that would require Graham’s consent in the Senate. Or Rep. Tom Rice, who had Graham along with him on the stump when the freshman congressman ran in his Myrtle Beach district in 2012.

And when Sanford was immersed in a sex scandal in 2009 during his tenure as governor, Graham remained mostly silent — even though many lawmakers in both parties were throwing Sanford to the wolves. Such an approach may have endeared himself to Sanford; it also helps that Graham is godfather to one of Sanford’s children.

Perhaps most critically, Graham has formed an alliance with Sen. Tim Scott, a tea party favorite who was appointed to the Senate in January 2013 after DeMint resigned his seat. The low-profile freshman won’t publicly endorse Graham, a sign of how controversial the senior senator remains in some quarters of the party. But nor will Scott criticize Graham.

“I have a primary — that’s where my focus is,” Scott said about a Graham endorsement.

Graham’s message to the tea party

What may be most remarkable about Graham is his refusal to tack to the right as his reelection approached; in fact, he relishes telling his skeptics on the right why they’re wrong. After avoiding debating his primary opponents, Graham — the first in his Baptist family to graduate college and son of a liquor store owner near Clemson University — said in the interview that he would join them in a candidate forum “very soon.”

When a woman at the seniors community center in Charleston asked him whether Congress should move to impeach Obama, the senator said simply: “How many of you believe that if you tried to impeach the president, we would probably lose in 2014?” Graham raised his hand.

No matter the venue, Graham, unprompted, brings up his support of Obama’s nominations of Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Senators, he argued, should weigh only nominees’ qualifications, not their ideological bent. He warns flatly that wealthier taxpayers should give up some of their Medicare benefits and workers should be prepared to see their retirement age increased. And he openly floats the idea of a grand bargain deal to rein in deficits, which could very well increase taxes and trigger a revolt on the right.

“How many of you believe the reason we’re going to win [Senate seats] has got more to do with them screwing up than us?” Graham said at the Summerville Country Club, as he raised his left hand. “I don’t know if I’d clap for that, but that’s true.”

Republicans, Graham argued, need to prove they are “for something before November and not just against Obama.”

“I got the crap beat out of me because of immigration” in a state with just a 5 percent Latino population, he said, adding that the GOP has to take those kinds of risks if it wants to win the White House again.

The party, he said in a follow-up interview, is currently on a “death spiral” with nonwhite voters — a problem he acknowledged last week before crowds of all-white voters attending his own events. But a conservative message can sell with minority voters, Graham added, if the party can move past immigration and other issues that have been disqualifying.

Graham, in the interview, was unapologetic about his unsuccessful attempt to cut a deal with Democrats on controlling climate change. Humans, he said, “to some extent, absolutely” are contributing to global warming and the GOP needs a rational environmental policy, with a heavy emphasis on nuclear power.

He also shot back at opponents who criticized his vote to open debate on gun legislation last year. The “dumbest thing” the GOP could have done, Graham said, would have been to block debate over the issue after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. (He said Republicans ended up winning the debate after he joined his party in defeating all the Democratic gun control measures.)

Graham has established himself as a leading foreign policy hawk in Congress — a clear boon to him in South Carolina, with its major defense industry presence. The ongoing controversies over Benghazi and Ukraine have given Graham a prominent platform to espouse those views.

Graham’s willingness to buck the GOP has put him to the left of tea party-aligned voters like Ed Robbins, a retired engineer from Charleston.

But asked if he would vote for Graham if the primary were held tomorrow, Robbins said: “Of course. Because what’s the alternative?”

Support the USO

Offline MBB1984

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 853
Re: How Lindsey Graham outmaneuvered the tea party
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2014, 03:38:24 PM »
Lindsey "Light in the Loafers" Graham supported Kagan and Sotomayor, supports full amnesty, supports Global Warming initiatives, supports sending American troops to most every war,  If Graham wins in South Carolina, Conservatism and the nation is lost and I see no hope. 

Any alternative to Lindsey is preferable, even a democrat, as he is perverting Conservatism in full force in a red state.  I voted against the effeminate man twice in 2008 and it looks like I will have to do it again.

Online jmyrlefuller

  • J. Myrle Fuller
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 12,999
  • There's no one out there quite like me.
    • Fullervision
Re: How Lindsey Graham outmaneuvered the tea party
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2014, 04:18:29 PM »
Any vote against Graham in the primary-- for any candidate on the ballot whatsoever-- is a vote that helps deprive him of the needed majority. He represents the worst of Washington and, even more than McConnell (and McConnell needs to go for other reasons), absolutely must be defeated.
"Just because people in positions of authority are stupid, it doesn’t mean you have to go along with it." —Arlo Guthrie

"In the excitement of great popular elections, deciding the policy of the country, and its vast patronage, frauds will be committed, if a chance is given for them." —Richard Henry Dana, Jr.

“No government program ever dies of its own accord.” ―unknown

Online Bigun

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 23,260
  • The income tax: Root of all evil!
    • The FairTax Plan
Re: How Lindsey Graham outmaneuvered the tea party
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2014, 04:20:54 PM »
Any vote against Graham in the primary-- for any candidate on the ballot whatsoever-- is a vote that helps deprive him of the needed majority. He represents the worst of Washington and, even more than McConnell (and McConnell needs to go for other reasons), absolutely must be defeated.

Absolutely agree! Well said!

Offline sinkspur

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 28,599
Re: How Lindsey Graham outmaneuvered the tea party
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2014, 04:46:43 PM »
Quote
If Graham wins in South Carolina, Conservatism and the nation is lost and I see no hope. 

Silly.
From  "A Shining City on a Hill"

To "A global laughingstock"

Online andy58-in-nh

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 6,099
Re: How Lindsey Graham outmaneuvered the tea party
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2014, 05:02:40 PM »
Lindsey "Light in the Loafers" Graham supported Kagan and Sotomayor, supports full amnesty, supports Global Warming initiatives, supports sending American troops to most every war,  If Graham wins in South Carolina, Conservatism and the nation is lost and I see no hope. 

Any alternative to Lindsey is preferable, even a democrat, as he is perverting Conservatism in full force in a red state.  I voted against the effeminate man twice in 2008 and it looks like I will have to do it again.

The only reason to vote for Lindsay Graham is to help ensure a GOP Senate, if it looks like it's going to be a close call.
 
He sucks. And I mean that in every possible way.
Liberalism isn't really about making the world a better place. It's about reassuring the elites that they are good people for wanting to rule over it.

Offline Once-Ler

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 7,577
  • How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Trump
Re: How Lindsey Graham outmaneuvered the tea party
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2014, 01:53:08 AM »
At least conservatives can stand proud that they never strayed from their principles while they are rejected again by the voters of SC. :patriot:
"Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans."  -  President Donald J Trump

Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!.....
...They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own - brought in by parents at young age. Plus BIG border security
       Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump 5:35 AM - Sep 14, 2017

Offline MBB1984

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 853
Re: How Lindsey Graham outmaneuvered the tea party
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2014, 08:53:00 AM »
Silly.

Silly and foolish to think otherwise.  If a flaming RINO can be reelected in a very red state like South Carolina the nation has moved left in a dramatic fashion.

Offline MBB1984

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 853
Re: How Lindsey Graham outmaneuvered the tea party
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2014, 08:55:16 AM »
At least conservatives can stand proud that they never strayed from their principles while they are rejected again by the voters of SC. :patriot:

South Carolina has an open primary.  The voters you refer to will include many liberal democrats voting in the GOP primary.

Offline MACVSOG68

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 9,807
Re: How Lindsey Graham outmaneuvered the tea party
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2014, 09:19:19 AM »
Lindsey "Light in the Loafers" Graham supported Kagan and Sotomayor, supports full amnesty, supports Global Warming initiatives, supports sending American troops to most every war,  If Graham wins in South Carolina, Conservatism and the nation is lost and I see no hope. 

Any alternative to Lindsey is preferable, even a democrat, as he is perverting Conservatism in full force in a red state.  I voted against the effeminate man twice in 2008 and it looks like I will have to do it again.

A few points about Graham.  I am also a South Carolinian (not that that gives me any better insight), and I would certainly hate to see the GOP lose that seat to a Democrat.  Other than that, I think challenges are generally healthy for a party. 

But there are some positives about Graham that seem to get lost during these pre-primary sorting out processes.  Graham is a friend of the military and almost always supports programs favorable to the military.  He has been pushing for stronger border security, and while he supports a comprehensive approach to immigration, so do most Americans.

He does take a leadership position on many issues, which frequently puts him in the hot seat.  He is one who is willing to walk over to the other side to try to formulate solutions, and whether or not all of us appreciate that, there has to be give and take unless one party controls everything.  In 2005 Graham led the Gang of 14 that ultimately resulted in an agreement that ended Democrat filibusters of Bush's judicial nominations. 

I didn't like his approach to engagement in Syria and told him so.  But he does have an ACU rating of 92 and votes with his party 85% of the time.

So while Graham says and does things I don't always agree with, I would much prefer him over any Democrat that would have an ACU rating of 0 and vote with the Democrats 85% of the time.  And we must get Reid out of the majority leader position this year.
It's the Supreme Court nominations!

Offline olde north church

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 5,136
Re: How Lindsey Graham outmaneuvered the tea party
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2014, 09:23:14 AM »
Lindsey "Light in the Loafers" Graham supported Kagan and Sotomayor, supports full amnesty, supports Global Warming initiatives, supports sending American troops to most every war,  If Graham wins in South Carolina, Conservatism and the nation is lost and I see no hope. 

Any alternative to Lindsey is preferable, even a democrat, as he is perverting Conservatism in full force in a red state.  I voted against the effeminate man twice in 2008 and it looks like I will have to do it again.

If the Conservatives can't beat the reasons you listed, they don't deserve to win.
Why?  Well, because I'm a bastard, that's why.

Online Bigun

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 23,260
  • The income tax: Root of all evil!
    • The FairTax Plan
Re: How Lindsey Graham outmaneuvered the tea party
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2014, 09:30:56 AM »
Voting for the most conservative candidate you can find in the primary and the republican nominee in the general is a very good rule to follow and I do!

Offline alicewonders

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 13,057
  • Live life-it's too short to butt heads w buttheads
Re: How Lindsey Graham outmaneuvered the tea party
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2014, 10:12:54 AM »
Voting for the most conservative candidate you can find in the primary and the republican nominee in the general is a very good rule to follow and I do!

I do the same thing, Bigun.  I'll probably have to vote for McConnell this fall after the primary, but I'll have severe abdominal distress while doing so and probably shed a few tears.  I will say again that Bevin signs are popping up more and more everyday here - but I still think the crummy incumbent will win. 

Having said that - at the rate things are going - I do foresee a time when I will no longer vote that way.  I'm losing faith in our current "two party" system, don't see much difference anymore.  Things are changing, not for the better.  The old ways just don't work anymore.

Don't tread on me.   8888madkitty

We told you Trump would win - bigly!

Offline olde north church

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 5,136
Re: How Lindsey Graham outmaneuvered the tea party
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2014, 10:53:05 AM »
I do the same thing, Bigun.  I'll probably have to vote for McConnell this fall after the primary, but I'll have severe abdominal distress while doing so and probably shed a few tears.  I will say again that Bevin signs are popping up more and more everyday here - but I still think the crummy incumbent will win. 

Having said that - at the rate things are going - I do foresee a time when I will no longer vote that way.  I'm losing faith in our current "two party" system, don't see much difference anymore.  Things are changing, not for the better.  The old ways just don't work anymore.

Part of the problem is people waiting to vote for "Big Seats", Senate, Congress, Governor, when they should start at State and County levels.  It will build up the bench and the party organization.
Why?  Well, because I'm a bastard, that's why.

Offline MBB1984

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 853
Re: How Lindsey Graham outmaneuvered the tea party
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2014, 11:09:54 AM »
A few points about Graham.  I am also a South Carolinian (not that that gives me any better insight), and I would certainly hate to see the GOP lose that seat to a Democrat.  Other than that, I think challenges are generally healthy for a party. 

But there are some positives about Graham that seem to get lost during these pre-primary sorting out processes.  Graham is a friend of the military and almost always supports programs favorable to the military.  He has been pushing for stronger border security, and while he supports a comprehensive approach to immigration, so do most Americans.

He does take a leadership position on many issues, which frequently puts him in the hot seat.  He is one who is willing to walk over to the other side to try to formulate solutions, and whether or not all of us appreciate that, there has to be give and take unless one party controls everything.  In 2005 Graham led the Gang of 14 that ultimately resulted in an agreement that ended Democrat filibusters of Bush's judicial nominations. 

I didn't like his approach to engagement in Syria and told him so.  But he does have an ACU rating of 92 and votes with his party 85% of the time.

So while Graham says and does things I don't always agree with, I would much prefer him over any Democrat that would have an ACU rating of 0 and vote with the Democrats 85% of the time.  And we must get Reid out of the majority leader position this year.

Graham supports La Raza and Amnesty.  His gang of 14 endorsement led directly to the loss of at least three Conservative jurists on the bench.  Graham loves WAR and is willing to bankrupt our nation to support them.

Graham is nothing more than John McCains's mini me.  It is far easier to get rid of a democrat than our effeminate Senator.  In 2008, the democrat was MORE conservative than Graham!

Offline alicewonders

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 13,057
  • Live life-it's too short to butt heads w buttheads
Re: How Lindsey Graham outmaneuvered the tea party
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2014, 11:09:55 AM »
Part of the problem is people waiting to vote for "Big Seats", Senate, Congress, Governor, when they should start at State and County levels.  It will build up the bench and the party organization.

That's very true.  The genius of progressives is that while they say they are promoting the "empowerment" of the individual - they are actually doing the opposite - instead they steer the people into dependence on institutions.  I think this has created generational malaise among the electorate.  People I talk to are just worn down by trying to "make it" - feed their families, provide a nice home - etc.  The people are definitely suffering from mass depression, and I think that has a dampening effect on someone contemplating putting their head on the chopping block and running for any kind of office.  It takes a special person that has the resources to devote to winning, whereas most people have no resources left after just "surviving".   

Don't tread on me.   8888madkitty

We told you Trump would win - bigly!

Offline olde north church

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 5,136
Re: How Lindsey Graham outmaneuvered the tea party
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2014, 11:24:00 AM »
That's very true.  The genius of progressives is that while they say they are promoting the "empowerment" of the individual - they are actually doing the opposite - instead they steer the people into dependence on institutions.  I think this has created generational malaise among the electorate.  People I talk to are just worn down by trying to "make it" - feed their families, provide a nice home - etc.  The people are definitely suffering from mass depression, and I think that has a dampening effect on someone contemplating putting their head on the chopping block and running for any kind of office.  It takes a special person that has the resources to devote to winning, whereas most people have no resources left after just "surviving".

Misery Index and "malaise" making a comeback.
Why?  Well, because I'm a bastard, that's why.

Offline MACVSOG68

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 9,807
Re: How Lindsey Graham outmaneuvered the tea party
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2014, 12:03:23 PM »
Graham supports La Raza and Amnesty.  His gang of 14 endorsement led directly to the loss of at least three Conservative jurists on the bench.  Graham loves WAR and is willing to bankrupt our nation to support them.

Graham is nothing more than John McCains's mini me.  It is far easier to get rid of a democrat than our effeminate Senator.  In 2008, the democrat was MORE conservative than Graham!

Graham supports comprehensive immigration reform which will include a path to legalization for some.  He also strongly favors and pushes for strengthening of the borders.  Whatever comes out of efforts at a compromise, if anything, it will not be close to S.1348 from 2007 that was almost everything Republicans could have wanted.  But at the same time it included provisions for a legalization process for illegals who had no serious criminal history, had a permanent job, and would not be utilizing welfare programs.  There were many other good parts of the bill.  But a handful of Republicans kept it from being sent to the floor.

Are we better off today, seven years later?  Most would answer no.

As for the Gang of 14, it effectively ended Democrat filibustering.  The three you mentioned withdrew their names in the previous Congress, before the Gang of 14 agreement.

But I do agree with you that Graham's support for war initiatives goes too far.
It's the Supreme Court nominations!


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf