Commentary: Lindsey Graham needs to stop flirting with bipartisanship

The (Raleigh) News & ObserverDecember 5, 2009 

We archconservatives thought he was "one of ours." Yessir, ol' Lindsey Graham, who succeeded ol' Strom Thurmond in the United States Senate, seemed to have all the credentials: high ratings from the American Conservative Union (90 out of 100, a solid "A" most places) and to boot, he was one of the lead guys, when he was a House member, in trying to run Bill Clinton out of the White House with all that impeachment stuff. Big backer of John McCain for president.

And, we archconservatives trusted the people of South Carolina to pick and hold on to a good 'un. This is the state that gave us that congressman who shouted "You lie!" right at the president of the United States during a joint address to Congress, and elected Sen. Jim DeMint, who has called President Obama everything but a junkyard dog in the course of his tenure in the high chamber. Then there's Gov. Mark Sanford, the courageous conservative who told the federal government what it could do with its stimulus money, if you know what we mean. Well, OK, there was that situation where, as we prefer to put it, he went a little Clinton on us, but still the guy has been a fire-breather.

Alas, Sen. Graham has of late been flirting with statesmanship, and it's shocking, fellow archconservatives, just shocking. He has been seen talking to Democrats. He has worked toward compromise on climate change legislation. He voted to confirm Justice Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, for goodness sakes. He's suggested that Republicans need to reach out to minorities and younger people to bring them into a bigger tent.

What's next, comrade Graham? You gonna be taking Christmas dinner up in Camp David? Suggesting compromise on health-care reform to help the middle class? Adopting a Portuguese water dog just like the president's? Doing away with the comb-over and growing yourself a ponytail? Giving up Wayne Newton in favor of the Grateful Dead?

Sorry, but when we archconservatives see a fellow breaking bad, we get kinda riled.

Our awareness has been raised by the courageous and enlightened Charleston County (S.C.) Republican Party, which voted overwhelmingly, The New York Times reports, to censure Graham for conduct unbecoming a conservative. The Times reports the county party found serious fault with the fact that Graham has "stated on many occasions that his primary concern is 'to be relevant.'"

Relevant? First of all, we're looking that up, but it sounds a lot like the same thing as "liberal." And so far as this whole big tent thing goes, we like our archconservative pup tent just fine, and we don't give a hoot whether it's big enough for anyone else or not. Compromise and bipartisanship is for wimps, and everybody knows it. Remember when we shut the government down back there in the '90s? That showed everybody, by golly!

But friends, your archconservative correspondent admits to a belief that Sen. Graham can be brought back into our tent. We don't need to lose him, just get him back in training. This soft spot, I admit, comes from the comb-over. Used to have one and gave it up in favor of a more military look, but that's another story. In any case, we have, we believe, a plan of restoration for the senator.

First, he needs to do more hunting. He spends too much time going to committee meetings and trying to pass legislation. Next time he drives to work, he needs to be in an SUV with something dead strapped on the roof. And he should be photographed in camouflage. Also, his dog should bite. When a man travels on political business, we do not like to see a him go above the Mason-Dixon line, ever, and we're not too crazy, frankly, about the senator going to the Tar Heel State, because it does have "North" in the name.

Graham does not use "communist" enough in describing Democrats, and he needs to work into interviews questions about President Obama's birth certificate. And by the way, those interviews should be exclusively with our own archconservative Fox News, not with the ultraliberal-biased-Democrat-so-called-mainstream media. Look what they did to our wonderful Sarah Palin, the next president of these United States.

Well, we've done what we can. We salute our brave fellow archconservatives in Charleston County for standing up and telling it like it is, and we hope Lindsey Graham will be back in the tent soon.

McClatchy Washington Bureau is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service