Sunday, 27 April 2014

Lindsey Graham Agrees to Debate GOP Primary Challengers

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Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) will face his primary challengers in a June debate, as reported by The State newspaper.

South Carolina Educational Television announced Thursday that Graham will participate in the event, set to take place at 7 p.m. on June 7.

Six Republicans are set to challenge Graham in his bid for reelection. It would be Graham’s third term in office.

Graham’s declared opponents are: Det Bowers, a Columbia pastor, Lee Bright, a state senator, Richard Cash, Bill Connor, Benjamin Dunn, and Nancy Mace.

In the run-up to the 2014 election, Graham has been under constant fire from more constitutionally minded members of his own party. Given his less than conservative comportment in Congress, it’s little wonder that he isn’t a shoo-in for a third term.

Last summer, a coalition of Tea Party-affiliated groups from across South Carolina approved a 29-point condemnation of Graham, calling for his replacement with someone committed to the Constitution.

In a copy of the document provided to The New American, Graham’s sins against the Constitution are enumerated:

• Arming Syrian rebels with known ties to Al-Qaeda

• Approving the National Security Agency’s continuing surveillance of innocent Americans

• Calling for the use of drones to target American citizens

• Sending substantial aid to Egypt

• Subordinating American sovereignty to the United Nations

• Voting to continue sending billions to foreign governments worldwide

• Confirming President Obama’s Supreme Court nominees

• Voting for bank bailouts

• Unconstitutionally infringing on the Second Amendment

• Advocacy of amnesty for illegal aliens

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the indictment is that it isn’t just some collection of cheap shots; it includes video proof of the incumbent’s ferocious infidelity to his oath of office.

Earlier this month, FreedomWorks published its compilation of the “Top 10 Bad Votes by Lindsey Graham.” The list reads like a wish list written by President Obama and fulfilled by Graham:

1. “Graham Voted for No Child Left Behind.”

2. “Graham Voted for the Patriot Act.”

3. “Graham Voted for TARP.”

4. “Graham Voted to Increase the Federal Minimum Wage.”

5. “Graham Voted for the Fiscal Cliff Deal.”

6. “Graham Cosponsored Cap and Trade Legislation.”

7. “Graham Cosponsored a Internet Regulation Bill.”

8. “Graham Voted to Confirm Liberal Supreme Court Justices.”

9. “Graham Voted to Raise Debt Ceiling Six Times.”

10. “Graham Voted for NDAA with Indefinite Detention Provisions.”

Last month Freedom Works’ Julie Borowski cataloged the “Top 10 Absurd Quotes by Lindsey Graham,” which further document the senator’s unconstitutional, oath-breaking, head-shaking positions (I added the boldface headings):

Syria: "The world is literally about to blow up and our president did not really paint a fair picture of the threats we face."

Climate change: “We agree that climate change is real and threatens our economy and national security. That is why we are advocating aggressive reductions in our emissions of the carbon gases that cause climate change.”

TARP: “I think TARP I was necessary because the whole economy was going to collapse and Bernanke, Paulson, and everybody that I know and quite frankly trust, after Lehman Brothers went down, that if we had not involved ourselves quickly you’d have a financial meltdown.”

Freedom of Speech: “Free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war.”

Targeted killing of Americans by drone: “He [Rand Paul]’s saying now that he wants this President to tell him that he will not use a drone to kill an American citizen sitting in a café having a cup of coffee, who is not a combatant. I find the question offensive. As much as I disagree with President Obama, as much as I support past presidents, I do not believe that question deserves an answer.”

Taxes: “We need to raise taxes to get our nation out of debt.”

No Child Left Behind: “NCLB was a historic effort to bring about accountability to our schools and measure achievement and progress of our students.”

Corporate welfare: “I’m going to vote with my party. I just think oil subsidies have to be part of a bigger package.”

Warrantless NSA surveillance: “I’m a Verizon customer. I don’t mind Verizon turning over records to the government if the government is going to make sure that they try to match up a known terrorist phone with somebody in the United States. I don’t think you’re talking to the terrorists. I know you’re not. I know I’m not. So we don’t have anything to worry about.”

Indefinite detention of Americans under the NDAA: ”And when they say, ‘I want my lawyer,’ you tell them, ‘Shut up. You don’t get a lawyer.'”

The “Top 10 Absurd Quotes” compiled by Freedom Works did not include one I'd like to add: Lindsey Graham’s statement recommending the targeting of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Last June, Graham said he wanted Snowden "follow[ed] to the ends of the earth.”

It appears that constitutionalists across the Palmetto State have had enough of the “roll over Republican’s” reliable support for so many acts of the federal government that exceed the constitutional boundaries on its power.

The frustration fomented by Graham’s betrayal pervades every word of the South Carolina Tea Party’s resolution:

Whereas, as a result of these actions, Lindsey Graham has lost the confidence of this body in his ability to serve as Senator representing the People of South Carolina in a manner consistent with the platform of the Republican Party. Whereas these actions by Lindsey Graham, though they be no reflection on his personal character, are deserving of resolutions of disapproval and remedial action by the local and state organizations of the South Carolina Republican Party.

The solution? The authors of the measure declare that “as a result of the actions taken by Lindsey Graham he has lost the confidence of this body, which resolves that he should be replaced as Senator for the State of South Carolina at the earliest possible electoral opportunity.”

That opportunity may come in 2014, but there is still a long row to hoe. Although Graham’s disdain for the Constitution and civil liberty has given his challengers in the GOP plenty of campaign fodder, he has demonstrated that he knows how to make himself attractive to the influential blue-blood, silk stockings, country club cadre of Republican activists.

The debate, if it actually happens as planned, will occur just days before the June 10 primary. If he shows up as he says he will, this event will be the first time Graham has faced off against any of these challengers.

South Carolinians can watch the debate live June 7 at 7:00 PM (EDT) on ETV. The event will be streamed on scetv.org and other news websites.

Photo of Sen. Lindsey Graham: AP Images

Joe A. Wolverton, II, J.D. is a correspondent for The New American and travels nationwide speaking on nullification, the Second Amendment, the surveillance state, and other constitutional issues.  Follow him on Twitter @TNAJoeWolverton and he can be reached at

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