On Monday, the Charleston County Republican Party’s executive committee “took the unusual step” of officially censuring Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). The local GOP committee admonished Graham for stepping across party lines to work with Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) on a bipartisan clean energy bill and other pieces of legislation. The censure stated that Graham’s “bipartisanship continues to weaken the Republican brand and tarnish the ideals of freedom.”
Part of the fury from the right against Graham is being spurred by the oil and coal industry. The oil company front group “American Energy Alliance” has blanketed South Carolina with ads smearing Graham for seeking to address climate change.
The pressure against Graham has also stemmed from his criticism of hate radio and Fox News host Glenn Beck. “Only in America can you make that much money crying,” said Graham, mocking Beck in early October. Beck has responded with a slime campaign against Graham that he typically reserves for liberals. The leader of the Charleston Republican Party, Lin Bennett, is also a member of Glenn Beck’s 9/12 organization in South Carolina. According to its website, the Charleston GOP claims to work closely with tea party groups and Beck’s 9/12 activists in selecting its favored candidates.
Will Graham be able to stand up to the angry backlash being cultivated by far right voices and entrenched corporations interests? At a Graham town hall in Greenville last month, activist Harry Kimball of “RINO HUNT” protested by constructing a display that portrayed Graham, as well as other GOP moderates, being flushed down a toilet:
KIMBALL: This is for every RINO who has failed to represent us. […] [the toilet represents] flushing them, flushing them.
Graham’s spokesman defended his boss to reporters yesterday, claiming the senator has a “90 percent conservative voting record.” Unfortunately for Graham, that may not prevent him from being “Scozzafavaed.”