Will South Carolina Retire “Liberal Lindsey” Graham?

By:  Thomas R. Eddlem
Will South Carolina Retire “Liberal Lindsey” Graham?

South Carolina's Lindsey Graham has become the neoconservative Republican targeted by Tea Party and liberty movement organizations nationally, and the South Carolina U.S. Senate primary on June 10 may be the most important race of the 2014 campaign.

Labeled a “RINO” (Republican In Name Only) by his detractors, Graham gave his five primary opponents some unintentional assistance March 13 by telling Obama's Secretary of State John Kerry that he would help stop the Republican agenda in the U.S. House of Representatives under Speaker John Boehner. “Hey John, good job,” Graham said over a live microphone he almost certainly thought was turned off. “Let me know what I can do to help you with Boehner.” Already polling dangerously low (a February Winthrop University poll put him at 45 percent in the GOP primary), the faux-pas may mean Graham will be unable to muster the 50 percent in the Republican primary needed in order to avoid a June 24 runoff election. 

Despite Graham's on-mic foibles, it's the two-term senator's voting record that earns him true “RINO” status. Graham — who has been in Congress since first being elected to the House in 1992 — has earned a 63-percent cumulative score with The New American's “Freedom Index.” Graham is one of the worst crony capitalists in the Congress, voting for the the airline bailout in 2001 and the TARP bailout in 2008. He voted in 2012 to keep federal subsidies flowing from the taxpayer to huge corporations through the Export-Import Bank. 

In recent years Graham has been a reliable vote for debt limit increases and for bipartisan all-inclusive spending bills that have increased federal spending. He has championed foreign aid giveaways, even voting against Rand Paul's amendment that would have stopped sending foreign (including military) aid to Egypt and other countries that claim to hate America. 

Most importantly, Graham is perhaps the greatest enemy of the Bill of Rights in the U.S. Senate. He has become a national figure largely because of his very public opposition to honoring the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, and 10th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. 

Graham has opposed the freedom of both speech and the press in the First Amendment as senator. On the issue of burning the Koran in 2011, Graham told CBS's Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer on April 3, 2011 that “I wish we could find some way to hold people accountable. Free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war. During World War II, you had limits on what you could do if it inspired the enemy.” Graham's hostility to the First Amendment's freedom of speech is not limited to words, as he voted in favor of the 2002 McCain-Feingold law. The law imposed major infringements on the freedom of both speech and press by banning most corporations from publicizing congressmen's voting records in advance of an election and was struck down as infringing on the First Amendment by the Supreme Court in 2009 with its Citizens United v. FEC decision.

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Photo of Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.): AP Images

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