On four occasions, Graham met with Tea Party groups. The first, in his Senate office, was “very, very contentious,” he recalled. During a later meeting, in Charleston, Graham said he challenged them: “ ‘What do you want to do? You take back your country — and do what with it?’ . . . Everybody went from being kind of hostile to just dead silent.”
In a previous conversation, Graham told me: “The problem with the Tea Party, I think it’s just unsustainable because they can never come up with a coherent vision for governing the country. It will die out” [Robert Draper, "Lindsey Graham: This Year's Maverick," New York Times Magazine, 2010.07.04].
I said last week that the teabaggers have "no coherent plan for practical governance." If I didn't know better, I'd think Senator Graham was reading the blog.
But Graham is right: inchoate rage does not a political party or an agenda make. The tea "party" couldn't stop health insurance reform. It certainly didn't put candidates or questions on the South Dakota ballot. It has nothing to say about the BP oil disaster. It hasn't manifested itself as anything other than media-driven reinforcement of the Republican status quo.
Thank you, Senator Graham, for calling it as you see it.
Update 2010.07.07 10:28 CDT: The most passionate South Dakota teabaggers, Citizens for Liberty, can't even stop government regulation in their own backyards. Barb Lindberg told me last winter she and her patriotic Black Hills neighbors were waging war against an abusive, extreme environmentalist, hoax-based septic tank regulation proposed by the Pennington County Commission. Said septic regulation passed unanimously Tuesday. The tea "party" fail continues....