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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Graham: Tea Party Incoherent, Will Die Out

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina agrees with me that the tea "party" is sound and fury signifying nothing:

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....


  1. Sounds familiar--at MIT we have a few advocacy groups here and there that like to bitch and moan about how the administration doesn't listen to them and blah blah blah--but when you ask them what they actually want, it gets real quiet...

  2. Like Lindsey Graham-nesty is an unbiased, reliable source. Go pull my other leg. You might as well have quoted President Obama or Speaker Pelosi: "Obama: Tea Party Incoherent, Will Die Out." Yes, that carries a lot of reliable weight.

    The galling truth for liberals is that the Tea Party movement held off the unconstitutional socialist health care scheme for nearly a year...when the socialists held both House and Senate, and the White House. What a joke!

    We've also held off the cap and trade global warming tax for a year and a half, with no immediate passage of this socialist scheme in sight.

    We've also helped some Republicans like Scott Brown get elected in areas that have been liberal for decades.

    Not bad for an "incoherent" political movement, eh?

    But then, the Tea Party's primary philosophy is based on the limited government philosophy of the U.S. Constitution--and the Constitution is anything but incoherent.

    Keep dreaming, and hoping for some change (you're going to get some change in November, but you won't like it. :-)

  3. Interesting, Mike! Sounds like folks at MIT can be as fallibly human as the rest of us (I'm not sure if that's good news or bad news...).

    And holy cow, Bob: let a Republican talk about at least sometimes working with Democrats to get things done, and suddenly they're evil libs just like me!

  4. (p.s.: Lindsey Graham is one of the prime players helping you stave off cap and trade... dang him!)

  5. Was Graham irrelevant when he demanded impeachment for President Clinton?

    You're just pissed because he voted to confirm General Kagan for the SCOTUS.
    I'll take the US Congress over civil war any day, Bob.

  6. Graham-nesty is a RINO and can't be counted on for squat. He gets it right every now and then, but he's just as likely to sell us out as do the right thing.

    In other words, one of the people the Tea Party wants to get rid of and replace with someone who respects the Constitution and the rule of law.

    In other words, of course he despises the Tea Party. No big story here.

  7. There are statesmen like Dole, Kennedy, Hatch, Feinstein that work across lines to accomplish things without sacrificing their principles (personal and within their party).

    And there others who work across the aisle so people can praise them for being so "open-minded" or moderate. These people don't do it to really accomplish anything meaningful. Just to satisfy their own ego.

    Sadly, Lindsey Graham is in the latter group. Frankly, if Graham said the Tea Party was the next revolution, I'd look at the comment askance and ask "What is his agenda?" as I'd have virtually no confidence it was sincere.

  8. Scott Brown, Really Ellis? He's more of a liberal than I am, but I suppose most New England Republican's are as well. Maybe they just haven't had a chance to read your blog back there yet. Were's your evidence that The tea party has had an effect on stalling either cap and trade or the health care bill. If you have anything conclusive I sure would like to see it.

  9. What's inchoerent is the national treasury being empty and Graham being in the Senate long enough to at least sound the alarm about that.

    The Tea Party is lighting the candle to expose what's being done in the darkness, and Graham doesn't appreciate the attention.

  10. Mexicans should enjoy amnesty as US citizens.

    Mexico is a trillion and a half
    economy. Imagine the stimulus and hey, they're a Conservative voting bloc.

  11. Thad, Graham gave them attention, invited them to lay out solutions, and his visitors went silent.

    Bob, you're not laying out a practical plan for governing. You're talking about shouting "NO!!!" and making up punny names for certain politicians you don't like. Graham's indictment stands.

    Troy: Graham as egomaniac... really? I do appreciate the offered counterexamples from both partiess... but does anything in particular inspire this psychological profile of Graham?

  12. Bob, wekre having a simultaneous discussion at DWC where you just ridiculed the rule of law.

    Which is it?

  13. Barry, I've already cited it: socialists control the House and Senate and the White House...and still you can barely get your agenda passed.

    Pretty pathetic.

    And Cory, I've said this too many times to count: if you're really interested in "a practical plan for governing," it's called the United States Constitution.

    It works fabulously when it's tried; pretty lousy when you substitute socialism for it.

  14. Or christian nationalismlaced with the jihadi fervor of an imam.

  15. Bob: White house --Yes,House --Yes
    Senate not so much. One can only imagine what would have been accomplished if the filibuster did not exist. The real pathetic thing here is your cited evidence.

  16. The Republicans stand atop a gold mine in the form of the Tea Party Movement. I do not understand why the GOP doesn't actively and openly mine that gold.

    The Republican party needs a hard-nosed, hard-headed, hard-arsed character like Rahm Emanuel on their side, and a solid, tireless, and (dare I say?) ruthless worker like Hillary Clinton.

    Maybe they have 'em and I just don't see 'em ...

    ... and as for whether the Tea Party movement will die out, well, Cory, I reckon you hope so! But I'm not so sure.

  17. Stan, they're a gold mine only if they have practical solutions to offer. Senator Graham finds them coming up empty on that score. They might be a gold mine as energetic voters, but without solutions, they're just another segment of the market to be manipulated into supporting the GOP status quo.

  18. We are on the wrong road7/07/2010 6:07 AM

    "It hasn't manifested itself as anything other than media-driven reinforcement of the Republican status quo."

    The Republican status quo is represented by Lindsey Graham. Again Cory, you are completely off base from the truth. Both Parties do not want the Tea Party's coherent agenda...a government based on the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The status quo is a European styled socialist state whose central planning is leading us down the road to serfdom.

    Steve Sibson

  19. Cory,

    First, it is my observation of what he says and how he says it. I often agree with Graham but don't like how Graham-centric his comments seem. Smug. Frankly, he reminds me a great deal of Algore.

    Second, I observe the respect he garners from those who are highly respected from all stripes. He has virtually no respect from those on the conservative side despite him being pretty conservative and is only referenced by liberals when he says something they agree vs. giving him deference in disagreement.

    Regarding your essential point (the TP movement is a flash in the pan), I hope it is. The fundamental concepts of smaller and less intrusive government is fundamental to the GOP. The GOP just needs to live up to its fundamental principles and there is no need for the TP movement.

  20. On tea "party" effectiveness, note this post scoring their early May primary efforts as 0–5.

    Troy, you're entitled to your read of Graham's respect from others and his language. The point I find more interesting is the suggestion that if the GOP was living up to its credo, there might not be a tea movement. This is going to be a stretch, but could there be an opening for SD Dems (not me and the Wellstone wing, but the pragmatists heading the ticket and running the show) to give at least some of those folks a home? Not the hard core teabaggers, but the Republicans like you who want rational governance and fiscal restraint: maybe the Dems can say, "Hey! We'll do the job your party has promised but failed to do." (I don't like that particular approach, turning the Dems into the party the Republicans ought to be... but might there be some people thinking along those lines?)

  21. Questions that can get you banned7/07/2010 7:56 AM


    Then the GOP needs to kick out the Progressives and welcome the libertarians. Problem: the Progressives are running the GOP show. They want bigger government.

    Cory, the Democrats do not want libertarians neither. They too are run by Progressives, who want bigger government.

    Bigger government = smaller citizens

    Cory, why do you allow larry's racist comments?

    Steve Sibson

  22. Steve: Since on a nationwide basis there are far more progressive republicans than there are libertarian republicans, don't you suppose that kicking out the progressives would simply make the party weaker? Do you really believe that the problem with the GOP is that it is to inclusive?

  23. Steve,

    While on many (if not most) my positions on issues is conservative, I wouldn't kick out from the party a single person with whom I disagree on an issue.

    If Cory wants to be a Republican and participate in the primary process, I welcome him. My only expectation is post-primary is he will generally be supportive of the nominee (if you want others to support your choice, you need to be willing to support the choice of others).

    I especially am sensitive to this purity test.

    I am firmly a capitalist supporting smaller government and lower taxes than probably the mid-range of those in the tea party movement. On many social issues, I generally support the conservative position.

    But, I abhor the Death Penalty, I don't walk the conservative line on immigration totally, and a few other issues where people have questioned my conservative cred and have actually accused me of being a mush-brained liberal.

    I want a vibrant Republican Party that has a spectrum of thought and position on issues which allows for instance death penalty supporters and opponents to unite because of their views on a preponderance of issues as opposed to absolute litmus tests on certain issues.

    Frankly, a movement to kick people out like myself will result in a smaller and less relevent party either by having me leave or ultimately in the expulsion of those who want to kick people out.

  24. Truth to power7/07/2010 1:28 PM

    Barry & Troy,

    My position is more inclined to what is best for America. Unfortunately, most do not know what that is. That is why both parties are for bigger government and the fight is over which fraternity controls the power.

    Steve Sibson

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