Lindsey Graham, the GOP's newest traitor

The South Carolina Republican believes we should do something about climate change. For that, he must be shunned!

By Andrew Leonard

Published October 14, 2009 10:15PM (EDT)

I can understand how the classic Northern liberal Republican became anathema to the base of today's Republican party, but the vitriol currently being dumped on South Carolina's Lindsey Graham for for daring to support action on climate change is remarkable in its suicidal intensity. Think Progress has been all over this story: The right-wing blogosphere is in a frenzy.

This unhinged response is reflected in the conservative blogosphere, where Graham has been called a "fake Republican," "RINO" (Republican in name only), a "traitor," "disgrace," "asshat," "democrat in drag," and a "wussypants, girly-man, half-a-sissy."

Graham received such rough treatment at one of his own townhalls on Tuesday that he was driven to tell his audience, regarding his vision for how the Republican party should move forward, that "if you don't like it, you can leave." That in turn, prompted Glenn Beck to devote a segment of his show on Wednesday to Graham:

Listen to the arrogance of Lindsey Graham: And if you don't like it, you can leave. Well, Lindsey, I think they have. I think they have. He says they're not going to become the party of angry white men. Oh, well, that's not too racist. What do you mean you are not going to be the party of angry white men? Do you know why the white men, white women, black men, black women, Hispanics, doesn't matter, do you know why Americans are angry? Because of attitudes like yours! If you don't like it, you can leave. Excuse me? Who works for who? You work for me, you little weasel. I've been paying your stinkin' salary! I have been paying I'm paying for your pension until the day you die! Are you excuse me? I want to say, "Are you talkin' to me? Are you talkin' to me?"

Glenn Beck channeling "Taxi Driver's" psychotic would-be assassin Travis Bickle. Why am I not surprised?

But what is truly baffling about this whole outbreak of puritanical hardcore Republicanism, is that in his now notorious New York Times op-ed, co-written with John Kerry, Lindsey Graham makes it clear that his support of a climate change bill is predicated on expanding government support for nuclear power and clean coal. From a liberal environmentalist point of view, Graham is a conservative. But from the Republican base perspective, he's a foul traitor to all that is good and holy. To me, he's the closest thing to sane in the South Carolina GOP.

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Global Warming How The World Works Lindsey Graham Nuclear Power