Republican Senator says the Tea Party will die out


The Three Amigos
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has earned the ire of Tea Party groups for his penchant for negotiating with Democrats, predicted this week the movement will “die out.”

Graham, who has partnered with Democrats on immigration reform and energy and climate legislation, made the observation in a New York Times Magazine profile titled “Lindsey Graham, This Year’s Maverick” to be published this Sunday:

“Everything I’m doing now in terms of talking about climate, talking about immigration, talking about Gitmo is completely opposite of where the Tea Party movement’s at,” Graham said as Cato drove him to the city of Greenwood, where he was to give a commencement address at Lander University later that morning. 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.” Now he said, in a tone of casual lament: “We don’t have a lot of Reagan-type leaders in our party. Remember Ronald Reagan Democrats? I want a Republican that can attract Democrats.” Chortling, he added, “Ronald Reagan would have a hard time getting elected as a Republican today…”

Teabaggers are a fundamentalist religion just like their precursors in the John Birch Society and White Citizens Councils. It seems to be part of the definition that they have no clue or willingness to manage any political institution – much less a nation.

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