How fed up are South Carolina conservatives with Sen. Lindsay Graham?
Fed up enough to cheer a Democrat – a Jimmy Carter advising Democrat, no less – who showed up in Charleston to bash Graham on pretty personal terms, according to the Daily Beast.
Calling Graham the “effective leader of the surrender caucus of the Republican Party,” Democratic strategist and Fox News analyst Pat Caddell drew cheers from a gathering of conservative activists Monday night in the city’s downtown Harbour Club.
Graham, a two-term senator, is facing three challenges so far from within the Republican Party and a conservative base incensed with his apparent willingness to compromise with President Obama and Democrats on issues such as immigration reform, known to conservatives as “Grahamnesty.”
Caddell listed other beefs conservatives have with Graham that aren’t getting nearly the same attention: He agreed to Obama’s appointment of a “corrupt and radical” nominee for Labor secretary in Thomas Perez, Caddell said (see the Wall Street Journal’s Perez takedown here ); he allowed Samantha Power to be confirmed ambassador to the United Nations despite her complicity in the initial cover up of the attack in Benghazi a year ago; and he hasn’t pursued National Security Adviser Susan Rice, despite her own role in mouthing the Benghazi cover story when she was the UN ambassador.
Caddell has been an exception among Democrats for his focus on the Benghazi attack on Sept. 11, 2012, as well as his contention that the IRS practicing of targeting conservative groups in the run-up to President Obama’s re-election campaign was a White House operation.
Even while criticizing Graham, Caddell was just as hard on the group that elected him.
“You’re not going to like it, but you people are responsible for it,” Caddell told the Republican audience. “And you get the country you deserve because you allow these people to take you for a ride.”
Caddell’s coming-from-the-left politics might not have been welcome, but his observations got a warm ovation. And that won’t make things any easier for Graham as he fights off re-election challenges coming from the right.
His challengers so far, according to the New York Times, include state Sen. Lee Bright; former congressional candidate Richard Cash; and Nancy Mace, the first woman to graduate from the Citadel.
With 10 months to go, all three have plenty of time to land even heavier blows than Caddell did Monday
And South Carolina conservatives fed up enough to cheer a Democrat in Charleston will be listening closely.