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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

“A Great Friend”

In case you missed it, there was an indirect exchange between the senior and junior Republican United States Senators from South Carolina that raises a few questions.
In a long and interesting profile of Sen. Lindsey Graham that appeared in the New York Times Magazine this weekend, it was vouchsafed that the senior senator had described the Tea Party Movement as a marginal, passing fad that “will die out.”
Asked about this comment on Fox News yesterday, the junior senator from South Carolina, Jim DeMint, who has been intervening in state after state to support Tea Party-approved candidates against alleged RINOs, had this to say:

“Lindsey’s a great friend, but he’s wrong on this.”
“The tea party is just the tip of the iceberg of an American awakening of people that want to take back their government,” said DeMint, a vocal leader of the tea party movement. “Americans are going to show in November that they aren’t going anywhere.”

Insofar as DeMint appears to think the Tea Party Movement is coextensive with “Americans,” it might be inferred that doesn’t think his “great friend” Lindsey Graham is actually an American, much less right on this subject.
As for Graham’s intentions, the Times profile can be read in two very different ways. Perhaps he’s already decided to pack it in when his current term ends, and thus doesn’t care what he says. On the other hand, given his obvious pride in mastery of public opinion polls, perhaps he thinks he can flip-flop just enough to stay ahead of the conservative mobs back home who are itching for his destruction, and get re-elected anyway. He’s certainly off to a good start with his abandonment of bipartisan negotiations on several key topics, but he might be advised to be a little more circumspect about the political calculations that guide his conduct.

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