There are many irregularities in Lawton’s complaints, though. For example, they take an ends-only stretch, hitting both ends of the pole without stopping once in the middle. Graham’s wrong for not supporting appointment of a water-torture approving judge, for example (yes, the censure actually says that), and he’s wrong for not actively discriminating against Muslims (yes, it says that, too) – but Graham’s also wrong for supporting the NSA’s spying on citizens. So which is it, Lawton? Is the senator “Liberal Lindsey” or far-right neocon?
But standing out most is Lawton’s acknowledgement that he and the GOP are, in the words of Graham himself, “the party of angry white guys.” The 19th complaint on the censure resolution quotes Graham’s response to Republican protestors he encountered in 2009; “We’re not going to be the party of angry white guys,” Graham told them. If Lawton’s going to complain about the comment, does that mean he wants it to be an “angry white guy” party? Is he defending that “angry white guy” status that Graham says they shouldn’t be? Well, when you consider the other 28 complaints in his request for censure, as well as the middle-of-the-road issues absent from that request, it sure seems that way, now don’t it?
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This isn’t the first time that Lawton’s made this censure proposal, either. In fact, he offered this exact same resolution – word for word – at a Spartanburg GOP event in Aug. 2013, and right when Tea Party peeps like Lee Bright were announcing they’d challenge Graham in the GOP primary. While it doesn’t mention support for another specific candidate, the resolution does state that Graham “should be replaced as Senator … at the earliest possible electoral opportunity,” indicating Lawton supported at least one of Graham’s primary challengers. And that he’s made no modification to it since then indicates he’s rooting for one of Graham’s opponents in November’s general election.
And who would that candidate be? Why, Thomas Ravenel, of course – the Libertarian/convicted felon/cokehead/reality TV star. I mean, he doesn’t mention T-Rav by name, but who else does Lawton have to support? His resolution attacks Democrats, so he can’t be pulling for Brad Hutto in this race. And to re-release the resolution to media at the same time that Ravenel’s launching his petition-supported campaign? Yup. He’s trying to snuggle up with T-Rav, alright.
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And Lawton’s apparent endorsement of Ravenel in this repeat of his anti-Graham argument suits me just fine. For two reasons, too.
First, it’ll take away even more votes from Graham, giving South Carolina its overdue opportunity to elect a real senator like Brad Hutto. Second, it unites the contrasting groups of Tea Partiers and Libertarians, merging into one these two sects that were both created by the Republican Party.
That’s right – both were created by the GOP as means to garner support from voter groups they were losing at particular times in history. Following losses in the 2006 and 2008 election cycles, the party identified voters who had changed voter registration from Republican to independent. They were white and over 40 with low-to-middle income, lived in suburban and rural areas, and had no college education. So the GOP gave a lot of money to Dick Armey and his lobby group, and the ex-congressman kicked off the Tea Party movement in 2009, borrowing the term from Ron Paul’s ’08 campaign. The platform of this “party” addresses personal issues these voters thought were being ignored (such as strict application of religious faith and their fear of minorities and other nationalities), combines them with other Republican stances (like no taxes or regulations on corporations), and voila! The Tea Party is born. The GOP keeps those voters, and even gets them to make their public arguments (despite the fact that its stances harm this same demographic group).
And why am I pleased that these two GOP-created groups will merge together for this election? Because they’ll make bigger fools of themselves collectively than they can individually. Picture them together – one carrying bibles, the other holding bongs. When their march to a trailer-park church gets interrupted by a stop to buy E-Z Widers, the witnessing public will get to see those Tea Partiers and Libertarians and Republicans collectively. And that’s when they’ll be able to see that, aside from their unique slogans and taglines, there’s no true difference in any of the three’s platforms. They’re all against public interests and rights and freedoms. And together, they’re a collective sham.
So go on, Lawton. Gripe about Graham. Ask county GOPs to join the four others in South Carolina that voted to censure him, too. And when both Graham and Ravenel lose this November, you can ask one of your new dopehead friends for a drag to ease the pain.