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Tilting at Windmills

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April 20, 2010

EVEN LINDSEY GRAHAM DOESN'T DESERVE THIS.... I'm not generally in the habit of defending Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), but some of the abuse he's been receiving from the right is ridiculous.

Over the weekend, an even-crazier-than-usual Tea Party event was held in Greenville, South Carolina, and it was, by one account, "probably the craziest, most violence-strewn Tea Party event so far."

Put it this way: former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) was the keynote speaker, and he called on Americans to send President Obama "back" to Kenya. He was preceded by a Baptist preacher who said he's prepared to "suit up, get my gun, go to Washington, and do what [the military] trained me to do."

But it was William Gheen, the head of a right-wing, anti-immigrant effort called Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, whose remarks were especially ugly. Lindsey Graham wasn't on hand for the event, but Gheen addressed the senator directly: "I'm a tolerant person. I don't care about your private life, Lindsey, but as our U.S. Senator I need to figure out why you're trying to sell out your own countrymen, and I need to make sure you being gay isn't it."

Today, Gheen's outfit doubled down.

The national border security organization known as Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC) is officially calling for US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to make his homosexual lifestyle public knowledge in the interest of political integrity and national security...

"US Senator Lindsey Graham is gay and while many people in South Carolina and Washington DC know that, the general public and Graham's constituents do not," said William Gheen President of ALIPAC. "I personally do not care about Graham's private life, but in this situation his desire to keep this a secret may explain why he is doing a lot of political dirty work for others who have the power to reveal his secrets. Senator Graham needs to come out of the closet inside that log cabin so the public can rest assured he is not being manipulated with his secret."

The "manipulated" line is especially inane -- as the group sees it, if Graham is trying to work constructively with Democrats on a handful of issues, it may be because Dems are blackmailing him.

For the record, I neither know nor care about Graham's private life. His sexual orientation is irrelevant -- and the attacks are pathetic in either case.

Steve Benen 3:20 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (48)

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Comments

But remember, Tea Partiers are all about and only about tax freedom, deficit control and small government. There's no hatred or bigotry or racism or homophobia expressed at these events, and if there is, it's being done by liberal plants. This William Gheen is clearly a progressive trying to make teabaggers look bad.

Posted by: shortstop on April 20, 2010 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

There will be bloodshed. The filibuster is the least of our worries at the present.

Posted by: Charles Gerlach on April 20, 2010 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, Lindsey Graham is perfectly able to defend himself. These are after all people from his own party. Let them self destruct.

Posted by: beyond left on April 20, 2010 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

I'm torn... part of me thinks that this is Senator Graham's comeuppance for all the ridiculous things that he's spouted off for in the past. But the other part of me is just sad that if he is indeed gay, that he doesn't deserve his private life to be dragged through the street. What's next... a short list of all his potential gay lovers phone numbers and home addresses??? We know how that would end!!! These crazies would probably burn their houses down. NO...I would rather us stick to our principles and drag Lindsey's political views through the street and leave his personal life where it belongs.

Posted by: john in socal on April 20, 2010 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Graham's effort to "work constructively with Democrats on a handful of issues" seems mainly focused on gutting the Senate's climate/energy bill of any serious limits on CO2 emissions, and ensuring that it is based on the McCain/Palin 2008 "energy plan" -- expanded offshore oil drilling, and massive taxpayer subsidies for the "clean coal" hoax and the nuclear power boondoggle.

Which would seem to have less to do with Graham's sexual orientation, and more to do with Graham being a bought-and-paid-for corporate stooge.

And after all, in the US Senate, being a bought-and-paid-for corporate stooge is the essence of bipartisanship.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 20, 2010 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Voter turnout, folks. That's the make-or-break-it. A low turnout means these lunatics get their foot in the door.

Posted by: saint Zak on April 20, 2010 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Really, conservative media segregation is the only think keeping the Republicans afloat right now. If the networks other than Fox started covering events in the traditional manner, favoring people with manners, intelligence, reason, and basic decency, the Republican party would fall apart. Their politics are dominated by bullies and frauds, they haven't got enough people left with traditional integrity and the few they've got left are too badgered to matter.

Posted by: Midland on April 20, 2010 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

There's no hatred or bigotry or racism or homophobia expressed at these events, and if there is, it's being done by liberal plants.

My money's on that Schefflera in the corner. I can smell the patchouli from here.

Posted by: junebug on April 20, 2010 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

"Senator Graham needs to come out of the closet inside that log cabin so the public can rest assured he is not being manipulated with his secret."

these wingnuts really do lack any self-awareness, don't they?

Posted by: some guy on April 20, 2010 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Midland wrote: "If the networks other than Fox started covering events in the traditional manner, favoring people with manners, intelligence, reason, and basic decency, the Republican party would fall apart."

And why in the world would the half-dozen giant corporations that own virtually all of the mass media in America want the Republican Party to "fall apart", given that those corporations have vastly benefited from Republican policies that cut taxes on corporations and their ultra-rich CEOs, and radically deregulated media ownership so that those corporations could gobble up more and more of America's newspapers, radio & TV stations and networks?

Sure, Fox and the rest of the corporate-owned phony "conservative" propaganda mills are aggressively hyping the Tea Party to their Ditto-Head audience -- but the corporate-owned, so-called "mainstream" media is just as busily sanitizing and legitimizing it for a wider audience.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 20, 2010 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Live by the sword, die by the sword. I agree that Graham's sexual orientation is his business, but the Republicans, including Graham, have created this monster and now they have to live with it. The GOP has put these teabagger nutjobs front and center in its scorched-earth propaganda war against Obama, and made a crass political decision to defend them at all costs. Instead of denouncing teabaggers for their insane rhetoric, crazy conspiracy theories, racist signage, and threats of violence against Democrats, the GOP has embraced them as "real Americans" and "patriots," and dispatched their heaviest heavy-hitter -- the Divine Miss Palin -- to their rallies. The reward for the GOP has been rising approval ratings, a crucial Senate win in Massachusetts, and encouraging electoral prospects in the fall. I say it's high time for the GOP to feel the sting of these wingnuts. Let's hope there's more to come.

Posted by: ameshall on April 20, 2010 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Well, he is a queen.

Posted by: Vicente Fox on April 20, 2010 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

"Gheen"? Sounds like an Ay-rab name to me. I wanna see his birth certificate.

Posted by: rudeboy on April 20, 2010 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Cameras pan in: Tea Partiers dressed in their gala garb carring anti-Obama posters riddeled with hate, all carrying guns.

The main speaker touts sedition to a totally white crowd. An occasional Confedrate flag and many, many nazi symbols.


Camera fades to voice-over: Is this what you really want your government to look like? Get out and vote. Take your country back from this malaise.

Paid for by the Democratic national Committee.

Posted by: Stevio on April 20, 2010 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

a Baptist preacher who said he's prepared to "suit up, get my gun, go to Washington, and do what [the military] trained me to do."

WWJK?


As for the guy from ALIPAC (Chemical Ali's legal defense fund):
So gay people should live out in the open to avoid blackmail?
Does this mean the Tea Party crew supports repealing DADT? Well, I'll be danged! Welcome to the party, fellas!

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on April 20, 2010 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

"He was preceded by a Baptist preacher who said he's prepared to "suit up, get my gun, go to Washington, and do what [the military] trained me to do."

This is what it's all about for them, isn't it? The whole "Wolverines!" macho John Wayne schtick. Total losers trying to compensate for their complete lack of influence or relevance in this world by waving around their little pistols like a two-year-old who just discovered he has a penis.

My entire being oozes nothing but contempt for these mindless scum. If they like the Bible so much, they should remember the bit about how those who "live by the sword, die by the sword".
(Matthew 26:52)

Posted by: Curmudgeon on April 20, 2010 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

And after all, in the US Senate, being a bought-and-paid-for corporate stooge is the essence of bipartisanship.

Well, in fairness, it is the one thing both parties have in common.

Posted by: Stetson Kennedy on April 20, 2010 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

But but but but ... Graham CAN'T be gay! He was in the military!

Posted by: Sarah Palin IS the ANTIchrist on April 20, 2010 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

when they came for bill clinton, lindsay graham came with them.

when they came for al gore, lindsay graham came with them.

when they came for john kerry, lindsay graham came with them.

and on and on and on. fuck him. i shed no tears at all.

Posted by: howard on April 20, 2010 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Sympathy for Graham? Not from here. I don't recall hearing him rebuke the gay-bashing that's endemic in his party, so his orientation aside, he's reaping what his part sows. Whether he's a self-loathing gay who's getting what he deserves or just another straight smeared with a pink paint brush, no matter to me as long as he's a wingnut repug. I don't much care how that tribe comes to grief.

Posted by: BillFromPA on April 20, 2010 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

Just waiting for a the Senate Majority Leader to have a "slip of the tongue' and to start calling him "Lindsey Gay'em" sort of like the ReThug House Majority Leader did Barney Frank.

That House Majority Leader would be the Godfather of the Tea Party, Dick Armey. ("dick" heh heh heh heh)

Posted by: Sarah Palin IS the ANTIchrist on April 20, 2010 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Graham dug the foundation trench for this House of Teabaggery. He poured the footers and laid the block foundation. He set the j-bar, the mud-sills, the rim-joists, stringers, and braces.

He raised the frame and sheathed the roof. He clad the exterior, placed the windows and doors, hung the siding, slung every last shingle, and trimmed out the fascia.

He then proceeded to run the wire and plumbing, hang the batts of insulation, then the drywall and tape. He painted, carpeted, trimmed, applied the switches and outlets, installed the cabinets, plumbing, and everything-else-whatever needed to build this house. He even furnished it and provided appliances---right down to the toasters and toothbrushes.

And now I'm supposed to feel sorry for him because he handed the keys and to a bunch of crack-brewing, whackjob arsonists?

Nope---it just isn't going to happen....

Posted by: S. Waybright on April 20, 2010 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

No sympathy here, either. Maybe if enough of them get stung by these whackjobs they courted, they'll learn a lesson. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the Schadenfreude and make no apologies for it.

Posted by: b.g. on April 20, 2010 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Graham's a douchebag! He's deserves it. Him, McCain and especially Lieberman.

Posted by: John Henry on April 20, 2010 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

I've never been a fan of outing; I think in most respects it does more harm than good to non-public-figure, non-celebrity closeted gays struggling with their identity in that the notion you may be maliciously involuntarily outed raises the fear and anxiety even for those not likely to be targets. It is also a violation of privacy and, despite claiming to be based in an effort to prove there should be no stigma associated with homosexuality, it clearly is an effort to use someone's sexuality as a weapon -- note no one ever intentionally "outs" their allies.

All of that said, I am pretty well ready to make an exception for gay Republicans. The party has become so heinous and hateful, so intrusive and oppressive towards others, and the gays in the party have had more than enough notice of it, that at this point remaining a Republican is willfully abetting their agenda. And that agenda is so anti-gay, indeed it dangerously makes gays the enemy, that ranking gay Republicans may have to be outed so they can feel the rebuke and wise up and quit supporting the party of hate. Especially people like Lindsey, who is so widely reputed to be gay that he gives the party the convenient -- and wholly undeserved -- facade of tolerance.

Posted by: zeitgeist on April 20, 2010 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

That Baptist minister sounds as though the military did train him to be a Permanent Latrine Orderly, Betcha he can make all the seats snap to attention at the same time ala "No Time for Sergeants".

However, on a more serious note, was it not that long ago when several Federal agencies, such as the CIA and FBI, required lie detector tests to determine whether someone was gay because, if so, they could be compromised. No, J Edgar was exempt.

Posted by: berttheclock on April 20, 2010 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

So gay people should live out in the open to avoid blackmail?

Well, no. They should live out in the open so the stone-wielding mob can get a clear shot. 1) Closeted, you lose, 2) out, you lose. May I introduce you to the Republican party?

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Posted by: wyhdhdq on April 20, 2010 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

So, their next Tea Party will be in Covina, CA?

However, in my comment supra, I meant to add "in the view of persons at the CIA and FBI, a gay person might be susceptible to blackmail. I don't know, if and when, this odious practice stopped.

Posted by: berttheclock on April 20, 2010 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Don't feel sympathy for Dr. Frankenstein.

Posted by: doubtful on April 20, 2010 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

how many R's have paid for abortions or facilited one for another? That would be an interesting statistic.

Posted by: st john on April 20, 2010 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Looks as though the RepuGs are re-enacting "The Night of the Long Knives".

Posted by: berttheclock on April 20, 2010 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with the prevailing opinion here - Graham is simply reaping the whirlwind, having sown the wind along with the rest of his barking mad party. Maybe his example will send a shiver up a few other Republican spines when they take a sober look at the monstrous creature that has become their bedfellow.

"a Baptist preacher who said he's prepared to "suit up, get my gun, go to Washington, and do what [the military] trained me to do."


Ummm.... Father Teabag? Why don't you suit up, get your gun and head on over to Afghanistan? I hear there are still a few opportunities left over there for those with military training.

Posted by: Mark on April 20, 2010 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

In a sane world graham being gay wouldn't matter but in the case of conservatives we don't live in a sane world. If he is destroyed by his own people then it shows what they are all about. If he is gay how could he be silent with all his party has done. It is an illustration of their hypocrisy which needs to be shown over and over and over again.

Posted by: Cal on April 20, 2010 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

As ye sow, so shall ye reap.

Remember, this disgraceful tool was one of the key "managers" who steered the impeachment of Bill Clinton through Congress - all over lying about a blow job (or two).

I have noting but contempt for him. He's cut from the same cloth as Gingrich.

Posted by: Bluecrab on April 20, 2010 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Evidently the worst charge, for the homophobic teabaggers, is to accuse someone of being gay. That's their nuclear option. That some deranged idiots would level such a charge against Graham, heinous though he is, tells us how extreme and delusional this crowd has become. They are eating their own, but don't seem to know it, and that's the good news for the reality based world. Graham has as much right to privacy as anyone else unless he's one of those Rethug hypocrites who gay bashes in public, but lives in the closet.

Let's see who of Graham's cohorts steps up to defend his heterosexuality. And let the infighting begin.

Posted by: rrk1 on April 20, 2010 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

berttheclock - True enough, but you've left off some amusing details. By the early 1980s, the CIA had changed the policy for its gay employees to be that they must be out of the closet; their status had to be public. The obvious point is that only a closeted individual is a bona fide blackmail target. I've occasionally wondered how many families were astonished by some news not so long after their child joined the CIA.

Also, obviously J. Edgar Hoover was a gay man who led a fanatically anti-gay organization. It had long been the case that every single agent who graduated from their academy had to shake Hoover's hands and look in the eyes. At that point, he could deny the agent a job, even though the agent had gone through all the security screen and training. No one knows for certain, but the obvious implication is that Hoover was trying to weed out gay men.

Posted by: Rathskeller on April 20, 2010 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

and, who is Mrs. Graham? I have not heard word 1 about her. Is there a Mrs. Graham of the female persuasion, and why is she not quoted in his defense, saying what a stud he is and keeps her satisfied...CNN will be all over this, I'm sure.

Posted by: st john on April 20, 2010 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

No sympathy for the good Senator here, either. My only hope is that the coming Republican implosion isn't accompanied by violence.
Curmudgeon accurately noted the one factor uniting all the teabaggers - they're losers. Living exciting lives vicariously thanks to the belligerance of the previous administration's puerile, macho facade. I'd be willing to bet that 90% of them saw themselves in that infamous flight-suit. It would be laughable if it wasn't so pitiful.
And frightening...

Posted by: Doug on April 20, 2010 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

Lindsey Graham doesn't deserve this?

Have you forgotten that he was a leading figure in the impeachment of President Clinton, one of those who claimed that witnesses weren't necessary until they realized they didn't have the votes in the Senate, at which time witness suddenly became critical to the case.

There are, I sincerely hope, chickens coming home to roost for House Manager Graham, and I have to say, this couldn't happen to a more deserving guy.

Posted by: Michael Ryle on April 20, 2010 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

@st. john--

No, there is no Mrs. Graham. Senator Graham isn't married.

And let's just recall that Graham isn't nearly as crazy a South Carolina Republican (He's my senator. Sadly.) as we could actually get. The people of SC aren't going to vote for a Democrat, so if Graham gets a Republican challenger, that challenger is going to lean even further to the right.

Posted by: Roy on April 20, 2010 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

"And let's just recall that Graham isn't nearly as crazy a South Carolina Republican (He's my senator. Sadly.) as we could actually get."

If the Republicans are just going to vote in a block anyway, does it really matter than Graham says a few less crazy things to the media than, say, DeMint does?

Posted by: Pee Cee on April 21, 2010 at 12:21 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think you have to feel sorry for Lindsey Graham to think this is f***** up. A world where someone can be 'accused' of being gay -- where it's a charge, rather than a neutral description -- has problems. And while teabaggers may be fringe, this particular dynamic isn't, not yet.

And besides... to paraphrase Ana Marie Cox, can someone explain the difference between an 'open secret' and a rumour. Yes, he's single and yes, my gaydar goes off too, but really... we don't know anything.

Posted by: bh on April 21, 2010 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

Assuming an open homosexual could not be elected in a conservative state like South Carolina, it is naive to think that a closeted homosexual WOULD NOT BE vulnerable to manipulation by unscrupulous interests, of which there is no shortage. It is too bad we cannot have an honest conversation on this important subject and draw the necessary conclusions.

Posted by: lukelea on April 21, 2010 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

But but but but ... Graham CAN'T be gay! He was in the military!

and he has opposed the repeal of DADT, of course. Not sure if he finally changed his mind since the military leaders testified in favor of repeal, as he said he would. I'd guess he didn't.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on April 21, 2010 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

"Live by the sword, die by the sword."

Or in the vernacular: "Lie down with dogs -- get up with fleas."

Posted by: Mandy Cat on April 21, 2010 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, I've never seen so many leftwing posters in my life. I feel like I'm reading something put out by George Stephie-Stephenopolus or maybe chics like Katie "the colon" Couric or Diane "Ophra's Babe" Sawyer or that former Jimmy Carter Pageboy - The NBC Newreader, Brian What's His Name, all paragons of objectivity.

All of you wimps must be gubmint workers, sucking off the taxpayer's nickle. You probably all roomed with Congressman Massa. Did he "tickle you" too much??

I could care less who doing Lindsey down at the public park, but he's got to go. He's a leftwing as you loons on this site. Try getting out of DC and getting a real life - get off the taxpayer and produce something other than bills and debt for the rest of us.

The Tea Party people have more integrity than that Chicago Thug, no nothing, done nothing, genius Obama.

I laughed myself sick, when our Harvard grad, community organizer (just what the hell is a community organizer and how the does that prepare you to do anything, but rip off the taxpayer) President talked about the brave Navy Corpsman and called him a corpse-man, not once but twice. He, he, he!!!

That boob can't even give a speech to a sixth grade class with out carrying his teleprompter brain with him. Check out him on youtube trying to explain healthcare during the 2008 election.
He says, "you know, you know" every fifth word. Oh, he be the smartest guy there is.

Why all of you dudes are shiverin' in your shorts about old ladies and old men being violent at the Tea Party events, talk to Obama's big bud, the mad bomber who tried to kill people - that criminal Bill Ayers.

And while your at it, talk to Bill Clinton who pardoned real murderers, who killed innocent people bombing restaurants in New York City -The Puerto Rican FALN. These patriots blew the leg off of poor NYC police officer, Rocco Pascarella. ""He was ripped up like someone took a box cutter and shredded his face," remembered Detective Anthony Senft, one of the bomb-squad officers who answered the call ." These are the innocents who tried to de-fuse a bomb and had their faces blown off and blinded.

These heros of the left did the 1975 Fraunces Tavern bombing in Lower Manhattan. Timed to go off during the lunch-hour rush, the explosion decapitated one of the four people killed and injured another 60. Yeah, this is the same wonderful democrat prez. Clinton, and you wingnuts are afraid of the Grey Panthers in the Tea Party - get a friggin' life and wake up!

Posted by: El Sabio on April 22, 2010 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Really nice blog

Posted by: Flirt on December 13, 2010 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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