The people of South Carolina have finally had enough of Lindsey Graham.
This week the Republican Executive Committee of Charleston County voted unanimously to censure Graham for his work on pending "Cap and Trade" legislation, support of stimulus spending, bailouts and TARP, and for his support of amnesty for illegal aliens.
The resolution complains that Graham "continues to weaken the Republican brand and tarnish the ideals of freedom, rule of law, and fiscal conservatism." County Chairwoman Lin Bennett commented that South Carolina Republicans "are just fed up, and they want him to know they're fed up" and that they have "grown increasingly frustrated with Sen. Graham and his voting record, which are frankly out of step with the beliefs of Republican voters."
Graham's spokesman Kevin Bishop defended the Senator on the basis of his ratings from groups like the Christian Coalition and Eagle Forum who recognize him has highly conservative. The disconnect between these ratings and the popular perception of Graham as a big spender and patsy for the political left, suggests that perhaps the voters are looking for something much more specific from Graham than just generic conservatism.
Charleston County Republicans seem to be demanding that he be a different kind of conservative, perhaps more like Governor Mark Sanford or Congressman Ron Paul, both of whom Graham has publicly criticized for holding views which are too libertarian.
Not having to run for reelection until 2014, Graham may feel that he can weather the change in mood among Republicans in South Carolina, betting on inertia to return the party to the status quo,. Yet if this trend towards party reform continues nationwide for the next two elections, Graham may find himself in a very small group of big-government Republicans, ostracized from his party, marginalized and very unpopular.