Censuring Graham

CENSURING GRAHAM…. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has one of the Senate’s most conservative voting records. It’s true in the 111th Congress, and the 110th, 109th, and 108th. Apparently, however, it’s not quite conservative enough for some of his home-state allies.

Republican leaders in a South Carolina county have censured their own U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham for working with Democrats on a climate bill and other legislation.

The Republican has often worked with Democrats in Congress, but Charleston County Chairwoman Lin Bennett says his work on climate legislation is the last straw.

The vote in Charleston was reportedly unanimous. And the effort isn’t over — apparently, a similar censure resolution will be pushed at the state GOP convention next year.

In light of the apoplexy, it’s probably worth remembering that Graham hasn’t moved to the center. Let’s once again take a look at the always-helpful VoteView analysis, which ranks lawmakers from the most liberal to the most conservative. In the current Congress, #1 is Dick Durbin (furthest to the left), #100 is Tom Coburn (furthest to the right). Graham is tied for #82, meaning only 17 senators are to his right. Graham is not only more conservative than most of the Senate, he’s more conservative than most Republicans. This year, based solely on his voting record, Graham is to the right of notable conservatives like Sam Brownback and Mitch McConnell.

In South Carolina, that’s worth a censure resolution?

One of the other angles I find interesting is that, for the better part of the year, the small and discredited Republican minority has insisted that they’d like to see “bipartisan” lawmaking. And yet, when Lindsey Graham tries to work with Dems on one issue, and gets much of what he wants in concessions, he’s immediately slammed — formally — by Republicans in his own state.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.