No Competition For Graham

South Carolina’s senior U.S. Senator, Lindsey Graham will run next year for re-election – his third term.  Graham has never had any serious competition in either of his previous senate races, and 2014 won’t be any different.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

Graham is a conundrum in the Palmetto State.  One of the most conservative states in the Union, South Carolina will re-elect Graham even though his votes and actions in the senate hardly align with the wishes of his constituents.  Often referred to as “the third senator from Arizona,” Graham’s friendship with war hero/maverick, former GOP presidential candidate Senator John McCain is a puzzle to most South Carolinians.

Considering the rest of the state’s congressional delegation, although Graham doesn’t match up with the gerrymandered Rep. Jim Clyburn, he is hardly cut of the same cloth as Representatives Duncan, Wilson, Gowdy, Mulvaney, Rice or Sanford or the junior senator, Tim Scott.

A nice enough guy, intelligent and powerful, even if in the minority in the Senate, “Lindsey.” many believe, thinks he’s smarter than the voters back home.  It’s almost as if he’s trying to be better than South Carolina, like a southerner who tries to change his speech patterns so as not to sound dumb.

But despite his perceived flaws and what is interpreted as disdain for the will of the voter, Lindsey Graham will be re-elected.  Yeah, the reported $6 million campaign war chest will help, but the electorate will send him back for the same reason a congregation can’t bring itself to get rid of an unpopular preacher – familiarity and the lack of an alternative.

Yes, there are going to be challengers in the Republican primary and the Democrats will put some obscure name on the ballot in the general election, but the indisputable fact is that there are only a couple of people in South Carolina that could give Graham any real competition, and they ain’t running.

State Senator Lee Bright, public relations entrepreneur Nancy Mace and attorney Richard Cash have announced for the Republican nomination to replace Graham.  Of these three, none are serious contenders.

For Bright and Cash, it takes more than saying you’re for God and the Constitution to become and be a United States Senator.  Neither of these gentlemen have the state-wide name recognition to be elected nor do they have a chance to raise the money necessary to get such recognition.

Nancy Mace has her own demon to conquer before she can be a viable alternative.  Although it’s not the only flaw in her candidacy, having a metaphorical “666” tattooed on your political forehead is not how one gets elected.

Mace’s claim to fame – such as it is – is her distinction as the first woman to graduate The Citadel.  Graduating South Carolina’s military college is laudable in itself, but to be the first female is pretty damned significant – and commendable.  And magna cum laude at that!

On her campaign website, we learn that

“Nancy Mace is not a politician; in fact she has never run for political office. She’s a wife, mother and small business owner who is passionate about her country.”

Big deal.  There are likely thousands of such women in South Carolina, many of them with greater experience and leadership than Ms. Mace.

But this is not her Achilles’ Heel.  As news outlets and other blogs have pointed out, it’s Ms. Mace’s affiliation with the controversial website, FITSNews, that is the great unforgivable.

Ms. Mace is the President and founder of The Mace Group, a woman-owned public relations, marketing and web services company.  Labeled by FITSNews as “the brains of our outfit…” “President and Co-Owner of FITSNews” Nancy Mace describes herself as “the other half of South Carolina’s most-read political news and opinion site FITSNews.”

Nancy Mace

The most infamous stunt perpetrated by FITSNews is the still unsubstantiated claim that it’s founder, Will Folks, had “an inappropriate physical relationship” with now Governor Nikki Haley.  The claim, timed just before the GOP primary and rumored to have been a paid hit on Ms. Haley’s candidacy, was not enough to derail Haley’s election.  It did, however, launch FITSNews into the tabloid blogger stratosphere.

FITSNews continues to be an anti-Haley screed and fancies itself as the one true voice of conservative – nay, libertarian – wisdom.  And that’s OK, but it’s the discourse on the website that angers so many and for which Ms. Mace, as publisher, former co-owner and “brains” of FITSNews, must answer.

For many, the misogynist posts, the “Hottest (female) Lawyer” contests, bikini pictures and general objectification of women is enough condemn FITSNews and all those associated with it.  But it’s the language of the comments that is the most damnable.

Women in the public arena with whom readers disagree or just don’t like are called “sluts,” “whores” and worse, including the “c” word.

FITSNews and Mace will, no doubt, claim they don’t want to censor free expression, etc., but editing offensive words or setting some standard for civility and respect is not too much to expect. Will you see the infamous “N word” on FITSNews or other websites like this?  No, that word isn’t allowed, not should it be, but slurs against women and womanhood are perfectly OK. Social stigma has relegated the “N” word to the realm of the unacceptable and untolerated, but calling a woman the “C” word seems not to be taboo.

Clearly, that places Ms. Mace equally culpable for the offensive rhetoric for which FITSNews is so well-known. Odd, given her own experience as the first woman to graduate from The Citadel and the harassment she endured there because of her gender.

Lindsey Graham will be re-elected to the United States Senate because he has the money, the recognition, the Fox News face time and because there is no one running or who will run from either party that can beat him.



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