Opinion Brief

'Outing' Sen. Lindsey Graham

A conservative activist says the moderate GOP senator is a closeted gay who's being blackmailed into supporting immigration reform. Is Graham being slimed?

Lindsay Graham

William Gheen, head of Americans for Legal Immigration (ALIPAC), is accusing Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) of supporting immigration reform for shady reasons — claiming that Democrats are threatening to reveal Graham's secret "homosexual lifestyle." (Graham has long said he's not gay.) Gheen called on Graham to "come out of the closet inside that log cabin so the public can rest assured he is not being manipulated...." Has Sen. Graham been slimed? (Watch William Gheen make his accusation at a Tea Party Tax Day event)

This will damage ALIPAC more than Graham: Gheen's argument is "so bizarre I have trouble seeing how Gheen could believe it himself," says Gabriel Arana in The American Prospect. If anyone's manipulating Graham, it's ALIPAC, with this "desperate" ploy to "discredit the senator among his conservative constituents." It's "sure to backfire." "Graham's deep, dark secret: He likes immigration reform"

This is an attack on Tea Partiers, not Graham: Liberals don't really care if this harms Graham, says Donald Douglas in American Power. "Leftists" have long spread rumors about his sexual orientation. Their only goal in standing up for Graham now is "delegitimizing" the Tea Party by suggesting it's full of bigoted loons. "Steve Benen concern trollery on Lindsey Graham sexual orientation"

Republicans have the most to lose: Forget the Left — conservatives shouldn't be associating with "a piece of trash," like Gheen, says Dan Riehl in Riehl World View. "I detest Lindsey Graham's political positions on several issues," but this "headline-grabbing piece of human garbage," will only hurt the GOP's cause if it doesn't repudiate him. "William Gheen is human garbage we and Lindsey Graham should ignore"

The debate will only get uglier: Sadly, any "Republicans unwilling to tow the hard right line" on immigration can expect similar "nonsense" from Gheen and his allies, says Glynnis MacNichol at Mediaite. "If immigration does become this summer’s national conversation," Graham and anyone else who backs "measured" immigration reform is in for a heap of abuse. "Immigration group demands Lindsey Graham admit he's gay"

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