The South Carolina Republican Party held its convention Saturday, where it elected its next leader with an eye towards the 2010 elections. The State reports that the current intraparty debate over big-tent vs. conservative principle burst forth, as illustrated in speeches by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint:
But U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham followed with a fiery speech that drew jeers from the crowd.
Graham told the crowd there was nothing wrong with any conservative, and he wanted to build an open party that could win in Pennsylvania and Connecticut, as well as South Carolina.
“You’re a hypocrite!” one man yelled.
“I’m a winner, pal,” Graham shot back. “Winning matters to me. If it doesn’t matter to you, there’s the exit sign.”
“Ron Paul is not the leader of this party,” Graham said, prompting a few jeers. Some people yelled, “Yes, he is!”
“I’m not going to give this party over to people who can’t win,” Graham finished, drawing most of the crowd to its feet.
But U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, who followed Graham, said he’d rather have 30 senators who stand on principle than 60 who have none.
Hat tip to Jeff Taylor, who asks, “Who else thinks Lindsey just painted a huge, national bulls-eye on his back?”