Policy Documents

Tea Party Protests Lindsey Graham on Cap-and-Tax

James M. Taylor –
March 4, 2010

Roughly 100 tea partiers protested Senator Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) plans to help draft – along with global warming alarmists John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) – a cap-and-tax law to restrict U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. The Saturday protests came in response to a Washington Post article reporting Graham’s recent assertion that “cap and tax is dead” is nothing more than an attempt to change the public relations language of plans to tax and restrict carbon dioxide emissions.

Following up on Graham’s Washington, D.C. political maneuvering, the New York Times reported yesterday,” Graham remains committed to putting a price on carbon emissions. And the proposal he is working on [with Kerry and Lieberman] is likely to utilize the cap-and-trade mechanism” despite his assertion that cap-and-trade is dead.

“I have no problem with trading as long as you don’t devastate the economy,” Graham said in a Tuesday interview, reported by the Times.

“Graham explained his reason for declaring ‘cap-and-trade is dead’ is more about framing the debate for public consumption than anything else,” the Times observed.

Last weekend’s tea party protests were not the first time Graham provoked the wrath of the tea party.

In October 2009 Graham co-authored a New York Times editorial with Kerry saying, “climate change is real and threatens our economy and national security.” Graham and Kerry called for cap-and-trade restrictions on “big polluters” that the Obama treasury department acknowledges would cost the average U.S. household approximately $3,000 per year. Tea partiers led citizen protests against Graham when he returned to South Carolina, and the Charlston County and Lexington County Republicans soon thereafter censored Graham. 

Graham's recent claim that “cap-and-trade is dead” may have been designed to make South Carolinians forget his past support for cap-and-tax carbon dioxide restrictions. Now, tea partiers realize, Graham was merely engaging in creative word play, and still supports such restrictions.