Familiar names crop up as potential Graham opponents

The Twitterverse is still buzzing over Lindsey Graham’s criticism of Rand Paul’s filibuster last week, as the über-libertarian wing of the GOP desperately seeks a Great Right Hope to oppose him in next year’s primary.

How desperate are they? Well, they were floating Lee Bright‘s name last week.

Since then, other names have emerged. Tom Davis — again — and Nancy Mace. You’ll know Nancy as the first woman to have graduated from The Citadel, and more recently as a PR and web design consultant, and Will Folk’s partner in his well-read blog (Will handles content; Nancy handles the technical side).

Buzzfeed initially reported the news about Nancy:

WASHINGTON — The first woman to ever graduate from the Citadel — who is also the co-owner of a controversial South Carolina political blog — is weighing a primary challenge to Senator Lindsey Graham in 2014, two Republican sources suggested Saturday.

Mace, Nancy

Nancy Mace

Conservatives have long mulled a challenge to Graham, seen in some circles as too establishmentarian for the state’s conservative grassroots, and allies of Senator Rand Paul — whose filibuster last week Graham denounced — hope State Senator Tom Davis, who backed Paul for president, will enter the race. But another conservative candidate could be Nancy Mace, best known in local political circles as the partial owner of FITSNews, whose name is short for “Faith In The Sound” after a George Michael lyric and which has for several years served as the center ring of the state’s sometimes hallucinatory political circus.

“She’s got an inspirational personal narrative, a gorgeous young family, the right ideological mooring and all sorts of political connections. Oh, and her name fits nicely on a 4X8,” FITSNews founding editor Will Folks said in an email. “Obviously I’m a little biased, but there’s a lot to like about her as a potential candidate in the event Tom Davis decides to stay out of it.”

In a separate email, Mace didn’t rule out a run, though she downplayed its likelihood…

Meanwhile, Will had reported that his former fellow Sanford staffer, Sen. Davis, was rethinking his decision not to run.

Between the two possibilities, the one that seems more likely is that Tom would run, and Nancy would help run his campaign — since the senator is one of her clients.

45 thoughts on “Familiar names crop up as potential Graham opponents

  1. bud

    I’m certainly no fan of the so-called “uber-libertarian” wing of the Republican Party but I must say Rand Paul was standing on principal. The drone thing really is getting out of contrlol.

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    Bud, seriously: The basis of this filibuster was the implied belief that Barack Obama would start attacking Americans with drones here in the U.S.

    That apparently was so likely a possibility that Sen. Paul had to hold the business of the Senate up until he could get reassurance from the administration that this was not the case.

    Do you really think that was necessary? Do you really think we were unsafe walking down the street with Obama in office?

    1. Silence

      Bead, that is not correct at all. It was never about the drones, they are only the means. It was always about when it is acceptable to kill Americans on American soil.

        1. Silence

          Brad, Apparently on my Kindle Fire HD, you are “Bead.” It was about when it’s OK to use lethal force against American citizens without due process. The drones were just the mechanism. It could just as easily have been SWAT teams or the Third Armor Division.

          But since we are talking about drones – let’s take it down that road one step further:
          Who uses armed drones? The CIA and the military use armed drones.
          Who is authorized to operate on American Soil? The military is barred under posse comitatus. The CIA has no authority to undertake domestic operations.

          So who’s lawfully operating armed drones in the US?

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            No, it isn’t. To my knowledge, there ARE no armed drones being operated in the U.S., other than I suppose on military practice ranges.

            So, since he’s worried about it, Rand Paul seems the guy to ask.

          2. Silence

            The answer is that there is NO agency with the authority to do it, so why was it so hard for the POTUS/DOJ to say “no, we don’t have the authority to do it.”? That is all.

  3. Mark Stewart

    I remain amused at the connection between those who fear domestic drone attacks and those who believe they must stockpile guns and ammo. No, there is no connection; these people are one and the same.

    I am sure of two things, there will never be a domestic drone strike and Americans will never not have an actual shortage of guns and ammo.

    Hysterical. If only it were…

    1. Steven Davis II

      Is the same syndrome that some people have which correlates the fear of ending of their welfare check and the possibility of actually having to go out and work for a living? Or are the as you say, “one and the same”?

      If you don’t believe there is a shortage of guns or ammunition, have you had your head in the sand for the past six months? There’s only “no shortage” if you aren’t looking for either.

      1. Mark Stewart

        Exactly; I have not looked for either – as have the vast majority of people. But go ahead and indulge your panic. However, when time has passed and you start to wonder why you stockpiled an armory, find a way to dispose of the crap other than selling the stuff on the internet or at a gun show. All this paranoia driven buying is setting the stage for a flood of cheap, undocumented weapons sales in the future. That’s really going to be great for everyone. Thanks in advance.

  4. Mark Stewart

    Strike that “NOT” after “never”. My paranoia must be increasing; is it in the fluoridated water?

  5. Doug Ross

    I bet the Indians never thought they’d leave the reservation.. nor the Japanese Americans would ever think they would see an internment camp… and all those people targeted by J. Edgar Hoover? They had it coming to them.

    We’re America, damn it! We don’t do anything that isn’t right.

    Paul’s question was simple. Obama’s answer through his surrogate Holder was legalese.

  6. Doug Ross

    Oh, so that’s what Holder said prior to the filibuster? Or was that what he said AFTER the filibuster when Obama was losing the war of public opinion?

  7. Mark Stewart

    Who said American government has never misused force? Of course it has. My point was when has the government ever used disproportionate force against any citizen (for any reason)? Answer: Never. No tanks, artillery, machine guns (vs. sub machine guns), rockets, helicopters, mines, missiles, flamethrowers, jets or whatever else is in the military’s arsenal beyond small units of soldiers in the worst of rioting by citizens. The government doesn’t need to – because 99.975% of us understand that, though flawed, the government is doing its best – because it is us.

    Why is that so hard to accept for a few on the fringe? Government changes as we change. We change. If we all want to loose our collective minds to paranoia, then the government May well follow. But it will still be “our” fault.

    1. Doug Ross

      Kent State? Waco, Texas?

      The technology will increasingly make it easier than ever for the government to keep moving the line on what is “right”.

      1. Doug Ross

        And, Mark, you’ve been around more politicians than I have. Do you find them to be some of the most ethical people you have met?

        1. Mark Stewart

          While I would agree that it takes a certain kind of person to succeed at politics, I have found that all people are about the same – i.e. ethics is a tricky thing to master and all people have their highs and lows (some lower than others of course).

          The more one touts one’s ethics or morals, the more the rest of us ought to be on guard for a darker truth. That’s a lesson I keep relearning the hard way.

  8. Mab

    Nancy, the new Sarah Palin … likely charactered/nightmared up from the mind of the same SOB that ‘helped’ McCain late, late, late in the game @ 2 aught aught eight. Fail, Nancy — fail early.

      1. Mab

        It’s fair, accurate enough and a warning to all the easily-manipulated, equality-hysterical voters out there who want SC to have a better facade. The mind of the same SOB is behind all of these empty skirts (i.e., facades): Sarah Palin, Nikki Haley, Nancy Graham.

          1. Mab

            Gee, it’s as if you didn’t know bloggers (FitsNews, SunlitUplands … ) have been referring to Lindsey as Nancy for years now.

  9. Phillip

    “Bead Brad”: “the basis of this filibuster was the implied belief that Barack Obama would start attacking Americans with drones here in the U.S..” No, and every time one of these civil-liberties/executive-power-overreach issues arises, you tend to fall back on the “that’s ridiculous, of course they would never do that” defense—Mark would say that we’re all “paranoid.”

    While I won’t deny there are some fringe people out there who literally fear the specific example of Obama dropping drones on Tea Partiers or whatever, that’s not Rand Paul’s point, that’s not the point in general. It’s a question of larger Constitutional issues, national identity, and do we have a government of laws and not of men? The question of how far to grant powers to the executive branch to unilaterally decide the life or death of American citizens, whether on American soil or not, is a serious one, especially in a period where we are supposedly “at war,” but with no end in sight in our lifetimes or beyond (if the definition of being at war is that there are some terrorist groups out there in the world that would like to do harm to the US).

    The point is not what Obama himself would or wouldn’t do (and no, Mark, it’s not about directly “fearing domestic drone attacks.”) Rather, this is about the fact that powers ceded to the executive branch cannot be granted merely on the basis of assurances by the executive branch (of whatever party may be in power at the time) that “we would never do such a thing,” nor even by our general certainty that such a thing is nearly impossible to imagine. That wouldn’t be good enough for Madison et al, and it shouldn’t be good enough for us. It has to be on the basis of law.

      1. Silence

        The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and RAND PAUL shall lead them.

  10. Brad Warthen Post author

    But here’s the thing that renders all that meaningless, Phillip, and proves that what Rand Paul did was a grandstanding stunt…

    If what we’re talking about is the rule of law, then why did Paul quit his filibuster on the AG’s word, which is in no way binding on this administration or any future one?

    This was about making the Obama administration acknowledge his insulting implications, and say “uncle.” That, and being a hero to, as the WSJ put it so well in the editorial headlined “Rand Paul’s Drone Rant,” “impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms”…

    1. Doug Ross

      Can’t ever get away from the digs at libertarians… luckily, the best response to those condescending insults is “look at the results of what your ideology has gotten us”.
      Our governments at all levels are far from the libertarian ideal. The mix of excessive
      military and social spending has us where we are today.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Yes, look at where we are today… living in a country that makes us the envy of 99 percent of the people who have ever lived on this planet.

        And the glory of this country — the thing that has guaranteed our freedoms, allowed the conditions that produce our affluence, and provided more than two centuries of remarkable stability and continuity — is the system of government that our founders had the wisdom to establish.

        This is the magnificent country that it is because of the system by which we chose to govern ourselves.

        1. Doug Ross

          Then what are you complaining about? Why do you think it needs restructuring from top to bottom? Why do you think the entire healthcare system has to be turned over to the government?

          If it ain’t broke, why do you want to break it?

    2. Silence

      Brad, it’s not that the AG’s opinion is binding or not, it’s that the administration would have tried to reserve themselves the right or the power to act unilaterally with absolutely zero due process to: A) Make up the rules as they go along and 2) kill American citizens on US territory who have not been convicted of any crime in a court of law.

      If we are a country of laws, people have the right to know what those laws are. If we are a country of due process, people shouldn’t be denied due process. Citizens have a right to know exactly where the line is, and what the penalty will be once the line is crossed. What constitutes a valid exercise of free speech rights, and where exactly does treason or incitement of terror begin? If there’s going to be a trial, people have the right to know about said trial, and to show up and defend themselves. The right to confront one’s accusers, and to see the evidence that the state is presenting against them. It’s pretty basic stuff.

  11. Brad Warthen Post author

    Also, I don’t understand why people keep trying to tell me that Paul wasn’t talking about drones. If not, why did he say things like this:

    It’s one thing if you want to try her for treason, but are you just going to drop a drone Hellfire missile on Jane Fonda? Are you going to drop a Hellfire missile on those at Kent State?

    The students at Kent State were killed with rifles. What caused the senator to take the floor 43 years later was his concern that next time, it might be done with drones.

    And how is it not about drones when he explains the purpose of his filibuster this way:

    I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan’s nomination for the CIA I will speak until I can no longer speak. I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court. That Americans could be killed in a cafe in San Francisco or in a restaurant in Houston or at their home in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is an abomination.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      That first quote, by the way, was from a story on NPR about how Paul’s filibuster helped put the subject of drones on the nation’s front burner. I think that goes a bit far; at most it helped keep the subject there. The Brennan nomination, and the memo that NBC reported a few weeks back, had succeeded in starting a national conversation about the way the Obama administration is pursuing the War on Terror.

      That’s a worthwhile conversation to have in a liberal democracy. But Sen. Paul’s stunt, which was clearly in the realm of fringe paranoia was unnecessary for us to have that conversation.

  12. Mark Stewart


    I absolutely agree that the rule of law is the basis of this country’s strength.

    I also agree that I don’t know how we define all external terrorist threats – from US citizens or otherwise. But I do know that no one should ever have to watch an office tower engulfed in flames raining bodies by the hundreds. And I, personally, don’t ever want to listen on the phone to a good friend’s final moments on the burning, shattered 86th Floor of 1WTC.

    As long as we are having a national dialogue about the subject and as long as there is legislative oversight over executive actions, I am fine with the reality that there will be gray areas that require action that may not fit neatly in our Constitutional framework. Lincoln did this. FDR did this. Bush 43 did this. Obama seems to be doing it, too, with the issue of drone strikes. Somehow I imagine that every generation has faced similar issues – and successfully navigated the murk.

  13. Doug Ross

    Maybe we should replace the Constitution with a fortune cookie that says “The ends justify the means”

  14. Mark Stewart


    There you go again trying to mutate gray into black or white.

    I know as a computer scientist 0 and 1 make for a complete expressive language, but our analog life is painted with a palette of hues.

  15. bud

    Sen. Paul’s stunt, which was clearly in the realm of fringe paranoia was unnecessary for us to have that conversation.

    Fringe paranoia? Isn’t that a bit hyperbolic? Frankly Rand’s filibuster was one of the very rare times that I was proud of something that a Republican did. Too bad some of the more liberal voices, like Bernie Sanders, failed to participate.

  16. Doug Ross


    Maybe. But I don’t see the paintbrush making things lighter. Each coat gets a little bit darker. We’ve gone from white to offwhite to beige to now the gray area.. which gets progressively greyer and greyer.

  17. Mark Stewart


    Bernie Sanders is “a more liberal” voice in the Senate? I’m pretty sure everyone thinks of him as an socialist outlier. Maybe he didn’t participate because he knew better…

    By the way, Sanders taught at Hamilton College while I was there. I always thought of the place as deeply conservative. However, they weren’t so conservative as to push away different lines of thought. Bernie was a pretty popular guy on campus and the student’s enjoyed his lectures and his willingness to banter about politics, policy and life around campus. He was toasted, Biden was roasted (but to be fair that time was a low point for him).

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