Vital Signs

Nobody’s Bagboy

Something curious happened in South Carolina on June 10.  While Sen. Lindsay Graham easily prevailed over his challenger, Buddy Witherspoon, garnering two thirds of the vote in the Republican U.S Senate primary, the Democrats (voting on the same day) chose a candidate who everyone admits is well to the right of Graham himself.  Of course, that’s not saying much.  After all, Senator Graham is the man who takes pride in a “comfortable conservatism,” as he recently put it.  By contrast, the conservative repast offered up by Graham’s Democratic challenger, Bob Conley, is anything but comfortable.  In short, Conley is staunchly pro-life, supports Second Amendment gun rights, favors strong measures against illegal immigration, and opposes “gay marriage”; but he is also adamantly opposed to what he calls the “occupation” of Iraq, advocates the complete withdrawal of American forces from the Middle East and elsewhere, blames corporate greed for the outsourcing of American jobs, supports workers’ rights to organize, and opposes trade agreements that place the American worker (and American sovereignty) in jeopardy.

How did Conley, a 43-year-old pilot and engineer, manage to defeat his rival, Charleston attorney Michael Cone?  Conley’s socially conservative, anticorporate populism played well in rural precincts, and especially in the Upcountry, where John...

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