Sunday, in a five-page spread in the paper's weekly magazine, The New York Times declared S.C. Sen. Lindsey Graham "This Year's Maverick." (Read the article, by Robert Draper, here.)
In the profile, Graham, a Republican member of the U.S. Senate for only seven years, is portrayed as someone who views being disliked by both political extremes as an opportunity to seize the position of "deal-maker-in-chief."
Why do the extremes hate him?
Graham preaches bipartisanship when Tea Partiers want blood. He dropped his support of the very climate legislation (the article quotes him as preferring to call it "energy independence" legislation) he once co-sponsored after Sen. Harry Reid bumped immigration reform to the top of the Senate's to-do list. He has, according to his own count and the chagrin of the "Party of No," visited the West Wing of the White House nearly 20 times since Barack Obama became president. And, he admits he's told the Obama administration he'll likely vote to confirm Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, but first he aims to out her as a liberal.
That's why far-right talking heads and bloggers pick on him like schoolyard bullies and liberals find him irritating, though he doesn't seem to care. (Conservative bullhorns accuse him of being gay, he responds by cracking jokes.)
In the article, the life-long bachelor and policy wonk admits he doesn't have a life. Though that's fine by him, crafting policies that will shape America's future is his idea of a fun time anyway. What does matter to him is that the White House and the GOP respect his role as a deal maker.
"I offer myself as a bridge, and I take a beating for that," the senator says in the article when energy and climate legislation came up, "and I get rewarded for that."
Unfortunately for him, however, the author points out his bipartisan bend has produced no "legislative triumph."
In this three-year-old video, Sen. Graham discusses immigration and what it means to be an American, saying, "... we're going to tell the bigots to shut up." Some folks on the far-right claimed his comments are "insane" and that the event was "racist."
Further reading: N.C. Sen. Richard Burr's energy bill backs nuclear -- The Charlotte Observer