10/02/2009 08:34 PM

Senator Lindsay Graham has always been my favorite conservative. I got to know him during the campaign to legalize the Irish undocumented when I headed up the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform.

Graham has Irish roots, and despite the fact that he represents South Carolina, one of the most conservative states in the union, he has that Irish gift of telling it like it is even to his own side.

He reminds me of the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan who had the same gift of telling Democrats uncomfortable home truths such as the welfare crisis and the impact of single parent families.

Graham and John McCain were the only two on the Republican side who talked sense on immigration and I helped raise money for McCain on the back of it. Those who speak truth to power should be supported whatever the party.

I always found Graham was refreshing. He is a true individualist who never bought into conspiracy theories and always told it straight.

Now I see he is telling truth again with his straightforward and brave account of how far right the lunatic fringe the Republican party is tending.

He told a conference hosted by Atlantic magazine that Glenn Beck is aligned with that strange group I like to call “very rich white men whinging” and said about Beck, “Only in America can you make that much money whinging. He (Beck) is aligned with cynicism but we became a great nation not because we are a nation of cynics but a nation of believers.”

Graham also called those who claim Obama was not born in America “crazy” and told them to “knock this crap off and get on to more significant problems.”

“I'm here to tell you those who think the president was not born in Hawaii are crazy,” he said.

Good for Graham. He also stated he was very worried about the passions that cable news channels were whipping up in recent weeks.

If you read Tom Friedman's chilling article in the New York Times this week where he essentially predicted the current poisonous atmosphere could lead to an assassination attempt on Obama, you know where he was coming from.

“If you get rewarded for being a jerk you are going to just keep doing it,” Graham said.

He pointed out a recent article in Newsmax magazine, a far right wing rag, that said a military coup against Obama could happen as an example of the media madness.

Thank God we have politicians like Graham who are not afraid to criticize their own side. We can only hope that such truth and decency will permeate many more politicians at this dangerous time. America badly needs it.