After South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham co-authored an NYT op-ed with John Kerry expressing support for climate change legislation, there was much speculation about what moved Graham, a Republican who’s conservative on many issues, to get behind an issue more often associated with liberals. Graham offered this partial explanation to Politico:

“My state has been known for some not-so-good things lately,” Graham said in a reference to South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst during Obama’s recent speech to a joint session of Congress and Gov. Mark Sanford’s marital infidelities. He said that South Carolina remains “a nice place with beautiful God-given resources” and that he wants the state “to lead on something.”

Now a pair of South Carolina Republicans have come under fire for (approvingly) characterizing Jews as penny-pinching tightwads. Does this mean Graham will come out in support of the public option?

(For an alternative explanation of Graham’s change of heart, see Darren Samuelsohn’s ClimateWire article.)

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Greg Marx is an adjunct lecturer at The Medill School and a facilitator with The OpEd Project. She served as an editorial board member, columnist, library director, and No. 2 in the features department of the Chicago Sun-Times.