One year ago today, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) caused a stir within conservative circles when he mocked and criticized Fox News personality Glenn Beck. The conservative host, Graham said, was something of a charlatan, whose show presented a cynical take on politics and society that was antithetical to American values.
"Only in America can you make that much money crying," Graham said at the time. "Glenn Beck is not aligned with any party. He is aligned with cynicism and there has always been a market for cynics. But we became a great nation not because we are a nation of cynics. We became a great nation because we are a nation of believers."
Since then (and in part because of those remarks), Graham's already precarious standing among conservatives has eroded even further. Beck, meanwhile, has become a pied piper for the base, elevating once-obscure candidates and hosting a large rally in Washington D.C.
And so it was not entirely surprising that when the Senator returned to the scene of those initial remarks -- a politics-of-the-day conference hosted by The Atlantic magazine -- his tune on the Fox News host had changed.
"I'm not worried about Glenn Beck," he told the Huffington Post. "He has got a big following and created a lot of energy to get Washington to spend less. So all and all, he has been a positive force."
Graham was appearing at the conference to discuss foreign policy matters, and so his quick, positive take on Beck was done with an eye on moving the conversation to more comfortable ground. But his comment was still symbolic to the extent that it revealed how a Republican who once reveled in drawing a contrast with Beck would rather, now, simply avoid the topic altogether.