(CNN) – Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is frequently at odds with conservative activists in his own state, predicts the Tea Party movement will eventually "die out" despite the political energy it's generating during this midterm election year.
In an interview with the New York Times Magazine posted online Thursday, the South Carolina Republican lamented the state of his party and doubted whether the Tea Party movement will survive.
"The problem with the Tea Party, I think it's just unsustainable because they can never come up with a coherent vision for governing the country," Graham told the magazine, recounting his private meetings with members of the movement. "It will die out."
Graham, who was re-elected in 2008, has been censured by multiple county party organizations in his home state because of his bipartisan efforts to fix immigration and energy policy.
He acknowledged that those stances put him at sharp odds with the Tea Party movement, which other GOP leaders have sought to accommodate ahead of the midterm elections. His fellow South Carolina Senator, Jim DeMint, is regarded as something of a hero among Tea Party activists nationwide.
"Everything I'm doing now in terms of talking about climate, talking about immigration, talking about Gitmo is completely opposite of where the Tea Party movement's at," he said.
Graham stressed his belief that the GOP must welcome different viewpoints if it wants to be competitive in the future.
"We don't have a lot of Reagan-type leaders in our party. Remember Ronald Reagan Democrats? I want a Republican that can attract Democrats," he told the magazine, "Ronald Reagan would have a hard time getting elected as a Republican today."
UPDATE: On CNN's "The Situation Room," conservative radio host Bill Bennett offered a different prediction about the Tea Party movement's future.
"I will predict right now the Tea Parties will outlast the political viability of Lindsey Graham," Bennett said. "But I hope they both survive a long time."
Bennett said Tea Party activists "are not there to govern."
"That's not what the Tea Parties are there for," he said. "Tea parties are a way for people to voice their dissent, their disagreement, to address their grievances, as Thomas Jefferson said."