Do you ever think to yourself, “Boy, Senator Lindsey Graham would make a great president of the United States”?
Maybe not, but John McCain (not surprisingly) has.
According to an article published October 5 in the Arizona Republic, the senior senator from Arizona describes himself and Graham (R-S.C.) as “the closest of friends.”
For his part, Graham (shown, right) hasn’t declared his candidacy, but has hinted at it (as everyone does at this stage of the race) and has begun attacking potential rivals for the GOP nod, calling out Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) as someone who is “not quite ready” for the Oval Office.
For now, Graham is apparently content to let his surrogates convince voters that he is a swell guy and would be ready for the office should it be thrust upon him.
"He'll be looking at it," McCain (shown, left) reports of Graham’s intentions, according to the article. "One rationale is because, obviously, national security has assumed a much more prominent place in our political calculations. And Lindsey Graham is as experienced and knowledgeable as anybody in America.”
For all the knowledge Lindsey Graham allegedly has, some of his statements over the past few years reveal that knowledge of the Constitution isn’t in his repertoire.
For example, in the wake of the disclosures made by Edward Snowden, Graham called for the NSA whistleblower to be “follow[ed] to the ends of the earth.”
It’s no secret that due process isn’t high on Graham’s list of rights. Regarding the National Defense Authorization Act’s (NDAA) denial of some of the most fundamental elements of that right, during a debate on the Senate floor, Graham infamously said of those accused of aiding terror, “Shut up, you don’t get a lawyer.”
Graham’s rap sheet of crimes against his oath of office and the Constitution is impressive. Consider the following list of Graham’s actions that should give pause to anyone considering voting for him for president (or any other office). Graham has voted in favor of:
• Arming Syrian rebels with known ties to Al-Qaeda
• Approving the National Security Agency’s continuing surveillance of innocent Americans
• Calling for the use of drones to target American citizens
• Sending substantial aid to Egypt
• Subordinating American sovereignty to the United Nations
• Continuing to send billions to foreign governments worldwide
• Confirming President Obama’s Supreme Court nominees
• Billion-dollar bank bailouts
• Unconstitutionally infringing on the Second Amendment
• Advocacy of amnesty for illegal aliens
Then, there is Graham’s estimation of the threat posed by ISIS to the continuing existence of the United States: “When I look at the map that Gen. Keane described, I think of the United States,” Graham said in an appearance on Fox News Sunday in August. “I think of an American city in flames because of the terrorists’ ability to operate in Syria and Iraq.”
Of course, none of this hawkish hyperbole would deter John McCain from throwing his support behind Graham, as McCain has been right there with Graham on most if not all of these issues.
In fact, both men are inveterate war hawks, calling for “boots on the ground” every chance they get.
Not surprisingly, both men have come under fire from more constitutionally minded Republicans in their home states, as well.
Last year, a coalition of Tea Party-affiliated groups from across South Carolina approved a 29-point condemnation of Graham, calling for his replacement with someone committed to the Constitution. In a copy of the document provided to The New American, Graham’s sins against the Constitution are enumerated and language is included in the resolution that would facilitate its adoption by state and local Republican organizations.
In McCain’s case, the story of one woman’s lambasting of him at one of his under-publicized town hall events is demonstrative of the growing irritability with the perpetually bellicose senator, particularly with his foreign policy positions.
Standing just feet from McCain, the woman took the microphone and read what amounts to no less than an indictment of McCain and the infamous “Gang of Eight” he leads. She said:
Senator McCain, given the fact that wars cost billions of dollars and kill people, and the fact that there is a two-digit unemployment rate in America’s inner cities among black-skinned people like President Obama, an increasing use of food stamps strongly encouraged by the president, government-run schools that are more concerned with promoting anti-Christian beliefs and values, and the brainwashing of our precious children to have slave-like mentality, the aborting of millions of helpless babies by Planned Parenthood, why don’t you and the Gang of Eight apply the same war-like vengeance and effort to dismantle the Department of Education, remove government regulations that inhibit economical progress, stop giving illegal aliens citizenship so they can vote for a dictator in America and stop the crimes perpetrated by often skill-less invaders and let my people and all American citizens thrive?
McCain, although noticeably irked, played off the woman’s legitimate questions with a joke and a remark recalling his own failed presidential aspirations.
Having tried and failed repeatedly, it appears that the hopes of the Republican hawks now reside in Lindsey Graham.
The reality of the matter is, however, that no matter who sits in the big chair at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, disregard for the Constitution, limited powers, and federalism will march on undaunted and undiminished.
We, the people, impotently rant about the tyranny of the federal government and its consolidation of power, yet we focus our efforts to restore liberty and the balance of power on the election of congressmen and presidents. We inexplicably look to Washington when we should be rebuilding our states and shoring up their sovereignty against the ferocious federal power grab that is only just beginning.
The failure of the people to force the states to flex the muscle of nullification has led to atrophy, leaving them too weak to put up a good fight against the federal assault on the sovereignty of the states and the liberty of the people.
As a result, Washington considers the states nothing more than administrative subordinates whose continued existence is tolerated only so long as they faithfully facilitate the execution of the millions of mandates of the multitude of federal programs.
The relevant inquiry isn’t, then, whether a President Lindsey Graham would work to restore the Constitution (his actions have most clearly demonstrated that he would not), but whether people should continue behaving as if the president of the United States is the “most powerful person in the world.”
Right now, Graham is focusing on being re-elected to the Senate. According to statements he made in an interview with The Weekly Standard, however, he wouldn’t mind moving up north in 2016.
“If I get through my general election, if nobody steps up in the presidential mix, if nobody’s out there talking — me and McCain have been talking — I may just jump in to get to make these arguments,” Graham said.
Voters in South Carolina have a chance in November to make their arguments not only against a Graham presidency, but against his continuing service as the senior senator from the Palmetto State.
Photo of Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham: AP Images
Joe A. Wolverton, II, J.D. is a correspondent for The New American. Follow him on Twitter @TNAJoeWolverton.