In defense of Lindsey Graham

Long time Power Line readers knew that I’m no fan of Sen. Lindsey Graham. Since the early days of this blog, I’ve been critical of the man I call the Arlen Spector of the South. Nor has he grown on me.

Graham is now under attack from the Obama spin machine for his renewed criticism of the administration in the wake of Ben Rhodes’ Benghazi email. Graham called the email “a smoking gun” and said the White House intentionally “provided the most beneficial political story for the president” instead of telling the truth.

Team Obama fired back through Tommy Vietor, formerly of the White House National Security Council and one those who edited the Benghazi talking points. Vietor claimed that Graham’s comments about Benghazi are politically driven — a response to the fact that he has Tea Party challengers this year in the South Carolina Senate primary.

Vietor tried to defend this claim on Bret Baier’s program tonight. As proof, he said that Graham has sent out a fundraising letter mentioning his role in pursuing the Benghazi matter.

But the fact that a politician touts a stance in an election year doesn’t show that the stance was taken for political reasons. This year, Democratic candidates will try to raise money based on their support for this or that liberal agenda item, e.g. increasing the minimum wage or insisting on “pay fairness” for women.

Such pleas for contributions will not prove that Democratic candidates supported these agenda items for political reasons, rather than genuine concern. So too with Graham’s mention of Benghazi in his fundraising.

Anyway, what do the Democrats expect Graham to run on; his role in making the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals more liberal?

There is every reason to believe that Graham would be acting just as he is on Benghazi even if he were not up for reelection or facing Tea Party opponents. John McCain, his soul mate, has pressed the issue. McCain isn’t up for reelection.

Benghazi falls smack dab in the wheelhouse of McCain-Graham. The two hate manifestations of U.S. powerlessness overseas and dislike Obama administration foreign policy in general. They are also tenacious in attacking whatever it is they dislike (I understand why Team Obama finds Graham so annoying).

Graham, in sum, isn’t fixated on Benghazi for political reasons. And it requires plenty of gall for a participant in the Obama administration’s efforts to spin Benghazi for President Obama’s benefit during final months of the 2012 election to lodge such an attack on the Senator from South Carolina.

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