Lindsey Graham tells Steve Hayes that if he’s reelected to the Senate, he will begin exploring a presidential bid. I hope Graham does run for president. He will liven up the proceedings and provide a good test of the debating skills of those with a serious chance of being nominated.
Graham, I am confident, has no serious chance. If Republicans nominate a pro-amnesty candidate, it will likely be Marco Rubio. At least Rubio hasn’t made a habit of “reaching across the aisle” to work with Democrats and then attacking Republicans who are less eager to cave.
Graham, it will be recalled, was a leading figure in the “Gang of 14” which reached a compromise on judicial confirmations that kept several Bush nominees off the bench. The deal was reached in the name of “avoiding the nuclear option” — i.e. preserving the right to filibuster judicial nominees. But the Democrats, having gained a Senate majority, invoked the nuclear option anyway.
It’s tempting, therefore, to conclude that the Dems played Graham for a sucker. But Graham is nobody’s fool. His hidden agenda on the Gang of 14 was to help the Democrats block the nomination of Jim Haynes, a patriot, first-rate lawyer, and strong conservative whose presence on the Fourth Circuit of Appeals would have helped prevent that court’s most unfortunate move to the left.
Why did Graham want so desperately to see the Haynes nomination fail? Because Graham’s JAG Corps chums bad-mouthed Haynes for following Bush administration policy on interrogating terrorist detainees. I wrote about this matter here and here, among other posts (some of which apparently can no longer be retrieved).
If Graham runs, it will be as a national security hawk. But Graham’s softness on terrorist interrogation partially undermines his claim to such status. In an era when terrorists are beheading international aid workers, Republican voters probably won’t be impressed by Graham’s preening insistence during the Bush years that America betrays its ideals through such relatively innocuous interrogation methods as slapping terrorists in the face to get their attention.
The time may be right — I hope it is — for nominating a Republican who takes a consistently tough position on fighting Islamist terrorism. But the time isn’t right for nominating Lindsey Graham, and never will be.