Lindsey Graham takes to Red State to remind us that foreign policy experience matters. The Senator is correct, and it’s fair to count McCain’s experience, which consists of lots of official foreign travel but no actual responsibility for formulating or administering our foreign policy, as a plus. However, Graham overstates his case to the extent he implies that McCain’s sort of experience is a prerequisite for being an effective foreign policy president. Certain governors have had great success in the realm of foreign policy. Moreover, John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson — both of whom served in the Senate, traveled extensively, and opined regularly about foreign policy — did rather poorly when it came to foreign policy. It took Kennedy almost two years to hit anything like his stride, and Johnson never did.
Meanwhile, Graham’s support of McCain provides conservatives with a timely reminder of why we should be reluctant to jump on the McCain bandwagon. Think of the damage this duo has done, or tried to do, in just the past two years. First, thanks to McCain and Graham, Jim Haynes was not confirmed for the seat on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that his patriotism and qualifications warranted. By blocking Haynes, McCain and Graham helped cause the balance of that key court to shift away from conservatives.
Second, thanks to McCain and Graham, our intelligence services have lost the ability to use interrogation techniques such as waterboarding that have a proven record of securing vital information from hardened terrorists. Our government instead must now rely on techniques that have a record of failing to secure such information.
Finally, if McCain and Graham had prevailed last summer, millions of illegal immigrants would now have path to citizenship. Our borders, however, would not be secure, and those who wish them to be made secure would have little more than the federal government’s promise to accomplish this — a promise in which McCain now admits the American people reasonably place little faith.
UPDATE: For me, Jim DeMint is the model of what a South Carolina Senator (and indeed a Senator, period) should be. DeMint had this to say about allowing illegal immigrants to collect social security benefits on work they did while in this country illegally — an idea that McCain supported: “It makes no sense to reward millions of illegal immigrants for criminal behavior while our Social Security system is already in crisis.
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