Saturday, January 31, 2015
Romney Out, Lindsey Graham in, bringing back the Republican Hawks into the Mix
Keywords or Terms: Mitt Romney; Senator Lindsey Olin Graham, Military Hawk; Military Industrial Complex; South Carolina; Los Angeles Times; CNN; Senate Judiciary Committee; Pain-capable Unborn Child Protection Act; Immigration Reform; Militarization of America’s foreign policy; Security through Strength; ISIS, Al Qaida in Arabia and Boko Haram; and, White House’s action
Early spring of 2015 is getting unusually hot among Republican Presidential hopefuls – not counting the dropping out of Mitt Romney from spade of candidates gunning for 2016 Party Nomination – the Republican Party is experiencing some schism due to infighting for campaign strategists, fund raisers, bundlers and message brokers. Republican aspirants have been jostling to recruit competent persons into their campaign teams; and the few with prior experience with the exercise are scarce, pretty scarce. Though unconfirmed, there was speculation that Romney’s Iowa political strategist for the 2012 exercise was hired away by Jeb Bush. In a phone conference from Provo, Utah, Mitt Romney did what was probably expected after interaction with supporters, money bags and rank and file, and personal reflection or assessment of his chances third time around, and arrived at the conclusion to give it all up.
So, Romney announced late on Friday as reported by Los Angeles Times that: ““After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I've decided it is best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee… I feel that it is critical that America elect a conservative leader to become our next president. You know that I have wanted to be that president… But I do not want to make it more difficult for someone else to emerge who may have a better chance of becoming that president.” Pundits on twitter lit up with speculations that the new generation of Republicans Romney was refereeing to, included: Senator Marco Rubio of Florida; New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; Kentucky Senator Rand Paul; and, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, among others. Party insiders claim there are other Republicans as capable, if not even well grounded in Conservative values, including military hawkishness, especially Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Today’s exposé looks at one of such hawkish and conservative Republicans, Senator Lindsey Graham; a man Senator McCain calls my personal friend.
Who exactly is Lindsey Olin Graham? What does America know of this Southern Carolina Senator who is a veteran of Senate among other accolades? The unique nature of grassroots campaigns is very complex and sometimes dicey. Mitt Romney who announced his intention to run in 2016 barely two weeks ago at a gathering of Republican National Committee members in San Diego has suddenly dropped out. No matter what accolades and praise Republicans are offering, you sure certain that some Republicans are happy, Mitt is out of the way! It is now left to other candidates to appeal to the rank and file and or appease Republican leadership that they are the real deal. Can Lindsey Graham do this better than Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Scott Walker or Bob Carson?
Well, let’s look at him: Mr. Graham is a fifty-nine year old senior senator from South Carolina who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Never been married, he’s a lawyer, a former Colonel in the South Carolina Air National Guard; and currently, US Air Force Reserve. Graham served in Iraq and Afghanistan as a reservist for short periods in 2007 and 2009. Although never been in military combat, he carries with him a sympathy for men in uniform and once said, if found as embellishing his credential as a war hero, he is not fit to serve in US Congress. He holds a Psychology BA and JD from the University of Southern Carolina. A right winger, who probably feels welcomed by the Tea Party group as Texas Senator Ted Cruz; he is married to public service and once criticized President Obama verminously on Benghazi, going as far as calling him an Imperial President.
American voters have the burden of proving that one with such a credential is not fit for office of the presidency; however, Republicans have a double duty to scan Mr. Graham’s private life for suitability as their party’s flag bearer. Campaign strategists would do well to analyze the period before his advent in public service, to figure out if there are some embarrassing events that may derail a presidential bid. A man who started promoting his own presidential ambition or candidacy on CNN less than two hours after Mitt Romney announced that he will not be running in 2016. The senator, who prides himself as ready to make the Pain-capable Unborn Child Protection Act virtually useless, recently announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee, the Security through Strength Committee, to channel his dream to a reality.
If Senator Lindsey Graham anchors his presidential campaign on militarization of America’s foreign policy or immigration reform, he sure has some explaining to do to voters. The foreign war voyeurism of the last Republican President seems to have traumatized the psyche of the average American; and, any talk about wars at this time may be nauseating to many, especially American families who lost loved ones in what many consider as duped or dubious wars. As a member of the US Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Graham hopefully understands how difficult it is for people to believe a party or government that led the nation to what is considered unnecessary war. As a lawyer, voters believe he appreciates the difficulty of being lied to and the burden of proof to show transparency in governance. Whatever his explanation for justifying returning to hawkishness in foreign policy, hopefully, the senator is not attempting to revisit policies that brought severe damage to America’s foreign policy and US presidency?
The last Republican Administration was filled with many ironies, with Republican leadership being caught in a web of lies to justify going to war in Iraq, while ignoring common sense policies and actions that lead directly to the culprits. After the bombing of September 11, 2001, there was unanimous opinion in Washington that the Presidency has the obligation to go after the culprits; however, rather than face this group or master engineers, the Republican Administration headed to a country that probably contributed through the support of State terrorism; but was not the actual culprit. One thing that the September 11, 2001 hearing have demonstrated is that, our leaders may run afoul of the law by being deceptive of the real reason for their actions in a foreign war. The formidable task of cleaning up after the last Republican Administration by current Democratic Administration pronounces ill-will verdict on the seasons of Republicans in the White House. To anchor your presidential campaign on this dicey and very troublesome concept at this time may seem unwise.
Despite this apprehension, no one is advocating passiveness in US foreign policies. With growing terrorism across the globe and the flexing of muzzles by ISIS and other terrorist groups in the Middle East, one is not discountenancing the need for strategic policies that halt their advances. Six plus years of President Obama Administration have shown that success in foreign policy does not have to be accomplished through go-it-alone foreign wars; occasionally a systematic maneuvering of the opponents or enemy is all that is needed.
‘Security through Strength’ slogan for a presidential campaign seems prudent at a time when voters are not weary of wars. The strategic superiority of the American military is not in question. Unnecessary aggressive strategy to counter invisible or suspected risks is hardly tenable when the nation is still fighting to re-absorb and care for the veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Prolonged Kremlin leadership vacuum was the reason President Reagan was able to curtail Russia in the cold war era; however, ISIS, Al Qaida in Arabia and Boko Haram in Nigeria and others across the globe are definably a different animal. We are dealing with group(s) that is chameleonic in character; our goal is to understudy them and use tactics far different from what were used in curtailing state sponsored terrorism. It may entail establishing innovations and initiatives at the intelligent and security agencies that mirror similar tactics elsewhere used for fighting unconventional terrorism. We cannot politicize this rather grave new frontier of foreign policy; and, we are not ready to make concession at any time.
The epigram, nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought, hardly applies to fractionalized terrorism groups across Middle East. Even though the Obama Administration made some advances through the drone program to curtail terrorists, it is still not in the nation’s interest to capitalize on some of the failures of the program, by drawing them into our domestic politics. President Obama has not weakened the nation by charting a different course in fighting terrorism or addressing some of the world tough spots. Many political observers have detected and criticized the failure of one jackets fits all doctrine towards foreign policy. A more practical rather than nationalistic foreign policy may have greater influence on the new enemy as we now know.
On the matter of immigration, it is not enough to criticize President Obama for using executive actions. There is sufficient blame to torch all parties, US Congress and the White House. However, there are no reasons to believe that Obama has politicized the process; it behooves congress to legislate on issue of immigration. If Congress has failed; the consequential decision for the White House to remain docile on this rather important issue affecting close to twelve million people living within American borders, is symptomatic of irresponsibility. Indeed, in some instances, the pressure groups wanting action on the issue of immigration reform have weighed heavily on the White House’s action; however, to turn around to blame the action taken by President Obama as dividing the Republican Party is untenable. Is the Republican Party the party of self-deportation as you asked? President Obama deferred to Congress for very long time; and since Congress continued delaying or reneging on its responsibility, the President acted out of choice or by succumbing to public opinion. To some advocate of immigration reform, President Obama’s action seemed to be “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”
It is in this context that the apprehension of Republicans of the White House’s executive actions on immigration and other public interest issues must be taken. The tension rising between Congressional Republicans and the White House demands for political openness, a very important ingredient of governance that has escaped the two. Both parties must appreciate the limitations of each other and the place of each other in a bicameral chamber of congress. Congress must take responsibility for its inaction on very important public issues of legislation. Likewise, the White House must curry fuller engagement with Congressional lawmakers so that urgent legislation are raised and passed for the President’s signature. For a more responsive government, everyone has to play its part, US Congress and the White House.
For now, American voters are looking forward to meeting the Senior Senator from South Carolina on the campaign trail. Nowhere in America are voters looking forward to a time of isolation from the rest of the world; however, no one is expecting a government which is authorizing or underwriting excessive spending on the military intervention where the direct interest of America is not at stake. What America wants is for both Republicans and Democrats to provide solutions to the nation’s pressing problems, not finger pointing or using epigram to drive presidential campaigns that they can hardly identify with. The unity sought between lawmakers of both major political parties is to drive result-oriented governance, where the White House would not resort to executive actions to better the welfare of Americans. Good Luck to Senator Lindsey Olin Graham!