McCain and Graham Claim to Speak for Conservatives on Libya
Whenever we attempt to evince bold distinctions between ourselves and the Democrats, Lindsey Graham and John McCain can always be counted upon to muddle those distinctions. Foreign policy, in particular, is a subject in which voters struggle to perceive clear differences between the parties. Consequently, we must repel the rapturous support for the so-called Arab Spring emanating from Obama’s tag team of favorite Republicans.
Back in the 70s, our most consequential and enduring mistake was supporting the Iranian revolution against the Shah. Jimmy Carter and his allies failed to comprehend that the problem with the Middle East was not autocracy per se; it was Islamofascism. Tragically, the Obama administration, along with the Bill Kristol/John McCain Republicans, is helping to consummate the state-level Islamofascist takeover of the entire region. We have ostensibly handed Egypt over to the Muslim Brotherhood/Iran and are on the cusp of delivering Yemen to Al-Qaeda. Our encouragement of the Arab Spring is also emboldening the Palestinian majority in Jordan to overthrow our strongest Arab ally, King Abdullah. We are doing nothing to prevent Bahrain from transforming into an Iranian proxy, instead of a vital ally. Meanwhile, Bashar Assad, a dictator who truly deserves a timely demise, is still enjoying diplomatic relations with the U.S., even as he murders his own people in cold blood.
In light of all the upheaval in the Middle East, where was Obama’s hill to die on in the Middle East? Libya. Yes, Muammar Gaddafi is an evil man; nonetheless, he is an evil man who has fought against Al-Qaeda. Should we remove every brutal tyrant in the world? Robert Mugabe is the ruthless leader of Zimbabwe, and has not been fighting Al-Qaeda, yet we are not prosecuting an aimless, impotent war against his regime. But somehow John McCain and Lindsey Graham believe that the Al-Qaeda-backed Libyan rebels are sacrosanct, the city of Benghazi stands on hallowed ground, and that anyone who believes their plight runs counter to our national security interests ought to shut up.
This is what Lindsey Graham had to say on Meet the Press:
“Congress should sort of shut up and not empower Qadhafi.” [...]
“I would take the course that conservatives have been taking for the last 30 years — The War Powers Act is unconstitutional, not worth the paper its written on, it’s an infringement on the power of the commander in chief.”…
“The president’s done a lousy job of communicating and managing our involvement in Libya – but I will be no part of an effort to defund Libya or cut off our effort to bring Qadhafi down.”
No, Senator Graham. Muammar Gaddafi and his rag-tag army pose no threat to us; Al-Qaeda and Iran are the most consequential threats in the region. Your support of the Arab Spring is empowering Al-Zawahiri and Ahmadinejad.
Also, while most conservatives regard the War Powers Act as being dubiously constitutional, it doesn’t mean that Congress, which has unrivaled control over war appropriations, should ‘shut up’ and let Obama continue a war which satisfies nobody but Al-Qaeda. What’s the next step for Lindsey Grahamnesty? It wouldn’t surprise me if he advocates for amnesty and political asylum for these venerable George Washingtons.
McCain made his rounds on the Sunday shows with this broadside against the Republican presidential field in an interview with This Week:
“Well, I was more concerned about what the candidates in New Hampshire the other night said. This is isolationism. There’s always been an … isolation strain on the Republican Party — that Pat Buchanan wing of our party. But now it seems to have moved more center stage, so to speak. … If we had not intervened, Gadhafi was at the gates of Benghazi. He said he was going to go house to house to kill everybody. That’s a city of 700,000 people. What would be saying now if we had allowed for that to happen?”
So let’s get this straight. If we fail to intervene for those who fought against us in Iraq, it is tantamount to isolationism. Is there any foreign engagement that we can sit out and not be labeled isolationist? John McCain is once again indolently offering a false choice of foreign policies – between Pat Buchanan and …Barack Obama! That is some distinction for us to present voters with in 2012.
Besides, who are these isolationists anyway? According to the latest Rasmussen poll, just 26% of Americans support the Libyan kinetic operation. That is quite a dismal showing considering the degree of sympathy from the media for the Libyan rebels. It looks like Senator McCain is the one who is isolated. He ought to remember that he is Senator of Arizona, not Mayor of Benghazi.
In defense of his position on Libya, McCain scandalously invoked the name of Reagan:
“That’s not the Republican Party of the 20th century, and now the 21st Century. That is not the Republican Party that has been willing to stand up for freedom for people for all over the world, whether it be in Grenada — that Ronald Reagan had a quick operation about — or whether it be in our enduring commitment to countering the Soviet Union.”
The good Senator from Arizona has his history backwards. Reagan was fighting the proxies of the most severe threat to freedom of his time; the Soviet Union. Supporters of the Arab Spring are actually empowering and emboldening radical Islam, the ultimate threat of our time.
It’s also ironic that the two Republicans who are undermining our effectiveness in the two main wars by opposing enhanced interrogations, are exhibiting so much alacrity to open a third front. In fact, their position on enhanced interrogations only serves to validate Eric Holder’s pernicious contention that lawyers are America’s “most effective terror-fighting weapon.” After all, if we ever capture Gaddafi, won’t we need permission from lawyers in order to interrogate him? Who needs another war when people like Graham and McCain will get us into legal trouble anyway?
For those of us who were unimpressed with the 2012 GOP field, these comments by McCain should serve as a much-needed reminder that we are indeed blessed with a more tenacious field than last time – one that lacks a John McCain.
John McCain and Lindsey Graham have spent their entire careers sullying the distinctions between Republicans and far-left Democrats. Let’s face it; the only policy we can remember McCain advocating in 2008 was his promise to buy up everyone’s failed mortgages. Our eventual nominee will invariably receive a plethora of unsolicited advice from big name Republicans. I think we can all agree that McCain is the last person who should give strategic advice to the presidential candidates.
As for Lindsey Graham, 2014 cannot come soon enough. There is no reason we should be saddled with him until he reaches McCain’s age. Can’t we do better than that in the state of Jim DeMint and Nikki Haley?
It’s time for an American Spring – a time of spring cleaning, when we pledge to repeal and replace every liberal Republican, especially those who purport to speak for conservatives. Let’s tell Lindsey Graham to shut up.