It’s a hell of a campaign slogan — one that’ll probably haunt Sen. Lindsey Graham for whatever length of time he manages to last in the 2016 race for the presidency. He’s three days into his campaign and what he’s come up with is: If you’re tired of war, ‘don’t vote for me.’
On Thursday morning, Graham appeared on “Fox and Friends.” He left no doubt that he’d put boots on the ground in Syria and Iran if he were president. He prefaced that with this remark:
“On the national security front, everything President Obama has tried to do has blown up in his face. We’re less safe today.”
Well, I’ll be damned! I would have sworn the United States hasn’t been attacked by a foreign enemy on our own soil since 2001, when George W. Bush was president. But, no, America isn’t safe and Graham wants us — er, rather, the Republican primary voters (so maybe not us) — to know this:
“I’m trying to tell the American people and the Republican primary voter that the only way I know how to defend this country is to send some of us back to Iraq and eventually to Syria to dig these guys out of the ground, destroy the caliphate, kill as many of them as you can, hold territory and help people over there help themselves.”
See? Boots on the ground. Again. Because it worked so well last time. And we’re going to ‘help’ those people over there ‘help themselves.’ Because they’ve shown such a strong will to defend themselves. Like when Ramadi fell last month because, in the words of Defense Secretary Ash Carter:
“What apparently happened was that the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight. They were not outnumbered. In fact, they vastly outnumbered the opposing force, and yet they failed to fight, they withdrew from the site, and that says to me, and I think to most of us, that we have an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight ISIL and defend themselves.”
So, we’re supposed to defend our country by sending our young men to Iraq to die, alongside local forces who won’t fight. Sounds like a winner, don’t you think? Maybe Republican primary voters are wetting themselves over the opportunity Graham’s offering them, but one of the show’s co-hosts had the effrontery to inject a grain of reality. Steve Doocy said:
“It’s a tough message because a lot of people are just worn out by war.”
Which triggered an immediate response from Graham:
“Well don’t vote for me. Don’t vote for me because I’m telling you what’s coming. Barack Obama’s policies of leading from behind are gonna allow another 9/11. They’re large, they’re rich, they’re entrenched. If I’m president they’re gonna be poor, small and on the run. And that means we’ve gotta work with the regional forces that exist, go in on the ground and destroy this caliphate.”
Look, if Lindsey Graham wants to make someone poor, small, and on the run, why doesn’t he go after the Koch brothers? He could really expand his base that way, far beyond Republican primary voters.
Not only that, he’d be doing battle alongside people who are actually willing to fight the good fight. Our boots are already on the ground and he won’t have to pay our boat passage to another country. Save us from another attack? We’re under perpetual attack from the Kochs. C’mon, let’s get busy where it counts.
Of course, the candidate would probably just come back with what he said on the show:
“The Iranians are running wild.”
Sure. We’ve all seen the evidence for that, haven’t we? As we’ve been following the progress of the peace talks.
But the senator doesn’t need evidence; he needs attention. What better attention-getter than making Americans fear for their safety? After all, it’s worked for the GOP for at least 14 years.
Plus, the senator’s near the bottom of a very large heap of Republican candidates. According to a Fox News Poll, shown during the broadcast, he has the support of 2% of Republican voters.
However, if it’s any encouragement to him, Graham got my attention with his unusual campaign strategy. As a matter of fact, I can’t stop snickering.
Check out the clip of his entire appearance below: