Yesterday’s announcement came as no surprise to the many who know of Lindsey Graham, the senior U.S. senator from South Carolina. He continued wearing his campaign season hat of hard-right machismo even after he was re-elected in Nov. 2014, after all. And instead of the off-season centric stance for which he’s criticized by his own party, he’s maintained sharp polarity, leading many to conclude his campaign itch had yet to be scratched. And they’re right – Lindsey Graham is running for president.
On Jan. 28, Graham officially launched “Security Through Strength,” an exploratory committee that now accepts contributions to a presidential campaign. According to its website:
Security Through Strength is the political committee helping (Graham) ‘test the waters’ for a potential 2016 run for president. The committee will fund the infrastructure and operations allowing Graham to travel the country, listen to Americans, and gauge support for a potential presidential candidacy.
Its name is influenced by another Republican icon, Graham said yesterday.
You know Ronald Reagan famously said his goal was to have peace through strength.
Reagan’s footpaths are only partly responsible for the committee’s indicated path, though. Graham modified the phrase, he said, in reflection of his stance on the Islamic faith.
They want to destroy us and our way of life. […] An economy that grows and affects everybody and energy independent America gives us security through strength. So I’m looking for security, no peace with radical Islam.
Such staunch stances are commonly used by the senator during campaign season, apparently to counter criticism from more conservative groups in his state. Graham’s dubbed “Liberal Lindsey” by many, for example, and has been censured by five county Republican parties in South Carolina, too, based on his occasional crossing of the congressional aisle in comprises with Democrats. This continuance in polarity, then, bred expectations for Graham to make a new campaign announcement.
Adding weight to those opinions are the arguments – all anti-female – he’s recently issued. They could have only served to stifle ongoing rumors that Graham – the never-married, socially-withdrawn, career military attorney – is gay.
Take his Dec. 2014 interference with the Military Justice Improvement Act. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) introduced S.2992 allowing a simpler method for members of the armed forces to report sexual assault, and with lower risk of retaliation. Graham loudly interfered with the bill from the senate floor, calling it “off-base” and “a political cause going out of control.” S.2992 has made no progress since then, either.
A brief fast-forward to Jan. 15 finds Graham addressing the Family Research Council. Speaking on the topic of anti-abortion bills, he said he wants “to find a way out of this definitional problem of rape.”
And on the same Jan. 28 date of his announcement, Graham questioned U.S. Attorney Gen. nominee Loretta Lynch on her stance regarding gay rights.
What is the legal difference between a state — a ban on same-sex marriage being unconstitutional but a ban on polygamy being constitutional?
If this method will work for Graham’s presidential bid won’t take long to determine, however. His home state of South Carolina hosts the third primary race, and the first one in the conservative south, in Feb. 2016.