Sen. Lindsey Graham

‘I’m Going to Call a Drone and…Kill You’ and 9 Other Insane Things Lindsey Graham Has Said

Lindsey Graham
Sen. Lindsey Graham questions Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan during her confirmation hearing. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


The field of Republican presidential contenders does not want for hawks. Marco Rubio is already talking about attacking Iran. Jeb Bush has stacked his foreign policy team with his brother’s neoconservative advisers, including Iraq war architect Paul Wolfowitz. Scott Walker wants to be “a leader that is willing to take a fight to them before they take the fight to us.” Even Rand Paul has proposed to increase defense spending. (As for the other side, Hillary Clinton has plenty of questions to answer about her support for military intervention.)

Now the flock is about to get a candidate to out-hawk all the others: South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who is expected to announce his bid for the White House on June 1. “I’m running because I think the world is falling apart; I’ve been more right than wrong on foreign policy,” he said Monday on CBS This Morning.

Graham’s foreign policy is essentially a philosophy that force can solve most problems. He pushed aggressively for the invasion of Iraq, for putting boots on the ground in Libya, and for military intervention in Syria. Graham isn’t unique for trying to peddle violence—it’s the fear he uses to market military action that makes him stand out. From his claims that Saddam Hussein was “flat-out lying” about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that “chemical weapons in Syria today means nuclear weapons in the US tomorrow,” to his assertion that ISIS “will open the gates of hell to spill out on the world,” Graham’s track record is a long, terrifying trail of hyperbole.

What’s should really frighten people is Graham’s own extremism, and his eagerness to throw the constitution out the window in the name of national security. Here are a few examples:

1. His support for the Fifth Amendment’s right to due process is selective: “If I’m President of the United States and you’re thinkin’ about joining al-Qaeda or ISIL—anybody thinkin’ about that?—I’m not going to call a judge, I’m going to call a drone, and we will kill you,” he said at the Iowa Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner fundraiser on Saturday.

2. His support for the First Amendment is selective, too. “Free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war,” he said in 2011, regarding the burning of the Quran by Tennessee pastor Terry Jones.

3. He’s not big on the Sixth Amendment, either. During a Senate debate in 2011 about indefinite detention for citizens suspected of joining Al Qaeda he said, “When they say, ‘I want my lawyer,’ you tell them: ‘Shut up. You don’t get a lawyer. You are an enemy combatant, and we are going to talk to you about why you joined Al Qaeda.’”

4. And yet he still thought the Iraq war was “an opportunity to demonstrate to the Arab world and others that the rule of law matters.”

5. He thinks Guantánamo is full of “crazy bastards that want to kill us all,” but that the secret prison itself is “well run.”

6. He opposes an assault weapons ban because “If there’s a cyber attack against the country and the power grid goes down and the dams are released and chemical plants…discharge” and there are “armed gangs roaming around neighborhoods,” then “a better self-defense weapon may be a semi-automatic AR-15 versus a double-barrel shotgun.”

7. He claimed the world was “literally about to blow up” if the United States didn’t intervene in Syria.

8. He doesn’t only want to deploy the military all over the Middle East—he might use it against Congress, too. “And here’s the first thing I would do if I were president of the United States. I wouldn’t let Congress leave town until we fix this,” he said in March, referring to cuts in the defense and intelligence budgets. “I would literally use the military to keep them in if I had to.”

9. He suggested that Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19 years old at the time and an American citizen, should not be read his Miranda rights and should be held as an enemy combatant “for intelligence gathering purposes.”

10. He has said he is “glad” the NSA has the domestic surveillance programs revealed by Edward Snowden.

Graham’s chances of securing the GOP nomination are basically nil. Still, his entrance to the race is yet one more signal that the right is not seriously considering an alternative to a neoconservative worldview any longer, and is instead betting that the easiest way to win is by scaring the pants off the American people.

~Zoë Carpenter

CBS' Face The Nation · Sen. Lindsey Graham

Sen. Lindsey Graham Demands That Barack Obama Stop Being President

CBS News Screen Cap


On CBS’s Face The Nation, Sen. Lindsey Graham demanded that President Obama stop acting like the president and save the negotiations with Iran over their nuclear program for the next person who occupies the White House in 2017.


Sen. Graham (R-SC) said:

What I would suggest is if you can’t get there with this deal is to keep the interim deal in place, allow a new president in 2017, Democrat or Republican, take a crack at the Iranian nuclear program. Obama is a flawed negotiator. His foreign policy has failed on multiple fronts.

Nobody in the region trusts him. The Iranians do not fear, respect him, so he’ll never be able to get the best deal. The best deal will come with a new president. Hillary Clinton would do better. I think everybody on our side, with the exception of Rand Paul, could do better, so that’s one way of looking at this program.

What Lindsey Graham was demanding was that President Obama stop being president. Graham’s argument about not making any big new commitments might have some merit if this was the fall of 2016, but the country is nineteen months away from the next presidential election. Sen. Graham is suggesting that the Obama presidency should end roughly halfway through the president’s second term.

It is ironic that Graham would mention Iran not respecting President Obama, when he was one of the 47 Republican senators who tried to sabotage the president by sending a letter directly to the Iranian government. The problem isn’t that Iran doesn’t respect President Obama.

The center of presidential disrespect is the Republican Party. Sen. Graham is sure to be disappointed because President Obama isn’t going to voluntarily decide to surrender his executive powers and keep the seat warm for the next president. Graham’s comments were some of the dumbest and most blatantly disrespectful remarks towards the president that one can imagine.

The bottom line is that there is about as much of a chance of Obama surrendering his presidential powers as Graham has of ever being elected president.

Beating the "Perpetual War" Drum · Sen. Lindsey Graham

Senator: ‘We All Get Killed Back Here At Home’ If Obama Doesn’t Send Combat Troops Back Into Iraq


Senate war mongers John McCain and Lindsay Graham have never met a war they didn’t like.  This article focuses on Graham…

Think Progress

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) blasted President Barack Obama’s plan to defeat ISIS during an appearance on Fox News Sunday, calling the commander-in-chief “disingenuous and delusional” and warning that Americans will be “killed here at home” unless he sends ground troops into Iraq and Syria to defeat the terrorist threat.

Comparing the estimated 30,000 ISIS fighters to the Nazis, Graham warned that “this idea we’ll never had any boots to defeat them in Syria is fantasy.” He argued that given the growth of the “radical Islamic army” and its control of territory in northern Iraq and Syria, “it’s going to take an army to beat a army.” “This is ISIL versus mankind,” he said.

“To destroy ISIL, you have to kill or capture their leaders, take back their territory, cut off the finances and destroy the capability to regenerate. This is a war we’re fights not a counter terrorism operation,” Graham continued. “This president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home.” The Unites States has approximately 1,600 soldiers in Iraq advising and assisting Iraqi Security Forces, conducting intelligence operations and surveillance and reconnaissance flights.

Graham’s comments come just hours after the terrorist group released another videopurportedly showing the beheading of British aid worker David Haines, marking the third time the organization has beheaded a western hostage.

In announcing his strategy on Wednesday, Obama promised to build a global coalition to confront the ISIS threat, step-up air strikes across ISIS strongholds, and asked Congress to authorize $500 million for the training of moderate forces in Syria. But the president ruled out sending ground forces in a combat capacity back into Iraq. “Everybody believes there has to be some ground force on the ground taking the fight to ISIL,” White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough said during an interview on Fox. “If it’s not the Syrian opposition trained by the United States, authorized by the president and the Congress, it will have to be U.S. troops. The president has made a decision on that we’re not going to do that.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham

Lindsay Graham: I Will Destroy America’s Solvency Unless The Social Security Retirement Age Is Raised

How much clearer can the GOP get with their extortion threats to American citizens?  Graham is a Senator with enough clout to back up his threat.  This is shameful…

Think Progress

Although official Washington is currently fixated on the so-called “Fiscal Cliff,” the biggest threat to American prosperity is the debt ceiling, which must be raised in February to prevent economic catastrophe. If Republicans refuse to reach a deal on the so-called cliff, the Congressional Budget Office predicts that they will spark a new recession in 2013. But if Republicans block action on the debt ceiling, they will make that potential recession look quaint. Without raising the debt ceiling, the United States will be forced to embrace austerity so severe it will lead to “a bigger GDP drop than that experienced during the Great Recession of 2008.”

But in an interview on Fox News Sunday this morning, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) threatened to oppose this must-pass bill unless Social Security benefits are taken away from millions of future retirees:

I’m not going to raise the debt ceiling unless we get serious about keeping the country from becoming Greece, saving Social Security and Medicare [sic]. So here’s what i would like: meaningful entitlement reform — not to turn Social Security into private accounts, not to take a voucher approach to Medicare — but, adjust the age for Social Security, CPI changes and means testing and look beyond the ten-year window. I cannot in good conscience raise the debt ceiling without addressing the long term debt problems of this country and I will not.

Watch it:

This is extortion, plain and simple. It is the budgetary equivalent of threatening to break America’s legs unless Congress agrees to break the backs of millions poised on the edge of retirement. Graham’s position is that seniors should have to wait longer for their retirement benefits — even if they work in physically demanding jobs that literally tear the body apart by the time a worker reaches age 65 — and that those benefits should be reduced in the future.

And if Congress won’t agree to this deal, then Graham is prepared to thrust the nation into an economic calamity unheard of since the Great Depression.

Sen. Lindsey Graham

On debt ceiling, Graham vows to ‘play that game’

Why is Senator Lindsay Graham and other knucklehead Republicans in Congress so damned myopic?

The Maddow Blog

With memories of last year’s brutal debt-ceiling crisis very much on his mind, President Obama said last week, “We can’t afford to go there again.” He added, “The only thing the debt ceiling is good as a weapon for is destroying your credit rating…. I will not play that game.”

This morning on Fox News, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) responded, “Yes, we will play that game.”

For those who can’t watch clips online, Graham’s on-air comments about the “rude awakening” awaiting the White House were pretty remarkable.

“In February or March you have to raise the debt ceiling. And I can tell you this, there is a hardening on the Republican side. We’re not going to raise the debt ceiling. We’re not going to let Obama borrow any more money or any American Congress borrow any more money until we fix this country from becoming Greece. And that requires significant entitlement reform to save Social Security and Medicare from bankruptcy. Social Security is going bankrupt in about 20, 25 years. Medicare is going bankrupt in 15 or 20 years. […]

“Yes, we will play that game, Mr. President, because it’s not a game. The game you’re playing is small ball. You’re talking about raising rates on the top 2% that would run the government for 11 days. You just got re-elected. How about doing something big that’s not liberal? How about doing something big that really is bipartisan? Every big idea he has is a liberal idea that drowns us in debt. How about manning up here, Mr. President and use your mandate to bring this country together to stop us from becoming Greece.”

It’s rare for a prominent public official to put this much nonsense into a 90-second television appearance. Graham’s comments make absolutely no sense, and his threat to hurt the nation on purpose is, for lack of a better word, nuts.

“We’re not going to let Obama borrow any more money”? Actually, as Graham should know, raising the debt ceiling is about paying the bills for spending that’s already happened.

“Social Security and Medicare” are going bankrupt? No, actually they’re not.

The United States is at risk of “becoming Greece”?  That’s just plainly stupid.

Continue reading here…

Sen. Lindsey Graham

Lindsey Graham is not going out with Ricky Martin


This is funny…but will it dispell the rumors

Salon War Room 

South Carolina’s oh-so-“reasonable” senator professes his heterosexuality, revels in White House attention

Lindsey Graham isn’t gay. Just FYI. He has said so, himself, to the New York Times:

 During a South Carolina Tea Party rally this spring, one speaker created an uproar by postulating that Graham supported a guest-worker program out of fear that the Democrats might otherwise expose his homosexuality. (Graham smirked when I brought this up. “Like maybe I’m having a clandestine affair with Ricky Martin,” he said. “I know it’s really gonna upset a lot of gay men — I’m sure hundreds of ’em are gonna be jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge — but I ain’t available. I ain’t gay. Sorry.”) 

So that’s that! Stop insinuating that the never-married 54-year-old senator is having an affair with the recording artist who pretended to be straight for years, for the sake of his career. 

 Other gems from the New York Times Magazine profile of Graham: he is obsessed with polling, all Republicans hate him for not thinking the President is a socialist Muslim, and while he seems to regret John McCain’s right-ward lurch, he is relishing the attention that comes from being The Official Reasonable Republican of the United States Senate. Do you know how many times he has been to the White House? He seems to talk to Rahm Emanuel hourly! 

 “The president has said very nice things about me off the record to other reporters,” Graham recently told me, and a senior administration official confirmed that the White House places particularly high value on Graham. 

And yet… he has not helped the White House pass any legislation. 

Lindsey Graham has never delivered GOP votes on anything. And he never will, because no one in the Republican caucus has any respect for him. He cannot even deliver the vote of his best friend, John McCain. 

He will not do anything to get immigration reform or energy legislation passed, this Congress or the next. And he actually seems to understand this! Which makes him smarter than Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel. 

The other fun thing we we learn about Lindsey Graham is that “it is widely believed by those close to him that he is incapable of manipulating a coffee machine, an oven, a toaster or a can opener.” (We don’t learn anything about how he kept lying about fighting in the Gulf War.

So, to sum up, there are three common myths about Lindsey Graham: that he’s gay, that he’s a Gulf War veteran, and that he’s a useful White House ally. None of them are true!

Sen. Lindsey Graham · Tea Party · Teabaggers

Lindsey Graham: The Tea Party Movement ‘Will Die Out’

I suspect that Sen. Lindsey Graham might be on to something here…


Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has some tough words for the Tea Party movement in a new profile in the New York Times: You have no vision, and you’ll die out.

“The problem with the Tea Party, I think it’s just unsustainable because they can never come up with a coherent vision for governing the country. It will die out,” said Graham, who has come under fire from the right for being excessively moderate and compromising with Democrats.

Graham also said he challenged a group of Tea Partiers in a meeting: “‘What do you want to do? You take back your country — and do what with it?’…Everybody went from being kind of hostile to just dead silent.”

“We don’t have a lot of Reagan-type leaders in our party. Remember Ronald Reagan Democrats? I want a Republican that can attract Democrats,” Graham also said, adding: “Ronald Reagan would have a hard time getting elected as a Republican today.”

Graham better hope the Tea Party movement dies out in time for 2014, the next time he is up for re-election. A Public Policy Polling (D) survey from May found that among South Carolina Republican primary voters, only 40% approved of Graham, with 45% disapproving. And when asked whether they would support Graham or a conservative primary challenger, 57% would go for the challenger to only 32% for Graham.

If the Tea Partiers are still around in 2014, they’ll remember these new quotes.