Wall Street Journal on June 21, 2013, published an interview with Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Excerpts below:

On the issues, Lindsey Graham is at odds with prevailing—in his preferred description, merely louder—opinion in the GOP. He is also one of his party’s leading legislators.

Mr. Graham also faces re-election next year, and something may have to give. “If I lose, I lose,” he says, invoking one of his trademark sayings: “I don’t want to stop being a senator to be senator.” But Mr. Graham, a practiced politician, says the assumptions about the GOP’s mood and future direction are wrong. He says defense and immigration are a winner for him, even with South Carolina primary voters, as well as for the Republican Party.

Like drones, he says, data-mining is one of many tools approved by the courts and Congress to protect Americans from terrorists. “When I defend it, my critics say, ‘There, you’re helping Obama.’ No, I’m defending America. I don’t want to get so partisan and so jaded when it comes to national security I can’t help the commander in chief when I know I should.”

The isolationist mood in the GOP “has to be contained and pushed back against,” he says. “You know why I’m not worried about it? Because after the Boston bombing everybody was tripping over themselves to get to the right of me. A lot of this is headline-driven.”

In the rising generation of GOP politicians, he sees in Mr. Rubio, New Hampshire Sen.Kelly Ayotte and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan successors to Ronald Reagan’s “peace through strength model” of politics.

Along with Mr. McCain, he continues to call for the U.S. to impose a no-fly zone in Syria and to move beyond President Obama’s decision last week to supply small arms to the rebels. Yet some Republicans joined with the antiwar left to oppose any involvement in Syria. Mr. Graham brushes it off.”Every major period of turmoil, there have been voices, ‘Leave those people alone.’ And they have been eventually drowned out by voices that we are America, we have to do the right thing, we have to lead.”

Looking beyond immigration, Mr. Graham sees a showdown over a congressional attack on the NSA program. “I think it’ll go down in flames, and I’m gonna try to prove to you that criticism doesn’t represent a change in Republican Party politics. It’s loud and it’ll sometimes be a threat. But in the 2016, 2014 [election cycles] . . . all of that won’t sell. And if it does sell, I’ll be a man without a party.”


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  1. Says:

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