Just when you thought Lindsey Graham had collapsed back into a complete defensive mode to protect his right flank, he has stepped out again to lead on an issue that could cost him political support across the spectrum.
This is good to see. This is the Lindsey Graham who more than earns his pay. Because a politicians who isn’t willing to risk his position to do the right thing has no business holding office at all:
GOP’s Sen. Graham works to protect foreign aidBy JAMES ROSEN – McClatchy NewspapersWASHINGTON — Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has taken on tough tasks from immigration reform to climate change, faces another one as he calls for spending billions of dollars overseas on unpopular foreign aid programs that he insists are vital to U.S. national security.
With Congress facing mandatory spending cuts and previously sacrosanct military programs on the chopping block, Graham is trying to protect funding for foreign aid even as most Americans oppose it – 71 percent in a recent poll – and other Republican leaders call for focusing U.S. resources at home.
“It is a tough sell, but you can be penny-wise and pound-foolish,” Graham, a Republican in his second term, told McClatchy Newspapers…
This is good to see.
Today, I was walking through Charleston, past 39 Rue de Jean, and mentioned to a friend that the first time I ate there, it was with Alex Sanders. Which got us onto the 2002 Senate campaign, and what a bitter pill it was to the state’s Democrats that he lost — they had placed such hope in him reviving their fortunes. But, my friend noted, Graham has done a good job since then.
Yes, he has. Especially when he does stuff like this.
There’s a slight implication — perhaps not intentional — in Rosen’s story that there’s something ironic about the hawkish Graham pushing “soft power.” But the idea that there’s some sort of dichotomy between soft and hard power is a canard pushed by people who don’t understand foreign policy. Effective foreign policy includes a good deal of both, and Graham is a guy who understands, and advocates, the full DIME.
Oh, by the way — that thing about 71 percent of Americans wanting to cut foreign aid… there’s nothing new about it. Polls always say that. They also tend to say that Americans don’t know squat about foreign aid. When you ask them how much of the budget goes to foreign aid, they tend to answer that it’s something like 25 percent. When you ask them how much should go to foreign aid, they say about 10 percent.
The true amount? About 1 percent. So basically, if Graham sought to make foreign aid 10 times as much of the budget as it is now (or 3-5 times, according to some polls), they should be happy. But watch — they won’t be.