Election 2016

Lindsey Graham 'Nowhere Near' a Presidential Run, Lucky for Us All

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In news that should be reassuring to sane Americans everywhere, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has poured cold water on reports of a potential run for president. Speaking on CNN's State of the Union, Graham stated that he was not prepared—at least right now—for the demands of a presidential campaign. From Politico:

"I know what it's like to run for president. I'm running for the Senate," Graham said. "I know what it takes to put an organization together, put the money together. I was with [Sen. John] McCain twice in this endeavor. I am nowhere near there. I am all-in running for the Senate." [emphasis added]

If true, this development should be celebrated by anyone who opposes perpetual war and respects the Bill of Rights.

As one of the proudest advocates of American interventionism, Graham's decade-long tenure in the Senate has included regular and repeated calls for U.S. involvement in conflicts abroad. He has claimed that ISIS is coming to kill all Americans and equated the 2003 invasion of Iraq with World War II.

But the civil liberties front is where Graham has shown his true hostility to the Constitution. Speaking in support of the National Defense Authorization Act in 2011, Graham gleefully came out in favor of allowing the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without trial. As Reason reported at the time, his exact words were, "When they say, 'I want my laywer,' you tell them, 'Shut up. You don't get a lawyer.'" (Video below.) That's a view that doesn't just conflict with the Fifth Amendment—it contradicts the basic protections of habeas corpus that have been an important part of the the Anglo-American legal tradition for centuries.

Of course, political theater has long required presidential hopefuls to deny their lofty ambitions until right before the formal launch of a campaign. Without access to his private communications, it's impossible to be sure Graham isn't secretly entertaining the possibility of a run. If only he thought Americans' communications deserved the same level of respect. Sadly, with Graham, that would be too much to hope for.