Lindsey Graham

Lindsey Graham for President Makes Nine on the GOP Side

Another anti-Rand Paul candidate who claims affinity for libertarian ideas.


Glenn Fawcett/DOD

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) became the ninth Republican to jump into the 2016 presidential campaign. Above all, Graham wants to be the "tough on terror" candidate. As The State reports:

"Those who believe we can disengage from the world at large and stay safe by leading from behind, vote for someone else. I'm not your man," Graham told a crowd of about 300 people on Central's Main Street in front of the building where Graham grew up. "Those who believe the best way to defend ourselves is to lead the world, to make history rather than be overwhelmed by it, I ask for your support."

Graham gave his speech in front of the liquor store, pool hall and bar his parents ran until they died, 15 months apart. Their deaths left Graham, then a student at the University of South Carolina, as the father figure to his younger sister.

The setting tied in to Graham's messaging on domestic issues, where he wants potential voters to know he can work with Democrats to get government to fix problems. Via The State:

But, Graham said Monday, "There are a lot of so-called self-made people in this world. I am not one of them. My family, my friends, neighbors and my faith picked me up when I was down, believed in me when I had doubts.

"I'm a man with many debts to my family, my friends, to you, to South Carolina, to the country. I'm running for president to repay those debts."

Graham said he would work with lawmakers to find consensus on issues that "we so desperately need."

To Democrats, he said, "Our differences are real, and we'll debate them. But you're not my enemy. You're my fellow countrymen."

The enemy, of course, are people who even think about joining ISIS. He'd like to kill them on the spot, even if they are his "countrymen" (maybe he'd disagree that they are.)

Graham has been signaling a run for president for some months now—pre-announcing a couple of weeks ago—and has been positioning himself as the anti-Rand Paul candidate, though by far he's not the only one.  He may be the most formidable, so while Paul seemed briefly to be flirting with lurching right-ward toward Graham on foreign policy, has re-established himself this weekend as the Rand Paul (libertarianish) candidate in the race. Incidentally, Graham, like a lot of other boiler-plate Republicans, also claims allegiance to "libertarian ideas," dismissing differences with a school of thought that rejects extrajudicial killings as merely "tactical."