22 December 2015

Notes from Norm: Lindsey Graham: Gift to America

All I wanted for Hanukkah was Lindsey Graham to be the GOP candidate for President in 2016.

Now, all I want for Christmas is for the GOP candidate for President in 2016 to listen to Lindsey Graham and his vision for protecting America’s future.

Smart, sharp tongued and down to Earth, Lindsey Graham now leaves the GOP field with 12 candidates vying to be the GOP’s nominee for President.

Each of them has their own strengths and weaknesses, their own vision and plan for the future of America and their own passion for America.

But none of them are Lindsey Graham.

In his remarks announcing his departure from the race Lindsey had this to say, “I'm going to suspend my campaign. I'm not going to suspend my desire to help the country.”

For that all of us, regardless of our political affiliation or ideology, should be grateful.

In the bio published on his campaign website we learn that Lindsey’s American life is one that has been lived by millions of Americans for generations.

“Raised in Central, South Carolina where he lived with his family in a single room behind the liquor store, restaurant and pool hall owned by his parents, Lindsey Graham began his climb toward the American Dream. The first in his family to attend college, Lindsey lost his mother and father within two years of one another. While still in school, he took on the responsibility of helping raise his 13 year old sister, Darline, and running the family businesses. He eventually legally adopted Darline.”

He joined the Air Force and spent 33 years serving America.  He was elected in the U.S. House in 1992.

Lindsey and I both joined the Senate in 2002.  

The Jewish kid from Brooklyn who was now a Minnesota United States Senator and the South Carolina kid from a town called Central in South Carolina immediately bonded.

We shared a great passion for working across the aisle to find solutions to the challenges facing America.  

I found Lindsey open to ideas from those inside of his party as well as outside of it  He wasn’t afraid to mix it up, or to take a stand.

In November 2003 I joined Lindsey and others for a 30 hour “Justice for Judge’s debate to draw attention to Democrats blatant partisan decision to block judicial nominees by perverting the filibuster rules of the Senate.

Lindsey, along with Senator John McCain, have long been reasonable and intelligent voices for addressing the great challenges facing our nation – including pushing for comprehensive immigration reform, calling for greater fiscal restraint and strengthening our nation at home and abroad.

When Lindsey said he was going to run for President I didn’t hesitate to commit to supporting his efforts in the best way I felt I could by bringing others together to help amplify his message about how to best protect America against threats we’ve never seen before in our history.

Long before he decided to run for President Lindsey was calling out President Obama and others, like Hillary Clinton, for pursuing policies that were both naïve and dangerous.

The decision by President Obama to withdraw American forces from Iraq, his failure to have a comprehensive plan to protect America and our allies from the growing scourge of terrorism to the dangerous agreement shoved through by the President and Democrats with Iran, Lindsey Graham has fought the good fight to protect America.

It’s been Lindsey Graham pushing on the campaign trail about America’s need to fight ISIS and al Qaeda “over there” rather than “over here” that has forced candidates from both parties to understand that the single most important issue facing America is national security.

Lindsey’s the person saying the things that no other candidate has been willing to acknowledge – yet.

That in order to defeat ISIS and destroy terrorist leader’s ability to finance, plan, order and execute acts of terror against America and our allies we need to empower American forces to bring the fight to them before they bring it to us.

Not alone.

Ninety percent of the troops from Arab nations in the Region – ten percent American forces – but, yes, boots on the ground in Syria, in Iraq, and in Afghanistan. We fight them there and take away their safe havens to plan attacks on our soil- or we fight them here.

President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and other leaders of the Democratic Party can no longer blame this reality on George Bush.

The gains made under George Bush were lost under Barack Obama.

It was the decision by this President, Hillary Clinton and those who advocated and stood for their policies that allowed ISIS to emerge powerfully in Syria, to allow their success in Iraq and has now seen a resurgence of terror networks in Afghanistan.

What matters now, however, is what will be done to regain the upper hand in the battle against our enemies.

Democrat or Republican, the next American President will need Lindsey Graham in his or her corner.  They will need his voice.  His wisdom.  And, most of all, his willingness to say the things that must be said if we are to confront, and conquer, our enemies that seek to destroy us.

In 2016 Lindsey Graham will not be running for President of the United States.

But, as a promise to whoever the next President of the United States will be – Democrat or Republican – he’s committed to being there to “…help you win a war we can't afford to lose.”

And, that’s a gift I am happy to receive in the New Year.