The Corner

The Shallowest Senator

Lindsey Graham is quickly winning for himself the reputation of shallowest senator. Saying that his colleagues should “shut up” about Libya undermines the very purpose of a loyal opposition. It is the duty of the party in the minority to raise legitimate questions about war strategy. A consensus wrought from democratic debate will only strengthen the political support for our military placed in harm’s way abroad.

Graham could be taken seriously if he were consistent, but he is pairing his shallowness with a desire to be popular with the media. Graham was only too happy to attack the executive branch’s running of the war on terror when the president happened to be named George W. Bush. Graham fostered military officers to openly testify against the Bush administration’s policies on the Geneva Convention, Gitmo, and military commissions — undermining civilian control of the military by the commander-in-chief. Now that the media wants to find Republicans supportive of their favorite Democratic president, Graham is eager to step up with freshly discovered pro-executive views on war powers. 

— John Yoo is a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley and author of Crisis and Command: A History of Executive Power from George Washington to George W. Bush. He has more on Graham here

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