By the time this OpEd goes to print, South Carolina’s Senator Lindsey Graham will likely have joined the field of announced Republican candidates for President. Sen. Graham is known for his favoring military solutions to many problems, certainly more than President Obama and probably more than President Bush. Following up on last week’s column, here are some specific questions I hope are asked of Sen. Graham:
- (This will sound familiar.) Given what we know now, if you had been in President Bush’s shoes would you have gone to war against Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq?
- Suppose the current negotiations with Iran regarding limiting and inspecting their nuclear facilities results in a multilateral treaty approved by the Obama administration and by a majority of Congress – but yours was one of the votes against approval. If you were then to be elected President, would you feel obligated to accept that treaty?
- Many of the prisoners still held at Guantanamo Bay have been found innocent of any war crimes and found not to be terrorists. What would you do with those still held at Guantanamo Bay who have been determined not to be terrorists?
- Would you support waterboarding as an interrogation technique? Would you allow evidence gathered from waterboarding to be used in a military tribunal or perhaps in a civilian court proceeding?
- You and another announced candidate, Kentucky’s Sen. Rand Paul, have publically differed on several security issues. One of these is the proper role of the National Security Agency in a democracy. Do you think the NSA should be able to eavesdrop on American citizens within the United States without a warrant? If you were President, what degree of oversight would you desire Congress to have over activities of the NSA? Finally, who should decide – Congress, the President, the courts, or the NSA itself – how much the public should know about NSA operations?
On the domestic front, there are also several issues in which both President Bush and Senator Graham were involved, and I would also ask about these:
- Your position supporting a “path to citizenship” for most undocumented workers in the United States has evolved since you supported President Bush on that issue. What was your position then, and how has it changed since?
- You have been against expanding Medicaid coverage as part of the Affordable Care Act. Do you also consider the 2003 expansion of Medicare’s prescription drug benefit undertaken by the Bush Administration to be a mistake? Would you work to overturn Obamacare and/or the Bush prescription drug benefit expansion, and if so what would you propose in their stead?
- What was your position regarding the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) initiated by President Bush that ended up bailing out banks during both the Bush and Obama administrations? Knowing what we know now, would you support such a program again under similar circumstances?
We in South Carolina will have a major say in who ends up as the Republican nominee for President in 2016. Here’s hoping that we find out answers to questions such as these, not only from our own Senator but from all the candidates.