By W. Thomas Smith Jr.
Bill Connor – a S.C.-based attorney, U.S. Army (Res.) combat infantry officer, and former candidate for S.C. Lieutenant Governor (who shocked all comers, battling his way through to the end of the runoff election in the 2010 Republican primary) – is again back in the proverbial trenches.
This time, however, Connor is not fighting the Taliban, nor is he squaring off with the likes of now-fallen-from-grace Lt. Gov. Ken Ard (the politically short-lived victor). This time, Connor has chosen battleground in the national arena. This time, he’s challenging the powerful U.S. Senate seat of Lindsey Graham.
Why – in an era of name-calling, truth-twisting, and obscene, online reputation-bashing – would a distinguished warfighter with a stellar military record, who was a virtual political unknown with few resources three years ago, take on Graham’s money, name recognition, and Beltway establishment? Because Connor is a warfighter.
“This is as much about – perhaps more – a calling than a campaign,” says Connor. “My wife Susan and I spent untold hours in prayer about whether or not we were to do this. In the end, it wasn’t about me or us, or the office. The struggles and sacrifices with any campaign in the modern era – particularly one in which so much is at stake – is almost not worth any personal reward on the backend. Victory lies in the faith required to take the next step to further the causes of what we believe is right.”
According to Connor, there is a “very real problem” with the present culture of appeasement on Capitol Hill. “I’m going to take Graham on, on a strong point that so far no one else has,” Connor said in a recent interview. “Why did you [Graham] go with John McCain to Cairo and try to bring the Muslim Brotherhood – one of our greatest enemies, a den of vipers – back into Egypt after the Egyptian military just saved us from that kind of thing. Why’d you do that? Why would you support Al Qaeda-backed type groups in Syria? Why would you do these things that just make no sense for our own national interest?”
Connor adds, “As a senator, most of what you do is foreign affairs and national defense. And he [Graham] seems to get a lot of credit for being some kind of expert, but he’s really not.”
Last year, Connor was interviewed for a BBC television documentary about Prince Harry’s wartime service in the British Army, which – for a short stint – led Harry to a remote British outpost in Helmand Province, where Connor was then (in 2007) the senior U.S. military advisor. It was in Helmand where the young British cornet (second lieutenant) and third-in-line to the throne met Connor who recalls visiting the outpost on Christmas Eve.
“That was a British outpost with a company of Gurkhas,” says Connor, “Harry was there serving as forward air controller [calling and directing close-air and artillery support for friendly ground forces in the region].”
The subsequent documentary, Prince Harry Frontline, which aired on British television, featured multiple excerpts from the interview with Connor. [see here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lF2nPIPQCw and here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igzlurwrraw]
A Citadel graduate and Airborne Ranger who today serves as director of the Army’s Command and General Staff College (ILE) in S.C.; Connor is a former national security advisor for presidential candidate Rick Santorum, the former GOP chairman for S.C.’s sixth district, and a member of the U.S. Counterterrorism Advisory Team. Last year, he jointly established National Defense Consultants, LLC, a partnership providing clients with military analysis ranging from geostrategy to special operations; counterterrorism; ground, Naval, and air combat; military leadership and military law.
Connor’s latest effort – though daunting in terms of campaigning with limited resources, managing his Orangeburg, S.C. law practice, serving in the Army Reserve, spending time with wife Susan, and attending Scouting activities, ballgames and fieldtrips with his children – is a necessity he argues. “Somebody’s got to do it. True conservatives must reclaim the GOP if we are to have any hope of saving our country from those who would seek to undermine everything the founders intended.”
– Visit W. Thomas Smith Jr. at uswriter.com.