Mark Steyn: McCain, Graham ‘mercurial figures,’ ‘not helpful to the Republican Party cause’

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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On his Thursday radio show, conservative talker Hugh Hewitt discussed both South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham’s dismissive reaction to Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s Wednesday filibuster with National Review columnist Mark Steyn.

Graham had noted that there wasn’t much opposition to the use of drones when President George W. Bush was in power and using them overseas. But Steyn explained that he had been uncomfortable not only with the use of drones domestically — as Paul was objecting to — but also to their use in war zones, which he said weren’t in the United States’ best interest.

“I’d like to speak to that, because I’m not, you said the people who are at ease with the use of drones in Waziristan and Yemen, and not at home,” Steyn said. “I’m not actually all that comfortable about the expansion of their use overseas. I think in a psychological sense, it fits into al Qaida and the broader Muslims’ worldview of the West, which is that we are technologically advanced, but that we are deficient in a kind of moral fiber and that the sort of antiseptic drone strike that hovers above your Waziristani village, and then takes out the bad guy — but also takes out 27 members of the wedding party across the street, that somehow that actually — I’m not persuaded that that is, that the reliance on drones is in the long term strategic interest of the United States.”

Steyn, author of author of “After America: Get Ready for Armageddon,” went on to explain how at the time he had been opposed to other elements of the then-U.S. policy reaction to the September 11, 2001 terrorists attacks and pointed to problems with Republican Sens. Graham and John McCain attacks on Paul in the wake of the filibuster as being bad for the GOP and at times inconsistent.

“I’ve been, again to address the hypocrisy thing, I’ve been consistent on this,” he said. “I was opposed to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, I don’t think the bureaucratization of the national security state was a good thing, and I was opposed to the [Transportation] Security Administration. You can go back and look at what I was writing in the fall of 2001 and 2002, and I’m completely consistent on that. And I think there is a legitimate concern about the para-militarization of domestic law enforcement, that you don’t have to be some wacky libertarian who believes in no government whatsoever to have concerns about … there should be, the idea, and this is, I think again, where Lindsey Graham and John McCain are not helpful to the Republican Party cause, because the sort of blank-check national security approval that they want to give for this, I think, is actually repugnant to a large number of people.

“It also doesn’t seem to square with John McCain’s solicitude, for example, towards those held at Guantanamo, and those subjected to waterboarding. And I certainly think that the care he demonstrates for the handful of people, foreign nationals who have been waterboarded, ought to at least extend to his compatriots as well.”

And despite the objections of McCain and Graham, Steyn praised Paul for his “effective” use of new media for the betterment of the Republican cause.

“I think you’re absolutely right on that. You know, John McCain and Lindsey Graham are mercurial figures,” he added. “But on this side, you know, Rand Paul demonstrated how to be effective, how to use the new media, and how to do yourself and the party a lot of good.”

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