Question: Do you believe that government is “broken?"
Lindsey Graham: You know, democracy is difficult to begin with and the fact that you can’t find quick solutions to hard problems is not necessarily a bad thing. What would be a bad thing is if the institutions failed to the point they cannot find any solution to a problem over time. Politics is like term papers. You usually get serious right before the term paper is due. That’s the downside of democracy: without friction, there is really no consensus.
Question: How would you describe your political ideology?
Lindsey Graham: I’m a conservative, but I think I’m a practical guy. Ronald Reagan was one of the great conservatives of modern times and he pursued strong national defense, he was a big believer in lower taxes... but he’s able to find a solution to social security insolvency by working with Tip O’Neill. So the Reagan model of conservatism that can move the country forward is probably where I’m at.
I like the idea that Ronald Reagan stood up to the Soviet Union without flinching, that he pursued a very business-friendly agenda in the Congress, but at the same time, he could sit down with his colleagues on the other side and, in a friendly way, move the ball forward on big issues like social security. So I wish this Congress coming in to being next January would look at what Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill did on social security is a way to maybe find a breakthrough on that topic.
Recorded December 1, 2010
Interviewed by Alicia Menendez