Democrats Should Be Weary of Anti-Russia Conservative Hucksters
Embracing Republican war hawks McMain and Graham will backfire
Sen. John McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham. Alex Wong/Getty Images
Several media outlets reported former Vice President Dick Cheney’s comments at a speech he gave on March 27 that Russia’s alleged election interference could be considered an “act of war,” lending credence the former public official who manipulated the public and Congress into providing consent for the Iraq War. Several members of Congress have made similar charges, including Sen. John McCain. Others have cautioned that such rhetoric could escalate tensions to a military conflict.
McCain is one of the leading Republicans pushing for an investigation of Russia’s role in the election and driving the McCarthyist narrative on the topic. In response to a foreign policy disagreement, he claimed that one of his colleagues, Sen. Rand Paul, was “working for Vladimir Putin.” Though McCain’s rhetoric has been praised by Democratic establishment leaders and Clinton partisans, it has proven to be unreliable. In December 2016, McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham raised concerns about Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s relationship with Russia, ignoring the conflict of interest inherent in having the former CEO of Exxon Mobil serve as secretary of state. Those concerns apparently disappeared when they both voted to approve his confirmation weeks later, and McCain recently insisted that President Donald Trump provide Tillerson with a team of senior officials at the State Department.
Here lies the problem with the Trump resistance banking on conservative war hawks, such as Cheney and McMain, to help them lead the Russia election interference narrative: Conservatives will participate as long as it furthers their hawkish foreign policy views. The moment it threatens to undermine the Republican Party or their conservative ideology, they will abandon the cause in favor of partisanship.