The good folks at the Conservative Heritage Times are reporting good news out of Greenville, where apparently Buddy Witherspoon has defeated Lindsey Graham soundly in a Republican straw poll. For those who share my view – that Graham deserves to lose this election – this is encouraging.

However some have expressed disappointment in my refusal to endorse Witherspoon. Writes Weaver:

“The Southern Avenger is standing opposed to Graham, but judging by this post he won’t be backing Witherspoon due to Witherspoon’s stance on Iraq, which is a shame. Witherspoon is right on every other issue and is no war monger. Does the war in Iraq issue then truly outweigh the combination of every other issue?”

Here is my response:

I am not voting for or endorsing Buddy Witherspoon for the U.S. Senate – who is stellar on illegal immigration – for the same reason I am not voting for Barack Obama – who at least appears stellar, in comparison to his opponents, on foreign policy.

Many conservatives (like Kyle Rogers) have made a good case for supporting Witherspoon. Many conservatives (like Andrew Bacevich and Justin Raimondo) have made a good case for supporting Obama. I find much to agree with from both perspectives.

But as I have said for at least a year now – I have two litmus tests for ANY candidate – they must be right on foreign policy and illegal immigration. In terms of America’s safety, economy, demography, health, identity and future – no other two issues even come close.

We can raise or lower taxes, ban or allow abortion, let gays marry or not, yap about global warming and even have disagreements over more serious issues like NAFTA and CAFTA – but all of this pales in comparison to the irreparable damage being done by our interventionist foreign policy and our complete lack of borders.

Being wrong on either issue means being complicit in causing problems that may very well haunt the United States for decades, and then some.

I have interviewed Witherspoon, consider him leaps and bounds better than Lindsey Graham, and was prepared to write a full commentary endorsing him to be aired both on WTMA the day of the primary election and to run as a column in the Charleston City Paper the week before June 10. I was even looking forward to it. No one finds Lindsey Graham more disgusting than I do. Here’s a reminder:

Then I read this on Witherspoon’s website:

“We have achieved some success in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and I am not willing to set a deadline for withdrawal and I will not cut and run.”

Who wrote this? Bill Kristol? Sean Hannity? John McCain?

As someone who well understands the professional hazards of being antiwar and working in the heavily military state of South Carolina, I can understand any Republican’s reluctance to take a full blown Pat Buchanan/Ron Paul hard-line stance on foreign policy, and even if Witherspoon had remained more muted or silent on the subject, I might have considered endorsing him.

But to blatantly use the language of the neocons, in support of what almost everyone on the paleoconservative, traditionalist, and libertarian Right agrees is a complete disaster is not only illogical – but extremely counterproductive.

The genuine conservative’s response to “cut and run!” might be “stay and wither?” but while I don’t expect everyone on the Right to be Ron Paul – I do expect them to not help make the neoconservatives’ argument for them.

I hope Witherspoon does well on June 10, primarily because Graham doesn’t deserve to win. I have even been sarcastically encouraging “illegal aliens to sign up and vote for their boy Lindsey on June 10” on the radio, to drive home exactly how I feel about Graham.

But I cannot, in good conscience, sign off on any candidate who still doesn’t seem to ‘get it’ on one of the two most crucial issues in the contemporary United States.