War Hero Considers a Run for Sen. Graham’s Seat: Exclusive Interview with Lt. Colonel Bill Connor

This week I contacted Lt. Colonel Bill Connor to ask him a few questions about a potential run against Sen. Lindsey Graham. Currently Lt. Colonel Connor is on active duty and cannot campaign due to military restrictions. Connor is a well-known and respected Constitutional Conservative in South Carolina and won the Bronze Star for his efforts in Afghanistan.

Joshua Cook: There are rumors that you are considering a run for the U.S. Senate seat to replace two-time incumbent Lindsey Graham. Tell me where you are at on that decision.

Connor: I am strongly considering a run for Sen. Graham’s seat.  I do not believe that Graham has provided the “consistent” conservative leadership expected by South Carolinians (particularly conservatives).  He is “hit or miss” on the issues.  I appreciate his strong stance on national defense and issues like Benghazi.  I am disappointed with his record on the TARP bailout, immigration, spending/taxing (internet sales tax, etc.), foreign aid and importantly his decision to vote to nominate Sotomayor and Kagan for the Supreme Court.  That vote for those two radical justices is inexcusable.  That is a reason the SCOTUS struck down DOMA, and we may see an end to traditional marriage as we all know it.

Cook: When you ran for S.C. Lieutenant Governor, you said that you were “The Ultimate Outsider.” What did you mean by that?

Connor: When I ran for Lt. Governor, I was a 41-year-old military guy just back from war who had never run for office.  I have never worked in the political world as a consultant (Nancy Mace with Fitsnews) or elected official (Lee Bright).  I have never had a family member run for office, and I don’t have political connections.  I discovered my situation of running as a Tea Party candidate without any political background/connections made me the ultimate outsider.  I lost the race for Lt. Governor in the runoff, so I can no longer say I’ve never run for office.  However, I believe I remain an outsider.  A conservative who just wants to defend the Constitution in a different manner from the way I defended it as an infantry officer in Afghanistan, Kuwait, Egypt (Sinai), etc.

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Cook: Why did you feel called to volunteer for the 218th infantry brigade that was called into combat to Afghanistan? You were not in the 218th but you decided to volunteer anyway.

Connor: I was not in the 218th Infantry when they were alerted to deploy to Afghanistan.  I volunteered because I felt the call to defend our great nation and my family.  I had been trained as an Airborne Ranger, had commander Light Infantry and Ranger Tng units and had almost 2 decades of experience in the Army combat arms.  I believed in the mission, as we were attacked on 9/11 from what was planned and supported by Bin Laden and Al Qaeda from Afghanistan (and the Taliban would not give up Bin Laden to justice).  I love our Constitution and would give my life for that document.  I feel the same passion to fight for it back home.

Cook: Why do you think there is so much excitement to replace Lindsey Graham not only in SC but throughout the U.S.?

Connor: Sen. Graham has ceased to be a South Carolina conservative leader and sought the public spotlight as a national figure.  In doing so, he is praised by the liberal media for “reaching across the aisle.”  He spends his time around John McCain attempting to garner that “aura” of the national spotlight.  Therefore, Graham has generated support among moderates nationally and the ire of conservatives, particularly in S.C.

Cook: One of the big issues in the U.S. is immigration. The Chamber of Commerce-types want cheap labor, democrats want new voters, but the majority of Americans want secure borders. How can we expect that passing new laws will help when we don’t follow the laws we currently have on the books? What is the answer to our immigration problems?

Connor: In the 1950s, General Eisenhower (after the Presidency, he asked to be referred to as General and not President) did the right thing by enforcing our laws.  It may have seemed hard, but he rounded up those who broke the laws and deported them.  We now have a situation in which Sen. Graham and many others have been very weak on the enforcement of our laws and allowed us to come to this point.  Now, they argue we cannot enforce the law and seek ways to reward lawbreakers.  I take a tough approach to this issue.  Before any discussions, we must secure our border properly.  Graham is against that being the top priority.  He patronizes conservatives by claiming that the new political reality (created by his negligence) forces the GOP to back off of the tough line on immigration.  Bottom line:  We cease to be a nation if we cannot control the borders.  We have people from throughout the world following our laws and watching the laws being selectively enforced due to pressure from interest groups.  We need to secure the border and enforce the laws.  Period.

Cook: Should the 2nd Amendment be limited? What are your thoughts on the recent attempt to ban “assault” rifles (M-4, AR-15 variants) and weaken the 2nd Amendment?

Connor: Having had to defend my life with my personal weapons (including 9mm pistol) in war at close range with those seeking to kill me, I will NEVER back down on the 2nd Amendment rights.  All this seems theoretical, until one needs a weapon for self defense.  Someone may only need it once in their life, but that one time determines if they live or die.  Our founders and the Constitution is 100% clear about this right.  It cannot be taken.  That includes so-called “assault” rifles, which are no different beyond cosmetics.

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Cook: Sen. Lindsey Graham and John McCain have criticized Senators like Mike Lee, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. McCain even referred to them as “Wacko Birds” and then later apologized. How do you view them? Are they doing a good job?

Connor: I believe John McCain and Graham need to go back home, get real jobs and be forced to understand they are no longer conservatives.  Mike, Rand and Ted are the true conservatives to most conservatives in America.  McCain calling them “Wacko Birds” is ironic.  McCain’s various statements and decisions, while maintaining the GOP/conservative label (his label), is pretty wacky.  Those conservatives are doing an excellent job and exactly what conservatives want.  McCain and Graham seem to be doing what the liberal media want done.

Cook: One of the biggest issues for business owners is Obamacare. What is the best way to defeat Obamacare?

Connor: Obamacare should be defunded and repealed at the earliest opportunity.  The defunding seems to be taking place, but I suspect Graham will support Obamacare (claiming that “elections have consequences,” and that’s what he must do).  This is a huge reason I want conservative leadership in Graham’s seat.

Cook: Rep. Jeff Duncan recently noted that oil production is booming in North Dakota because the drilling is on state-owned or private land. He spoke of the potential benefits to South Carolina by opening up drilling opportunities 70 miles from our coastline.  The drilling rigs would not be seen from the beaches and coastal communities, and 37% of the revenue generated from such drilling would come back into the South Carolina economy.  The federal government controls the permitting of offshore drilling. Obama ended offshore drilling within 125 miles of our coast.  Rep. Duncan has introduced legislation to allow oil, exploration and drilling off the South Carolina coast. Is this something you can support? Are regulations killing creativity and our economy? What is the solution?

Connor: I support Jeff Duncan and believe he is going in the right direction.  We should allow oil exploration in S.C. and anywhere else we can begin domestic production.  Regulations are killing us, and in a bad economy, the first priority must be the economy and jobs.  Not Obama’s plans to fight “global warming” as the top priority.

Cook:  What is the best strategy to promote peace in the Middle East, instead of arming the Muslim Brotherhood? We want more peace, but what is the best way to do it? Should we be involved in helping the rebels in Syria? Where is Lindsey Graham going wrong?

Connor: We should never have supported the Muslim Brotherhood.  It is against our national interest, and they are clearly attempting to use the ballot box to end the Constitution and Democratic systems.  They are openly for the oppression of Christians and other non-Muslims and seek to build a Caliphate that can eventually attempt to conquer the West for Sharia law.  I understand all this, having served in the Middle East a number of times (something neither Graham, McCain nor the other candidates have done).  We should not be funding and supporting Islamist groups as we did with Libya, and we should not be funding/supporting Islamist groups in Syria.  American interest should be the number one factor in foreign policy not attempting to remake other countries and not supporting governments opposed to our interests like we have done in Egypt.

Cook:   You have stated that our rights come from God and not from the government. You said that in the Bill of Rights – the “pursuit of happiness” meant economic freedom and property rights, and that they come from God and not from government. You also note that we must stay true to our founding values of a constitutional republic that our founders gave us. How do we destroy the chains of socialism that are suffocating America and get back to a Constitutional Republic that you embrace so much?

Connor: We must fight to regain our Constitutional Republic and that will not happen with men like Sen. Graham.  We are at a crisis, and we must have leaders in D.C. willing to forgo the acclaim of the mainstream media and be willing to be lampooned if necessary.  Men like Graham have allowed the desire for national acclaim to overshadow their duty as conservatives.  We must fight the democrats’ agenda to remake America.  We must fight it with every fiber of our being.  We are “one nation under God,” and only have secure rights if America collectively acknowledges we believe rights come from God and not government.  General Eisenhower understood this necessity and inserted “Under God” in the pledge and changed our national motto to “In God we Trust.”  The media is generally liberal and will call such rhetoric “right wing.”  However, it is what made America the nation we have become.


To find out more, please visit his website: www.billconnoronline.com.