A cardinal rule in politics and governing is that one’s opponent on an issue or policy yesterday will be an ally on a different policy or pressing matter today. While we may never really forget that fact, in the heat of politics and the heightened nature of our rhetoric, we too often set aside that working wisdom. Over the past week, the back-and-forth of working alliances was again clearly demonstrated.
Pro-Ukraine think tankers on Monday brought Johnson to a private lunch in Dallas, Texas, to meet two dozen of the state’s leading conservative figures, including politicians, donors and captains of industry.
The message Johnson was there to deliver was simple: America must stay the course in Ukraine.
While I am an absolute and staunch supporter of the brave men and women of Ukraine and know Russia must be repelled from attacking a sovereign nation, my views of Johnson are, let us say, not very charitable. His lies that led to Brexit and his caddish personal lifestyle define the man. But when it comes to the international goal of defeating Russia, we all can stand shoulder to shoulder with those who share our values against military aggression.
“I just urge you all to stick with it. It will pay off massively in the long run”.
The former U.K. prime minister flew to Texas as a growing number of conservative lawmakers, candidates and activists have started to question the size of the U.S. support package for Ukraine as it attempts to fight back against the invasion launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin in February 2022.
But Johnson told Texan Republicans on Monday: “You are backing the right horse. Ukraine is going to win. They are going to defeat Putin.”
The lunch was not the first time Johnson has lobbied U.S. lawmakers on Ukraine’s behalf. He visited Washington in January, where he publicly urged the U.S. administration to give Ukraine fighter jets, and privately met Republican lawmakers on the same trip.
This weekend I read that Russia wants to arrest South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham following his comments related to the fighting in Ukraine. Following his meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy the conservative Republican described the U.S. military assistance to the country as “the best money we’ve ever spent’.
There are many examples of Graham coming unglued and acting less than polished in the years following the death of his very good friend, John McCain, but once again the cardinal rule of governing applies concerning his work in Ukraine. On the matter of steadfastness with a policy to remove Russia from a sovereign nation the words and understanding from the senator allow us to be part of a larger group for a most justified conclusion.
The ever-moving series of alliances and working relationships in politics are often overshadowed by the bluster and desire to play to the base where money is raised and votes in elections are secured. That is easy enough to understand. But the work of governing demands that personal regards be put aside for the betterment of the people or the advancement of a policy. The cardinal rule of politics must always prevail. I am deeply pleased to see it working on behalf of Ukraine.