Forget hope and change. Lindsey Graham is running on doom and gloom.

01:34 - Source: CNN
Sen. Lindsey Graham's World is Full of Doom and Gloom
Washington CNN  — 

Be afraid, be very afraid.

Lindsey Graham wants to be president – and he’s not running on optimism.

“The world is exploding in terror and violence,” Graham, a South Carolina senator, warned on Monday as he launched his long-odds White House bid by laying out an apocalyptic vision in his sunny home state.

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This is not ‘Morning in America’ or a hope-and-change campaign. Instead, Graham, a Republican, sees a world where radical Islam is on the march, “rogue nations” like Iran and North Korea are bristling with threats and the security of the homeland can’t be guaranteed.

“The Mideast is on fire, and it is every person for themselves,” Graham said in April as he surveyed a region in which terrorists behead victims in cold blood and where Iran is funding a clutch of proxy wars.

In January, Graham warned of a rising terrorist threat and put the American people on notice, saying, “Major casualty events can be expected throughout the Western world, including the United States.”

At a congressional hearing in October 2013, Graham even spooked himself with answers he drew from a witness on the potential national security vulnerabilities that would be exposed by a government shutdown.

“You scare the hell out of all of us — at least, I’m scared,” he said.

Graham’s doom-laden rhetoric is in keeping with his hawkish world view and belief that the Obama administration has presided over a feckless foreign policy.

It also strikes a contrast with his personality. Graham is one of the friendliest and most media-accessible lawmakers on Capitol Hill – and is always ready with a quote or a joke.

But Graham knows that his path to credibility in the crowded GOP field is very narrow, if it exists at all, and relies on appealing to national security conservatives who pine for a tough-on-terror message.

So expect to hear more about the threats that stalk the United States as the GOP primary season looms.