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Itís starting to look like it's over for Dick Lugar
Salon ^ | 05/02/2012 | BY STEVE KORNACKI

Posted on 05/02/2012 12:35:06 PM PDT by SeekAndFind

It sure doesn’t look like Richard Lugar is long for the political world. The news that the major super PAC supporting his candidacy is bailing on him a week before the Republican primary reinforces a growing consensus that the six-term Indiana senator will likely be defeated next Tuesday by his conservative challenger, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock.

Under one scenario, this could be a fortuitous development for Democrats, since Lugar, with his broad popularity outside the Republican Party, would probably defeat the Democratic candidate, Rep. Joe Donnelly, with ease. By contrast, Democrats are hopeful they could exploit Mourdock’s Tea Party politics to turn the state’s swing voters against him – as happened with several high-profile Tea Party-backed candidates in 2010.

That said, Mourdock – unlike, say, Christine O’Donnell or Joe Miller — is an established statewide politician whose public behavior doesn’t easily conform to the image of a kook. And Indiana, even though it narrowly backed Barack Obama in 2008, is a traditionally Republican state that’s expected to land in the Romney column this fall. So there’s a good chance Mourdock will land in the Senate if he prevails next week.

The real significance of a Lugar loss, though, would extend far beyond November. The fact that he’s now fighting for his political life in a GOP primary is a reflection of the endurance of the Tea Party phenomenon. The term itself may feel tired and even dated, a relic from 2009 or 2010, but it’s really just a colorful synonym for “Republican Party base.” And as Lugar’s perilous standing shows, that base is waging the same kind of purity crusade in 2012 that it did in 2010.

The difference is that there are fewer targets this time around, which makes sense: Dozens of Tea Party-aligned Republicans won House seats in ’10, moving the center of gravity in that chamber about as far to the right as it’s ever been. But the bigger success the Tea Party had in ’10 was that it got into the head of every Republican on Capitol Hill. Watching Republican incumbents like Bob Inglis, Bob Bennett and Mike Castle lose out to little-known – and, in some cases, glaringly unqualified – Tea Party-backed challengers, delivered a clear message to Republican lawmakers: If you stray from our absolutist, compromise-phobic stance even once, you’ll be next.

This is why Republicans in the House have charted such a politically suicidal course since winning back the chamber. Traditionally pragmatic conservatives – including Speaker John Boehner – deferred to the purists for fear of being branded sellouts. The situation wasn’t quite as severe in the Senate (especially with Democrats still holding a majority), but individual Republicans there got the message. Olympia Snowe, before walking away in frustration a few months ago, became a far more reliable vote for conservatives in the Obama era. Orrin Hatch ditched his flair for compromise and became a relentlessly harsh Obama critic; it was just enough to save him (so far) from suffering a humiliating defeat at the GOP’s Utah state convention, as Bennett did two years ago.

There’s been less primary season Tea Party activity this year because there’s been less need for it. Lugar is a bit of an exception. Like most of the Tea Party’s previous targets, “moderate” really isn’t the best word to describe his Senate voting record. He’s a conservative and a generally reliable Republican vote, but he does have an independent streak. And to today’s conservative activists, who demand complete, unyielding ideological purity, that’s not enough. So they decided to make an example of Lugar, and they’re well on their way to succeeding.

The real implications of a Lugar loss next week will be psychological: How will watching yet another prominent Republican with a solidly conservative record lose in a primary affect the mindset of average Republican member of Congress? Chances are, it will make him or her even more resistant to taking any action, big or small, that might possibly be construed as ideologically disloyal.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Indiana
KEYWORDS: dicklugar; lugar

1 posted on 05/02/2012 12:35:07 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind
Speaker John Boehner – deferred to the purists for fear of being branded sellouts.

What world is the writer living in?

/johnny

2 posted on 05/02/2012 12:38:23 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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“You’d better vote for our lib-dem, he’s the only one that can beat their lib-dem.”


3 posted on 05/02/2012 12:40:51 PM PDT by Hayride
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To: SeekAndFind
Does anybody know if under Indiana election law, if we manage to take out Lugar next week, he can not just pull a “Murkowski” and run independent write-in?
4 posted on 05/02/2012 12:43:44 PM PDT by apillar
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To: JRandomFreeper
Dozens of Tea Party-aligned Republicans won House seats in ’10, moving the center of gravity in that chamber about as far to the right as it’s ever been...

Wrong BIG time... Tea Partiers are driving congress to the CENTER. The center, as in, back to this countries roots, re-instating the Constitution, the center thinking of the founders like Jefferson, Adams, Washington, Madison... In other words, in keeping with the Revolution in 1776-1782.

And, away from the current counter-revolutionary course of socialism and marxism as occurred in Russia and China.

5 posted on 05/02/2012 12:48:26 PM PDT by C210N (Wanted: Tagline)
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To: SeekAndFind

>> Traditionally pragmatic conservatives – including Speaker John Boehner – deferred to the purists for fear of being branded sellouts

He DID??!? When? I must’ve been in a coma. But I don’t remember being in a coma.


6 posted on 05/02/2012 12:48:50 PM PDT by Nervous Tick (Trust in God, but row away from the rocks!)
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To: apillar
IIRC, someone earlier posted that they have a “sore loser” law.
7 posted on 05/02/2012 12:49:37 PM PDT by gov_bean_ counter (Sarah Palin: More miles per sound bite than the closest competitor...)
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To: Hayride

It’s about time Lugar goes to retirement too.

He’s been in Senate nearly 36 years. He is 80 years old this year. And here’s the kicker — he has not lived in Indiana for years!! (For all intents and purposed, he’s a Virginian ).

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks anymore.


8 posted on 05/02/2012 12:55:30 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: gov_bean_ counter

It’s about time Lugar goes to retirement too.

He’s been in Senate nearly 36 years. He is 80 years old this year. And here’s the kicker — he has not lived in Indiana for years!! (For all intents and purposed, he’s a Virginian ).

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks anymore.


9 posted on 05/02/2012 12:56:16 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Only a writer for Salon could call Dick Lugar a conservative.


10 posted on 05/02/2012 1:00:30 PM PDT by conservativebuckeye
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To: SeekAndFind

RE: How will watching yet another prominent Republican with a solidly conservative record lose in a primary affect the mindset of average Republican member of Congress?

Conservative eh?

How do you call the following conservative?

* Supported TARP

* Repeatedly co-sponsored the DREAM Act.

* In 2006 he voted in favor of an immigration reform package to grant amnesty to large groups of people here illegally, and he recently voted in support of sanctuary city policies.

* Expressed support for carbon capping schemes and expressed not only a willingness but a desire to force the US to abide by international carbon reduction committments.

* Called for the US to create a Western Hemisphere Energy Industry Group to enforce a carbon trading system, and to work within the UN framework to enforce climate standards on developing nations.

* A very strong supporter of ethanol subsidies and clean energy funding programs

* Unveiled his plan to 4% increase every year in the vehicle CAFE standards coupled with requirements for energy producers to use more and more alternative energy means to generate electricity.


11 posted on 05/02/2012 1:01:12 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: Nervous Tick

But I don’t remember being in a coma.

One usually doesn’t;-)


12 posted on 05/02/2012 1:01:12 PM PDT by Bitsy
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To: SeekAndFind
Agree 100%. I think there was a time when I sorta respected him. Long gone now.
13 posted on 05/02/2012 1:02:15 PM PDT by gov_bean_ counter (Sarah Palin: More miles per sound bite than the closest competitor...)
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To: apillar

He can not run as an independent. Not sure about write in, but seriously doubt it. We have relatively sane election laws here in Indiana, like photo ID to vote.


14 posted on 05/02/2012 1:04:10 PM PDT by LesbianThespianGymnasticMidget (God punishes Conservatives by making them argue with fools.)
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To: JRandomFreeper
Salon writers like this buffoon live in a hermetically sealed bell jar. They are not of this world.
15 posted on 05/02/2012 1:05:13 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: SeekAndFind

Praying that turncoat Richard Lugar goes down next week. Any decent American that worships the Obama ilk deserves to flushed politically into the cesspool of Obama hate and class division. ABO!!!


16 posted on 05/02/2012 1:08:10 PM PDT by JLAGRAYFOX (My only objective is defeat and destroy Obama & his Democrat Party, politically!!!)
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To: hinckley buzzard
live in a hermetically sealed bell jar

Well, for goodness sake, start the vaccuum pump and put him out of our misery.

/johnny

17 posted on 05/02/2012 1:13:10 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: SeekAndFind

The writer equates TEA party with kooks. Another left wing hack.


18 posted on 05/02/2012 1:23:48 PM PDT by PhiloBedo (You gotta roll with the punches and get with what's real.)
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To: SeekAndFind
. . . the major super PAC supporting his candidacy is bailing on him a week before the Republican primary . . .

LOL! They are bailing on a lame horse.

I find Lugar to be the most annoying GOP senator second only to Juan McLame.

I can cut the weak sisters from Maine a little more slack considering their constituency.

Maybe Lugar can get together with Arlen Specter and write a book or something . . .

19 posted on 05/02/2012 1:25:53 PM PDT by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: SeekAndFind

Lugar is scum. Although I honor him for his early decades of service, he has drifted far left — and what “tore it” for me was his repeated, pointed refusals to say that he would back Mourdock if Mourdock wins the primary. THAT TEARS IT. (In contrast, Mourdock said Yes, he’d support Lugar if Lugar wins.)


20 posted on 05/02/2012 1:27:55 PM PDT by pogo101
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To: JLAGRAYFOX

Lugar is gone...you can take that to the bank. I want to hit the daily double...take out Lugar AND Hatch


21 posted on 05/02/2012 1:31:53 PM PDT by ken5050 (FRACK Obama!!!)
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To: SeekAndFind; All

anyone know if Lugar has pledged to support whoever wins the primary, or could he be contemplating a “Murkowski?”


22 posted on 05/02/2012 1:33:19 PM PDT by ken5050 (FRACK Obama!!!)
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To: SeekAndFind

Any senator who does NOT a have home in the state he represents needs to be sent out to pasture. Add that to the fact he is one of the head RINO’s in the senate and I say good luck Hoosiers and God speed. RETIRE LUGAR!

Maybe Lugar, Ben Nelson, Kay Bailey Hutchenson and Hatch can be room mates in a retirement home.


23 posted on 05/02/2012 1:35:37 PM PDT by tennmountainman
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To: pogo101

That’s the scary part.

Lugar will probably toss his endorsement to the Democrat.

This is what passes for a Conservative.


24 posted on 05/02/2012 1:37:40 PM PDT by Venturer
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To: hinckley buzzard

Ball jar???


25 posted on 05/02/2012 1:37:53 PM PDT by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't wish doom on your enemies ... plan it.)
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To: ken5050

You and me both Ken.


26 posted on 05/02/2012 1:38:11 PM PDT by Venturer
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To: JRandomFreeper

I was wondering the same thing. Maybe a DC hothouse. LOL


27 posted on 05/02/2012 1:45:27 PM PDT by NathanR
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To: ken5050

Indiana has a “sore loser” law. Anyone who runs in the primary and loses may not run in the general election.


28 posted on 05/02/2012 2:17:01 PM PDT by Mr. Lucky
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To: PhiloBedo

“The writer equates TEA party with kooks. Another left wing hack.”

Unfortunately, the TEA party has come up with some clinkers including Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell. My wife is from a Republican family in Las Vegas. They told us that Angle would manage to screw herself out of the Reid seat with her intemprant mouth, and she did. From all appearances, O’Donnell did the same thing. It wasn’t that they were not right on the issues, it’s that they said things that made people think they were unstable.


29 posted on 05/02/2012 2:55:57 PM PDT by vette6387
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To: SeekAndFind
"...yet another prominent Republican with a solidly conservative record lose in a primary ..."

Now there's a classic WTF literary moment!

30 posted on 05/02/2012 4:31:20 PM PDT by SuperLuminal (Where is another agitator for republicanism like Sam Adams when we need him?)
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To: SeekAndFind
that Murdock is howlin mad!!
31 posted on 05/02/2012 5:31:36 PM PDT by TurboZamboni (Looting the future to bribe the present)
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