Skip to comments.Itís starting to look like it's over for Dick Lugar
Posted on 05/02/2012 12:35:06 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
It sure doesnt 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 Mourdocks Tea Party politics to turn the states swing voters against him as happened with several high-profile Tea Party-backed candidates in 2010.
That said, Mourdock unlike, say, Christine ODonnell or Joe Miller is an established statewide politician whose public behavior doesnt easily conform to the image of a kook. And Indiana, even though it narrowly backed Barack Obama in 2008, is a traditionally Republican state thats expected to land in the Romney column this fall. So theres 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 hes 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 its really just a colorful synonym for Republican Party base. And as Lugars 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 its 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, youll 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 wasnt 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 GOPs Utah state convention, as Bennett did two years ago.
Theres been less primary season Tea Party activity this year because theres been less need for it. Lugar is a bit of an exception. Like most of the Tea Partys previous targets, moderate really isnt the best word to describe his Senate voting record. Hes a conservative and a generally reliable Republican vote, but he does have an independent streak. And to todays conservative activists, who demand complete, unyielding ideological purity, thats not enough. So they decided to make an example of Lugar, and theyre 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.
What world is the writer living in?
“You’d better vote for our lib-dem, he’s the only one that can beat their lib-dem.”
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.
>> 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.
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.
Its about time Lugar goes to retirement too.
Hes been in Senate nearly 36 years. He is 80 years old this year. And heres the kicker he has not lived in Indiana for years!! (For all intents and purposed, hes a Virginian ).
You cant teach an old dog new tricks anymore.
Only a writer for Salon could call Dick Lugar a conservative.
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?
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.
But I dont remember being in a coma.
One usually doesn’t;-)
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.
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!!!
Well, for goodness sake, start the vaccuum pump and put him out of our misery.
The writer equates TEA party with kooks. Another left wing hack.
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 . . .
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.)