I would not care if the Tea Party claimed another scalp, in this case, of Republican Dick Lugar. There is no rule that says just because a Senator has been in office for a while, they never have to face a primary again.
Gail Collins writes:
INDIANA Next Tuesday we will learn whether Richard Lugar, a Republican, wins renomination for the Senate seat he has held for almost 36 years. This is the guy who won international renown for his work against nuclear proliferation. If he loses, the Tea Party will have claimed another victim, terrifying the remaining moderate Republican in the Senate.
His opponent, Richard Mourdock, the state treasurer, claims that Lugar has become a creature of Washington. Generally, these lost-touch-with-the-people campaigns are bogus. But it does seem peculiar that Lugar’s 2012 Indiana voting address was a house he sold in 1977.
Lugar, who has a home in the Washington suburbs, says he can’t afford a place in Indiana too. This is a guy who represents a state where the median price of a house in Gas City is $88,000. Also, Lugar owns a family farm outside Indianapolis, but apparently there is no family house on the family farm. Personally, I’d have gone for the family shed.
Anyway, here is our question: Would you rather see Lugar win, striking a blow for moderate-although-actually-pretty-darned-conservative-but-just-not-crazy Republicanism? Or would you prefer to see him lose and give the Democrats a chance to pick up an unexpected seat? Feel free to choose. It’s like the basketball playoffs. Every team has its good points. Except, of course, the Miami Heat.
(click here to continue reading Changing the Subject – NYTimes.com.)
Charles Pierce adds:
Richard Lugar, the Ent who has represented the state of Indiana in the U.S. Senate since shortly after George Rogers Clark kicked the bucket, is stuck in the middle of a primary dogfight with state treasurer Richard Mourdock, a Tea Party heartthrob. That being the case, one of the hottest issues in the race has been Lugar’s status as a “Washington insider,” since, as Tea Party logic demands, the more you know about how to function within the government, the less you know about Liberty (!), competence basically being another word for treason. Anyway, as a line of attack on this issue, Mourdock is making dinner out of how little time Lugar seems to spend back home in Indiana.
While Lugar is still leading in the polls, the trend lines are not good at all, as evidenced by the fact that, over the weekend, his campaign felt compelled to release an accounting of how much time Lugar spent in the state as opposed to the amount of time he was sequestered inside the Beltway: The low point was 1985, when he was in Indiana for 20 days. That was the year he became chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The highest number came in his re-election years of 1982 and 1998, when he was in the state 92 days. As for the total number of days he spent in the state he has represented since 1977 over the course of full six-year terms, the highest was his first term, with 353 days in Indiana, and the lowest was his fifth, with 237.
(click here to continue reading Richard Lugar Re-Election 2012 – Dick Lugar’s Last Stand – Esquire.)
and, for good measure:
First of all, there is absolutely nothing prima facie wrong with any politician’s being challenged in a primary at any time in any place. God knows, the Democrats could use a couple of dozen more good solid primary fights. You can’t moan endlessly about how Americans take no interest in government and then complain when they actually do. That said, I am sorry, but the Reverend Danforth can go pound sand. He was in the Senate when the NCPAC campaigns were run. He was in the Senate when Lee Atwater was the presiding Republican genius. He was in the Senate when Newt Gingrich came to power. He likes to pretend that he’s become appalled by what’s happened to the party since he left the Senate, but he was there when all the forces were gathering, and it’s a little late to decide he doesn’t have the belly for the inevitable results. But, more to the historical point, it was Danforth most of all who is responsible for the phenomenon that is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and, in that fight, Danforth was as much a culture warrior as all the people who seem to offend him today.
It was Danforth who gave Thomas sanctimonous cover during the Senate confirmation hearings in which Thomas, at the very least, played Edward Scissorhands with the truth. Danforth even later wrote a book about it in which poor, misused soon-to-be Justice Thomas was nearly destroyed by the high-tech lynching he received, and in which Danforth confesses quite Heepishly that he may have been less than Christian in his defense of his protege. Well, horse hockey. You got what you wanted: a permanent seat on the Supreme Court for a vengeful conservative extremist. (In his book, Danforth argues that,”I did not think his political philosophy should be relevant to his nomination,” to which Clio, Muse Of History, replies, “WTF?” and opens another bottle of Virginia Gentleman.) I am utterly at the end of my patience with all of these “How could this ever have happened to my party?” arias from the people who could have stopped it at the time, but found it expedient not to do so. It’s enough to get me rooting for Richard Mourdock.
(click here to continue reading John Danforth on Dick Lugar – Dick Lugar and the Right’s Men Overboard – Esquire.)