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Lugar Shows Why The ‘Tea Party’ Was Right

From the Politico:

Lugar unloads on ‘unrelenting’ partisanship

By MIKE ZAPLER | 5/9/12

Sen. Richard Lugar, in a remarkable 1,425-word statement after his crushing loss in the Indiana Senate primary Tuesday night, unloaded on what he called "unrelenting" partisanship in Congress and explained how he knew much earlier than the pundits that he was in trouble.

If you had any question about how the six-term senator really feels about the state of politics and governance, you won’t after reading this:

[From Mr. Lugar:] "I would like to comment on the Senate race just concluded and the direction of American politics and the Republican Party. I would reiterate from my earlier statement that I have no regrets about choosing to run for office. My health is excellent, I believe that I have been a very effective Senator for Hoosiers and for the country, and I know that the next six years would have been a time of great achievement. Further, I believed that vital national priorities, including job creation, deficit reduction, energy security, agriculture reform, and the Nunn-Lugar program, would benefit from my continued service as a Senator. These goals were worth the risk of an electoral defeat and the costs of a hard campaign.

Analysts will speculate about whether our campaign strategies were wise. Much of this will be based on conjecture by pundits who don’t fully appreciate the choices we had to make based on resource limits, polling data, and other factors. They also will speculate whether we were guilty of overconfidence.

The truth is that the headwinds in this race were abundantly apparent long before Richard Mourdock announced his candidacy. One does not highlight such headwinds publically when one is waging a campaign. But I knew that I would face an extremely strong anti-incumbent mood following a recession. I knew that my work with then-Senator Barack Obama would be used against me, even if our relationship were overhyped. I also knew from the races in 2010 that I was a likely target of Club for Growth, FreedomWorks and other Super Pacs dedicated to defeating at least one Republican as a purification exercise to enhance their influence over other Republican legislators.

We undertook this campaign soberly and we worked very hard in 2010, 2011, and 2012 to overcome these challenges. There never was a moment when my campaign took anything for granted. This is why we put so much effort into our get out the vote operations.

Ultimately, the re-election of an incumbent to Congress usually comes down to whether voters agree with the positions the incumbent has taken. I knew that I had cast recent votes that would be unpopular with some Republicans and that would be targeted by outside groups.

These included my votes for the TARP program, for government support of the auto industry, for the START Treaty, and for the confirmations of Justices Sotomayor and Kagan. I also advanced several propositions that were considered heretical by some, including the thought that Congressional earmarks saved no money and turned spending power over to unelected bureaucrats and that the country should explore options for immigration reform.

It was apparent that these positions would be attacked in a Republican primary. But I believe that they were the right votes for the country, and I stand by them without regrets, as I have throughout the campaign

In other words, Mr. Lugar realized that he was going against the wishes of his constituents. The people he is supposed to represent. In fact, he seems to be proud that he opposed them on so many issues.

If Mr. Mourdock is elected, I want him to be a good Senator. But that will require him to revise his stated goal of bringing more partisanship to Washington. He and I share many positions, but his embrace of an unrelenting partisan mindset is irreconcilable with my philosophy of governance and my experience of what brings results for Hoosiers in the Senate.

In effect, what he has promised in this campaign is reflexive votes for a rejectionist orthodoxy and rigid opposition to the actions and proposals of the other party. His answer to the inevitable roadblocks he will encounter in Congress is merely to campaign for more Republicans who embrace the same partisan outlook. He has pledged his support to groups whose prime mission is to cleanse the Republican party of those who stray from orthodoxy as they see it.

Mr. Lugar was in the Senate for 35 years. Is the country better off than we were 35 years ago? Maybe we need a little more partisan opposition to the relentless onslaught of Democrat liberalism.

This is not conducive to problem solving and governance. And he will find that unless he modifies his approach, he will achieve little as a legislator. Worse, he will help delay solutions that are totally beyond the capacity of partisan majorities to achieve. The most consequential of these is stabilizing and reversing the Federal debt in an era when millions of baby boomers are retiring. There is little likelihood that either party will be able to impose their favored budget solutions on the other without some degree of compromise.

Again, how have Mr. Lugar’s efforts at compromise reduced the national debt over the last 35 years? They seem to have had the opposite effect.

Unfortunately, we have an increasing number of legislators in both parties who have adopted an unrelenting partisan viewpoint. This shows up in countless vote studies that find diminishing intersections between Democrat and Republican positions. Partisans at both ends of the political spectrum are dominating the political debate in our country. And partisan groups, including outside groups that spent millions against me in this race, are determined to see that this continues. They have worked to make it as difficult as possible for a legislator of either party to hold independent views or engage in constructive compromise. If that attitude prevails in American politics, our government will remain mired in the dysfunction we have witnessed during the last several years. And I believe that if this attitude expands in the Republican Party, we will be relegated to minority status. Parties don’t succeed for long if they stop appealing to voters who may disagree with them on some issues.

And never mind the 2010 mid-term election landslide in which an historic number of Democrat seats became Republican seats across the land. Over 700 elected offices went to the GOP.

Legislators should have an ideological grounding and strong beliefs identifiable to their constituents. I believe I have offered that throughout my career. But ideology cannot be a substitute for a determination to think for yourself, for a willingness to study an issue objectively, and for the fortitude to sometimes disagree with your party or even your constituents. Like Edmund Burke, I believe leaders owe the people they represent their best judgment.

Fortunately, the people also have the right to throw out their elected officials if their "best judgment" turns out to not match their own "best judgment."

Too often bipartisanship is equated with centrism or deal cutting. Bipartisanship is not the opposite of principle. One can be very conservative or very liberal and still have a bipartisan mindset. Such a mindset acknowledges that the other party is also patriotic and may have some good ideas. It acknowledges that national unity is important, and that aggressive partisanship deepens cynicism, sharpens political vendettas, and depletes the national reserve of good will that is critical to our survival in hard times.

Unfortunately, for the last sixty years or so, compromising in Washington has meant going along with the Democrat Party. Even though, according to all of the polls, the Democrat Party represents a minority political view in this country, they are never asked to compromise.

Certainly this was understood by President Reagan, who worked with Democrats frequently and showed flexibility that would be ridiculed today – from assenting to tax increases in the 1983 Social Security fix, to compromising on landmark tax reform legislation in 1986, to advancing arms control agreements in his second term.

Mr. Lugar left out Mr. Reagan’s compromise on amnesty for illegal aliens. All three of these compromises were Mr. Reagan’s worst mistakes.

I don’t remember a time when so many topics have become politically unmentionable in one party or the other. Republicans cannot admit to any nuance in policy on climate change.

"Nuance on climate change"? Right there, in four words, is Mr. Lugar’s problem in a nutshell.

Republican members are now expected to take pledges against any tax increases. For two consecutive Presidential nomination cycles, GOP candidates competed with one another to express the most strident anti-immigration view, even at the risk of alienating a huge voting bloc. Similarly, most Democrats are constrained when talking about such issues as entitlement cuts, tort reform, and trade agreements. Our political system is losing its ability to even explore alternatives. If fealty to these pledges continues to expand, legislators may pledge their way into irrelevance. Voters will be electing a slate of inflexible positions rather than a leader.

I hope that as a nation we aspire to more than that. I hope we will demand judgment from our leaders. I continue to believe that Hoosiers value constructive leadership. I would not have run for office if I did not believe that.

As someone who has seen much in the politics of our country and our state, I am able to take the long view. I have not lost my enthusiasm for the role played by the United States Senate. Nor has my belief in conservative principles been diminished. I expect great things from my party and my country. I hope all who participated in this election share in this optimism.

If any Indiana conservatives had any lingering doubts about throwing out Mr. Lugar, his comments here should put them to rest. If he won’t be a conservative in a safe seat like Indiana, than they should find someone who will.

And, hopefully, they have.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, May 9th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

18 Responses to “Lugar Shows Why The ‘Tea Party’ Was Right”

  1. River0 says:

    The bubble of delusion this man lived in has finally been popped. Thank God he’ll be gone. His career has tracked America’s decline. He was running radio ads in the last few days claiming that his opponent was going to “eliminate Social Security for seniors”.

    He was a de facto Demonic Party operative. Corruption personified.

  2. BigOil says:

    35 Years of bipartisanship during Dick’s tenure gave us 14 trillion in debt that generations will have to repay – assuming our economic system does not collapse under the weight. Partisanship is long overdue.

    Good riddance.

  3. Petronius says:

    It is precisely because of Richard Lugar and renegades like him that we have become a divided and polarized nation.

    Lugar has been at the forefront of every measure for open borders, mass immigration, amnesty, and multikulti-ism. He also is rated “F” by the NRA.

    “Like Edmund Burke, I believe leaders owe the people they represent their best judgment.” — from a smug, self-congratulating Richard Lugar.

    But here also is Edmund Burke :

    “I hope we shall never be so totally lost to all sense of the duties imposed upon us by the law of social union, as, upon any pretext of public service, to confiscate the goods of a single unoffending citizen. Who but a tyrant (a name expressive of every thing which can vitiate and degrade human nature) could think of seizing on the property of men, unaccused, unheard, untried, by whole descriptions, by hundreds and thousands together?”

    – Reflections on the Revolution in France

    • River0 says:

      Excellently well spoken, Petronius.

    • Mithrandir says:

      Yep, well said.

      Lesson for all Conservatives: Don’t vote for liberal Republicans because you are afraid of a Democrat win. You vote for the Conservative candidate no matter what, so you have a clear conscience, and can stand proud. Otherwise, you have to endure 36 years of Dick Lugarism.

  4. untrainable says:

    I am so sick of hearing about bipartisanship as if it is the greatest gift to mankind since the wheel. Bipartisanship, IMHO, is just the lack of a moral center. Compromise on an issue is one thing, but compromise of principle is another. The problem is that bipartisanship these days seems to mean that conservatives must compromise their principles in order for liberals to compromise on their demands.

    If you compromise with a liberal, freedom is lost. How much is lost, and how fast it is taken are the only variables.

    • AcornsRNutz says:

      Agreed. Bipartisanism is a BS term meaning centrist neutrality, and the term neutral automatically indicates having nothing to stand on. A car in neutral won’t go anywhere. Blaming partisan politics and non-neutrality for a lack of movement is absurd. At least the real libs admit they have a goal, one I would call reverse though they predictably call it “progress”.

      I don’t understand how in a time when more and more formerly uniterested people are taking not only an interest in politics but forming and actively advocating opinions that anyone could see bipartisan cooperation as a good strategy to gain any ground. The dems have noticed this divide, used it to their advantage and despite their occasional noises to the contrary are increasingly coming out with their true motives and basically drawing a line in the sand for who gets to steer the country from now on. If Republican’s can’t do the same they are screwed.

    • Mithrandir says:

      You havta know how to understand politish:

      Bipartisanship = Republicans compromising

      Political Correctness = Shutting up Republican voices

      Diversity = Less white people, more minority democrat supporters

      Teachers / Firemen / Police = Union dues payers

      Tax increases = re-election money available through the union/democrat money-laundering scheme

      Tax breaks for the rich! = Republican money that is not being confiscated

      ~what is so frustrating, is that many Republicans haven’t figured out standard rebuttals to this nonsense. It boggles the mind, don’t they have seminars that teach them these things?

    • untrainable says:

      Seminars Mith? Geeze, don’t put ideas out there like that. The money they would spend wouldn’t be theirs either. And they’d probably hire some kind of liberal whackjob to teach the seminar. And maybe even a mind reader or a couple of clowns for the halftime show.

      I don’t think it’s that they don’t know how to dispute the obvious stupidity. I think it is that they are afraid of the media. And lordy lordy we don’t want to offend the media.That’s where the common sense breaks down. I say, Why not offend the media? It’s not like any conservative will ever get a fair shake in the MS media anyway. They should let sound bites carry the message, and not worry about the editorializing that goes on after. People will get it. Go Alan West.

    • JohnMG says:

      Compromise is the act of giving up that which you weren’t strong enough to hold on to in the first place. Democrats have blurred the definitions of words to the extent they (the words) have lost their traditional meanings. Their idea of compromise is concession.

  5. tranquil.night says:

    What’s the most repelling for me is the level of entitlement these elder statesmen start demonstrating when their chair finally becomes seriously challenged. So insulated in power, they seriously do believe they are beyond electoral challenge at a certain point. Enjoy your likely new job lobbying for international globalist interests, Dick.

  6. tranquil.night says:

    The media and political establishments appear mostly shell-shocked today. Good. No time to start spiking footballs yet, but what a heartening and refreshing sign from each one of those votes yesterday, from this to Wisconsin to an inmate taking 40% of a protest vote in the WV Dem primary.

  7. Mithrandir says:

    Shucks! Now he doesn’t have political immunity to the policies he voted for, for the last 36 years.

    If you knew you were in troublethen why did you bother wasting everyone else’s money running again? Oh wait, it was everyone else’s money, I see.

    REACHING ACROSS THE AISLEis not so difficult Dick, if you are already on the same side of the aisle. It’s more like “reaching across your chair” isn’t it?

    And as he is embarrassed to get kicked out of office NOT on his own terms, he punches, scratches, and swipes at Republicans while being dragged out feet first from the halls of power.

    “Dirtbag Dick,” like ALL liberal Republicans, will show their true colors when they have nothing to lose. They were just Democrat double agents, who couldn’t win as a Democrat, but knew they could as a liberal Republican. Remember Dede Scozzafava after she lost the Republican primary to a Tea Partier? She endorsed the Democrat candidate. Arlen Specter, Jim Jeffords……all dirtbags.

  8. finebammer59 says:

    let’s see, he’s 80 years old and “served” (us up??) 35 years. he loses and now this sour grapes tripe.

    talk about entitlement.

    i recall being on a flight once with the late howell heflin. now give the guy credit, he was flying coach. but he was also obviously wearing a diaper.

    (this was also around the time he pulled a pair of panties out of his pocket to wipe his nose once)

    it’s truly ironic that these guys, like a lot of pro ball players, try and hang on forever yet many of their constituents will be forced to work far past their preferred retirement point as a result of their incompetence.

    can you say walmart greeter.

  9. yadayada says:

    “For two consecutive Presidential nomination cycles, GOP candidates competed with one another to express the most strident anti-immigration view, even at the risk of alienating a huge voting bloc.”

    simple math, a few votes > well being or interests of your country

    so many statements in this guy’s whiny rant reveal his thinly disguised leanings.
    this is only one a tad more humorous. funny how the more liberal you are the more entitled you feel.

    as I’ve always said, liberalism = narcisism

    .

  10. Enthalpy says:

    Good Riddance. If Sotomayor, Kagan, Bernake, Ginsberg, Sebelius, yes to federal funding of sanctuary cities, gun control advocacy, yes to General Motors bailout, yes to TARP, yes to START, and yes to amnesty aren’t enough, then what is? Going along to get along isn’t good enough any more! It never was, really.

  11. xdannyh says:

    So now the question is…..Will he pull a Murkowski and go the write in route, Hey it worked for Lisa and made the republican party big wigs look like the idiots they are. Particularly interesting here is the court decisions that allowed ballots for Murkowski to be counted even if the name was misspelled. The God like knowledge of our judicial tribe on display.


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