According to Political Animal , a few weeks ago, former senator and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Danforth (R) expressed some concern about the direction of his party. “If Dick Lugar,” Danforth said, “having served five terms in the U.S. Senate and being the most respected person in the Senate and the leading authority on foreign policy, is seriously challenged by anybody in the Republican Party, we have gone so far overboard that we are beyond redemption.”
I think we’ve crossed that threshhold.
Only in an alternative universe would Dick Lugar be considered liberal, or Richard Mourdock–the troglodyte running against him–be considered credible.
When Lugar was Mayor of Indianapolis, he governed from the middle, but since his first term in the Senate, he has moved steadily to the right. He has routinely voted against equal rights for gay people, including most recently against repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and he has been on the wrong side (in my view) on health care reform. He carried a lot of water for the Bush Administration, despite the fact that he had to know how misguided its foreign policies were. If he seems “liberal,” it is only by comparison to people who are certifiably insane–the people who want to build fences along the (southern) border, want to put women back in the kitchen (barefoot and pregnant), and want the U.S. to withdraw from all international treaties.
Mourdock is best known for an embarrassing lawsuit arising out of the Chrysler bankruptcy. After making an ill-advised investment in Chrysler stock, he was Indiana’s representative to the creditors committee–the group of creditors who negotiate in the bankruptcy proceedings on behalf of those owed money. Mourdock signed an agreement to abide by whatever agreement the committee reached; nevertheless, he made a lot of noise objecting to the agreement after the court approved it, and he brought a lawsuit to overturn it. The suit was thrown out, as any first-year law student would have anticipated, but the most ironic aspect of the whole mess was that Indiana would have received less had his lawsuit been successful than it received under the creditors’ agreement. Now this clown is playing to the Tea Party wing of the party–where he clearly belongs.
In a sane world, Lugar would have no problem winning a Republican primary, but this isn’t a sane world. There are a lot of frightened, angry voters out there, and most of them are members of the GOP. Plus, friends who are privy to the party’s powers-that-be tell me that the once-vaunted Lugar office staff no longer responds to constituent contacts or party requests the way they used to. (The words “insulated” and “arrogant” come up fairly routinely.)
I hope the Democrats field a strong candidate–something they haven’t done for quite a while–because we are witnessing the implosion of a once-powerful political party that may indeed be beyond redemption.