Yesterday, a county election board ruled that Dick Lugar isn’t eligible to vote using the address of the house he sold in the 1970s. (The board declined to find criminal intent, since the Lugars had relied upon opinions issued by two Attorney Generals.)
I’m not about to delve into the question whether the board–which evidently relied on its own attorney’s analysis of the relevant statutes–was right or wrong. But it’s hard not to wonder what’s really going on with this particular line of attack.
This morning’s Star editorialized
Such is the state of politics in 2012. Instead of building a philosophical and intellectual case as to why Richard Mourdock is a superior candidate, the Republican primary challenger’s campaign and his supporters have instead chosen to wallow in side issues such as the status of Lugar’s residency.
The easy reply to that observation is that it would be pretty hard to build a case for Mourdock being a superior candidate; the man is a bad joke.
The attack on Lugar’s residency is obviously intended to drive home the argument that the Senator is out-of-touch. (Whatever the technical legal resolution, the “optics,” as the political types say, are awful–and effective.) Being out of touch, having been in Washington too long, are time-tested themes of many campaigns, and whether this one has taken the attack a step too far will ultimately be decided by primary voters who will either agree with the charge or recoil from the way it has been pursued.
I have been saddened by Lugar’s pandering to the ever-more-rabid GOP base, but I am even more saddened and appalled by what that base considers evidence that Lugar is out of touch. The list of complaints includes things like supporting nuclear arms negotiations, voting for the President’s Supreme Court nominees, and being willing to compromise with the Democrats from time to time in order to get the nation’s business done.
In other words, they want to remove him for being a sane (albeit very conservative) lawmaker who actually understands what elected officials in a democratic system are supposed to do.
I’m not sure that I live in Indiana any more. Politically, it feels more like the Twilight Zone.