Let it be conceded–as though it has to be–that Dick Lugar never had any particular right to be re-nominated to another term in the United States Senate by Indiana’s Republican voters. Let it also be conceded–as though it has to be–that Richard Mourdock had every right to run against him, and won fair and square. He simply ran the better campaign, and 2012 simply wasn’t Dick Lugar’s year.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that I was ever in favor of targeting Lugar for defeat. In fact, quite the contrary; I had hoped that he would be able to prevail over Mourdock. Lugar is a highly experienced senator in the best sense of the term. He is a responsible and thoughtful legislator, he understands that in order to get things done in Congress–and yes, sometimes one ought to want to get things done in Congress–one has to be prepared to deal with the other side of the aisle, and he has tremendous expertise when it comes to foreign affairs, and national security.
He wasn’t the most conservative senator around, but he was no liberal, and could scarcely be called a moderate. Ronald Reagan used to say that the person who agreed with him 4 times out of 5 was an 80% friend, not a 20% enemy. Dick Lugar may not have reached 80%, but being a nearly 70% friend is not half bad, and is little cause for an insurrection.
There are times, of course, when an insurrection is warranted. I am delighted that Pat Toomey brought an end to the ignominious career of Arlen Specter, and I only wish that he did it sooner. But Dick Lugar was and is a far better senator than Arlen Specter ever could have hoped to have been. The voters have spoken, and their voice deserves respect. But from the perspective of this non-Indianan blogger, Dick Lugar deserved better.