In Praise of Dick Lugar

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on May 8, 2012

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.

  • Matt S

    Pro-tip: There’s no such thing as an Indianan. We’re Hoosiers in this state.

  • BestGuest

    Hoosiers deserved better than Dick Lugar and tonight they got it.

  • Jfahy

    Sorry Pej but you are so wrong. The administrative state needs to be dismantled and Dick Lugar would not be the one to do so.

  • Tdiinva

    I half agree with you but nobody should sit the Seante for 36 years.  Lugar should have bowed out on his own with a job well done instead hanging on for last hurrah.

  • Demosthenes

    Respectfully disagree.  These days, it’s not about the man as much as it is about the policies.  And Mourdock is more conservative.

    If Lugar had been the most conservative Republican we could elect in Indiana, I would have supported him — just like I supported Mike Castle.  But he wasn’t.  Mourdock was.

  • MatBastardson

    Dick Lugar is from that era of politics when “my good friend across the aisle”,
    and “bipartisan compromise” actually meant something other than “the voters are getting
    screwed from both ends”. The ability to work with your opponents is a
    quality not necessarily to be despised.Dick Lugar was  in Politics a long time now, and we shouldn’t have just tossed that experience aside. Just remember, the other side has a long list of
    dirty tricks amassed through years of playing politics. They aren’t
    going anywhere. Only Republicans are jettisoning their old timers.

    I agree that some incumbents deserve to go, but not necessarily all of them.

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