Lugar and Mourdock

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  1. Avatar Michelle
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    Great post! As the center has shifted further and further right and the Republican party has become Southernized, folks who were once recognized as “real” Republicans have now become outliers. The party has become both radicalized and stupidified. Even patron saint Reagan would be a “fake” Republican by today’s standards.

    For the record, I don’t think the main reason Lugar went down to defeat was because he was insufficiently Republican. He lost the election when it became clear he hadn’t actually had a home in his home state for a couple of decades. That little fact combined with his age and long tenure in the Senate made it easy to paint him as being out of touch with his constituents.Report

    • Avatar Rtod in reply to Michelle
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      I think that is an excellent point. Also, after decades of representation, I’m pretty OK with saying to someone “we’re kind of ready for a change” without it meaning much tea-leaf wise.Report

      • Avatar Scott Fields in reply to Rtod
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        I agree with you and Michelle that an important part of Lugar’s loss was the desire for new blood and I’ve got no problem with that. But, if you end up nominating a Tea Party guy, the change you get is in the direction of radicalized partisanship and away from moderation. The motivation for the change isn’t as important as the result of the change.Report

        • Avatar Michelle in reply to Scott Fields
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          Of course, it also gives the Blue Dog Democrat a much better chance of winning, particularly if the tea-party dude stakes out a fairly radical rightwing position. The Dem would likely have had no chance to defeat Lugar.Report

  2. Avatar Ryan Noonan
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    This is one of those things that drives me crazy about American political discourse. We really need to honor distinctions between “conservative” and “Republican” (and “liberal” and “Democrat”). Mashing them all together and talking about who is “real” or “fake” makes it hard to even speak coherently to each other.Report

    • Avatar Patrick Smith in reply to Ryan Noonan
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      Paid any attention to the radio and TV ads in your local primaries? The GOP candidates are all trying to out-“conservative” each other. There is no such thing as a “moderate” talk radio host.

      For the past 4 years the GOP has been on a crusade to burn the heretics, defined as anyone who isn’t a jackbooted religious extremist with social policies resembling those of Marie Antoinette or Ebenezer Scrooge, from their ranks. Therefore I think it’s fair to say that yes, the GOP = “conservative” although I would also approve the label “reactionary anarchists.”Report

  3. Avatar Burt Likko
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    says:

    Michelle’s points are well taken.

    But also in the stew were Murdock’s charges that Lugar was insufficiently conservative. And a big spender. True or not, and representative of the views of the Indiana electorate or not, the primary is also an indicator of what Republicans want out of their own party and out of Washington.Report

    • Avatar Scott Fields in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      You’ve got that right. I was in Indiana for a week in mid-April to visit family, so I saw a lot of the late inning TV ad campaigns for the primary. Mourdock slammed Lugar over his vote for TARP.

      But I’d argue that it is inappropriate to concede the Tea Party position that being anti-bailout is the same as being anti-big spending. As the vote in the House today to thwart sequestration cuts to the defense budget demonstrates, for Republicans its not about how much is spent but what it is spent on.Report

    • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      Burt, that highlights my view. What’s good about Lugar the GOP gets no credit for, what’s bad [the spending in particular] is grist for the mill.

      And in the meta-, dedicated GOP haters hated the old Republicans, and they hate the new ones, so what’s the difference?

      In the very least, Lugar became a creature of Washington [his residence in Indiana was a hotel room]. People are sick of creatures of Washington, almost entirely for good reason.Report

      • Avatar Sam in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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        says:

        How did Lugar get no credit? He won re-election five/six times, right? He served more than a third of a century, routinely rewarded by this state with the job.Report

        • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Sam
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          says:

          The attacks on the GOP for overspending in the Dubya era were fair. Lugar was one of those bums who needed tossing.

          The central point here—since you called me out in the OP—is that attacking the GOP for spending by the Lugars and then attacking them for the Tea Party’s agenda of fiscal responsibility is incoherent; can’t have it both ways.Report

          • Avatar Sam in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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            says:

            The Tea Party doesn’t have an agenda of “fiscal responsibility” anymore than the Republican Party that you allege came before it had an agenda of “fiscal responsibility.” There’s simply no evidence that either group is good at managing money and the budgets endorsed by each attempt to lower taxes, without simultaneously cutting government, which leads to decreased revenues and larger deficits. This is silly though. The Republican Party and The Tea Party are the same thing by a different name.Report

          • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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            says:

            If Lugar needs tossing, so does Paul Ryan. After all, he voted for pretty much all the “big” spending plans that Lugar voted for.Report

          • Avatar Michelle in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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            says:

            The Tea Party is about anger and resentment, not fiscal responsibility. Where were they during GWB’s term when Republicans were spending like drunken sailors? Nary a voice from the peanut gallery. Get a bunch of Tea Partiers in power and taxes would be cut, defense spending increased astronomically, and deficits would zoom further skyward. Kind of like what happened when Reagan was president.Report

  4. Avatar Patrick Smith
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    says:

    Embarrassed Republicans Admit They’ve Been Thinking Of Eisenhower Whole Time They’ve Been Praising Reagan.

    This may be appropriate to the discussion. One thing I have learned of the right wing of late is that they are never afraid to let the facts get in the way of their arguments, delusions, or fetishization of mythical politicians who never really existed.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Ryan Noonan
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      says:

      Until Congress as a whole starts retaking from the Executive branch the perogatives its long shirked, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will continue its decline into irrelevance. (and really if you look at the recents chairs of the committee one won’t find much relation, so to speak, between their views and the main body of US Foreign policy of the time.Report

  5. Avatar BlaiseP
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    says:

    Weep not o’ermuch over the demise of Dick Lugar. If he became a mellow fellow over time, he was not always so. The day will come in Democratic circles when a few of the old bulls are held to account for their disgusting connivance with the PATRIOT Act and the Iraq War and the billions, I suppose by now trillions, of dollars wasted on fruitless wars and abrogations of our freedoms. It won’t be this election, though.

    The GOP lost its way under Bush and the voters have been punishing them ever since. The era of go-along get-along is over. This isn’t the 70s any more. No more horse trading, no gentlemen’s agreements. While the filibuster remains in place, look for Congress to become a brittle and impotent circus featuring Tea Party clowns and roaring kayfabe. Nothing’s going to get done. Let the GOP elect these ideological purists. Such people always think they’re going to change things. They never do.Report

  6. Avatar Damon
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    says:

    “The GOP lost its way under Bush and the voters have been punishing them ever since. The era of go-along get-along is over. This isn’t the 70s any more. No more horse trading, no gentlemen’s agreements. While the filibuster remains in place, look for Congress to become a brittle and impotent circus featuring Tea Party clowns and roaring kayfabe. Nothing’s going to get done. Let the GOP elect these ideological purists. Such people always think they’re going to change things. They never do.”

    Well said BlaiseP! I look forward to it. Quite a while ago I realized that when there is “consensus” I’m going to get screwed. Divided gov’t is the only thing that currently works in the system to provide any restraint on the spenders.Report

  7. Avatar James Hanley
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    says:

    Nice thoughtful post, Sam.Report

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