Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Will Indiana teabaggers decide Dick Lugar isn’t conservative enough?

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Dick Lugar has always been a Republican, but if he was once dark red, his pigment might be more pinkish than red. These days, Lugar isn’t Republican enough for a lot of Republicans.

We are about to find out how Republican Dick Lugar is in the eyes of Hoosiers as Indiana has its primary on Tuesday.

The Indiana primary is a soft spot for me, not just because I went there in 2008 to cover the Clinton and Obama campaigns. But Indiana is also a state that I have bordered my entire life (and that’s having lived in 3 different states).

And not just because Lugar has been a senator since 1976 and would likely be Senate president pro tem if the GOP gains control of the Senate (there is a dispute with Orrin Hatch over this, seriously). In a world where Congress has a 9% approval rating, Lugar is one of the good ones, even if you don’t agree with his policies.

Lugar is a senator that Jon Stewart would really like: someone who stands for principles over party, a person who is really concerned with the future of this country. By teabagger logic, this makes Lugar “not Republican enough.”

John McCain, part of the old guard, is endorsing Lugar over state treasurer Richard Mourdock. Sarah Palin, who considers herself part of the new guard, is endorsing Mourdock.

In a world that is guaranteed to have at least 40 Democratic senators and 40 Republican senators, Dick Lugar should be one of those people.

If Lugar wins the primary on Tuesday, you can be certain that the Senate seat will remain in the GOP column. After all, Lugar had NO Dem opponent in 2006. If Mourdock wins, the Dems have a much better shot to win the seat. Even though Obama took Indiana in 2008 (first Dems presidential win there since 1964), the Dems are longshots in the presidential and Senate races.

Indiana Rep. Joe Donnelly will face either Lugar or Mourdock in November.

If the GOP takes the Senate in 2012, Dick Lugar will be a powerful political force in Washington (either #1 or #2). And if Lugar wins the primary, the GOP chances skyrocket to keep the seat.

In the teabagger world, none of those prizes are good enough. All that matters to them is someone who is blindly conservative, regardless of what that means to our country.

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