Dick Lugar touts his foreign policy expertise and influence, something which Brian Bolduc at National Review today finds is suspect.
One thing Lugar does not tout is that he joined Harry Reid in 2007 in announcing that the surge in Iraq was not working and should be stopped.
Reid’s statement in May 2007 now is internet gold:
Lugar didn’t have quite as neat a sound bite and did not declare the war lost, but his statement in late June 2007 in the middle of the surge in many ways was more important than Reid’s declaration, coming from the highest ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:
SEN. RICHARD LUGAR’s comments on Iraq came like a clap of thunder in the sultry summer skies of Washington. The ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee declared in a widely covered speech last week that he doesn’t think “the current ‘surge’ strategy will succeed” and that we should therefore “downsize the U.S. military’s role in Iraq.”
The President’s “surge” strategy can not achieve it’s goals of securing Iraq and giving the Iraqi government time to reach a consensus, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., said on Face The Nation.
“The point of the surge was to give time for the Iraqi politicians to work out the constitutional elements, not only the oil law, but the local elections, a whole raft of things,” Lugar said. “They’re not going to be able to do that in that period of time of about December or next March or what have you.”
As noted at Newsbusters at the time, the media seized on Lugar’s comment in the hope that it would lead to a flood of Republican opposition to the surge, Network Morning Shows All Hype Lugar’s Anti-Surge Remarks:
NBC’s “Today” hyped the story the most with Anchor Matt Lauer emphasizing “his comments will mark a turning point, not only in the debate on the war, but the war itself.” Lauer then interviewed Senator Lugar. In the setup story Reporter David Gregory noted Republican Senator John Warner “hailed Senator Lugar’s comments, predicting that other Republicans are likely to speak out against the president’s war policy…”
In Lauer’s Lugar interview, the NBC anchor hyped the potential of more Republican opposition inquiring: “Do you think your comments will open the floodgates now, among Republicans?”
The NY Times was ecstatic, G.O.P. Senator Splits With Bush Over Iraq Policy:
Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee and a steadfast supporter of the president, has conspicuously broken ranks with him on the Iraq war, warning that the United States’ standing in the world could be irreparably eroded if the White House does not change strategy soon.
“In my judgment, the costs and risks of continuing down the current path outweigh the potential benefits that might be achieved,” Mr. Lugar said Monday during a 50-minute speech on the Senate floor, which was delivered after nearly everyone in the Capitol had retired for the evening. “Persisting indefinitely with the surge strategy will delay policy adjustments that have a better chance of protecting our vital interests over the long term.”
The opposition to the surge in the middle of the surge was one of a long list of Lugar foreign policy failures.
In 1998, for example, Lugar was one of only four Senators to oppose the Iran Missile Sanctions Bill, designed to prevent transfer of missile technology to Iran. Lugar also has been a big supporter of Obama’s policy towards Iran, including the refusal of the U.S. to support the 2009 protests in the hope that Iran would negotiate in good faith.
Lugar has one of the lowest lifetime ratings for a Republican from the American Conservative Union, and gave such vocal support to Obama just three weeks before the 2008 election that he was dubbed Obama’s Favorite Republican.
Against that background, Lugar wants voters to send him back to the Senate for a 7th term on the basis of his foreign policy experience.
In fact, Lugar’s failed foreign policy experience is just another reason why Lugar should not have a 7th term.