I have serious problems with Dick Lugar’s record, particularly on his alleged foreign policy expertise.
As documented here, Lugar has engaged in repeated wishful thinking on Iran (one more post in the series still to come), and irresponsibly vouched for Obama’s foreign policy credentials just three weeks before the 2008 election.
But, there always had been something of a soft-spot based on Lugar’s public persona, a regret that Lugar’s career might end badly not just from a defeat, but a defeat in which he ran a disreputable campaign.
Two events have changed my perspective. In the past couple of days Lugar’s campaign has gone kamikaze, willing to take down Republican chances of success in November.
First, Lugar has refused to say that he would support Mourdock against Democrat Joe Donnelly, in contrast to Mourdock who says that he will support the Republican regardless. Lugar cannot pull a Lisa Murkowski under Indiana’s election law, so hedging on whether he will support Mourdock reflects an unwillingness to view the office as larger than himself.
In an exclusive interview with The Brody File, Senator Richard Lugar says his GOP Primary opponent Richard Mourdock, “does not have the qualifications to be a Senator.”
I wish Dick Lugar well. In retirement.
Support Richard Mourdock in the critical last week.
Update: The Indiana-based Howey Politics blog has been hostile to Richard Mourdock. One of Howey’s writers, whose views on Mourdock are unknown to me, noted Lugar’s “sad” appearance last night at the Lincoln Day dinner:
At the conclusion of Senator Lugar’s speech, the people in the front two rows of tables were immediately on their feet giving applause both out of respect to his distinguished service and many out of support. Beyond the first two, no one rose for an excoriating [sic] short period – no one – and then a few started to stand and it rolled back. Nothing is more symbolic: the top elected officials and top donors sit in the front. Senator Lugar is still holding at the top but is collapsing as you go down the pyramid. Pyramids don’t get smaller as you go down….
Most common comment was, “This is a sad finish for Senator Lugar. He’s such a distinguished leader and to go out with this type of nasty campaign is sad.” I heard this from all sorts of people of various backgrounds and ideologies. As a politician, you never want to hear the word “sad” used with your name when they are describing your campaign.