DICK Lugar, Richard Nixon's Favorite Mayor, and Chief US Negotiator of the Treaty of Ghent, who is not only Indiana's longest-serving Senator but also its longest-surviving mammal, raised the ire of the two dozen or so Hoosiers who actually believe there's some distinction between "Teabagger" and "Republican" a couple years ago by voting to confirm Sonia Sotomayor. Let me repeat that in case you come from some area of the country where rationality is, if not respected, at least still nodded at in passing: people in this state who insist that they represent a non- or trans-partisan movement concerned solely with cutting taxes and government spending were ticked off because Lugar voted to confirm a qualified nominee to the Supreme Court, simply because she's a Democrat, and the guy who nominated her claims to be.
In the interim, though, Indiana's junior Senator, Republican-Democrat Evan Bayh, decided to pursue the more suitable profession of FOX News Democrat, meaning that race was sure to go to a real Republican. Though, as it turned out, just not to one from Indiana, as former Senator Dan Coats rented an apartment here and sinecured his way to the 2010 Republican nomination over two Teabagging favorites.
So the knives got sharpened for Lugar, who's always seemed just a tad bit Pink in these parts, what with his concern over limiting other country's nuclear stockpiles an' all. This despite the fact that Republicans have been reelecting him by landslide for the last hundred and seventy years. Lugar's facing his first primary challenge since the invention of television, from State Treasurer and Teabagging homunculus Richard Mourdock, whose 2010 reelection ads memorably touted his ability to earn interest on Indiana's accounts.
Earlier this year the Club for Growth, the tax-exempt opponents of tax policy now headed by former Indiana congressman Chris Chocola, started running anti-Lugar ads which pilloried him for voting to bail-out New York City in the mid-1970s, presumably because his vote to bail out the Loogootee Dirigible Company saved Hoosier jobs.
Of course, with such a storied career Lugar's had no shortage of Indiana Republicans willing to come forward and brave the wrath of the Teabaggers to defend his record. Provided they--like former Mayor Stephen Goldsmythe--are now on the New York City payroll and don't plan on returning.
And now Lugar himself has fired back, in that patented straight-shootin', let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may fashion that made him Barack Obama's choice for an example of the sort of Republican he could work with: he's released campaign ads ten months before the Indiana primaries, blaming everything on Barack Obama.
Lugar does offer irrefutable proof of his tax-and-spending-cutting bona fides. Well, at least he offers proof that he had two pictures taken with Ronald Reagan, the man who never raised taxes, when both of them were alive. No shots of Nixon, though.
Anyway, thanks all around: the political season can't start too early, the insights of the Club for Growth on American prehistory are almost as fascinating as Sarah Palin's, and listening to Indiana Republicans wondering out loud what Dick Lugar's been doing for the past four decades has almost been worth the wait.