For one thing, taking the man seriously. Mourdock's only qualification for his present job is that he's as mazed as the people who give him money. (It's Mourdock, by the way, who is nominally responsible for Indiana's $300 million lost-and-found game with public funds, aka The Precise Amount the Mitch "CEO" Daniels Administration Cut From Public Education "Because We Didn't Have It".)
Lord only knows what sort of war chest Lugar's been sitting on for the past sixty years; some of it must be in pieces-of-eight. He's never had a serious electoral challenge from a Democrat, because Indiana (not that Jim Jontz wasn't a good guy). Hell, he once ran unopposed, except by the Libertarian/Free Silver coalition. Every six years he'd turn loose of something like sixty bucks to put up a few Glamour Shots ads, touting his positive attitude, his Eagle Scout merit badges, and nothing about Nixon, reminding Hoosiers how lucky they were to have a real statesman in their corner, a brave internationalist in the fight against everybody else's nuclear arsenal, and a Senator who didn't demean himself by taking committee chairmanships that were important to his state, or saving its military bases, like all those other guys did.
But then the Senate hurt Evan Bayh's feelings, and in the resultant battle to find another Republican to replace him, the Teabagger candidate and recipient of Federal agricultural largess
What grounds Lugar had for taking this seriously I don't know; fer chrissakes, Dan Coats beat their guy in 2010, and he was a professional lobbyist and gratuity collector who didn't even live in the state.
Then again, as it turns out, neither does Lugar.
Lugar began running ads--incessantly--calling Mourdock a mud-slinger, thereby wisely drawing attention to whatever well the Teabaggers were shouting this stuff down. There's a real cautionary tale here. Or maybe a couple. First and foremost, if you're going to hold public office for eight or ten generations, it's probably best not to fill your staffing needs with an in-house inbreeding system. What this new generation of Lugarites is up to is anyone's guess, but turning Everybody's Kindly Old Great-Grandpa into a political shit-slinger has had the appropriate results; Lugar now looks like his colostomy bag exploded.
Mourdock began with the usual crap. "Obama's Favorite Republican!" "Lugar Doesn't Support Hoosiers' Second Amendment Rights To Gun Down Abortionists!" Lugar responded with ads insisting he hates Barack Hussein Obama as much as anybody, and, my personal favorite, that he voted for a Balanced Budget Amendment seventeen times. Okay, so his people are at least savvy enough to know that Irony is going right over the primary voter's head.
Then Mourdock's crew trotted out the one about how Lugar hasn't lived here since 1977.
Which is old news, and pretty much settled law; we've gone over this a couple of times since, and the GOP sure wasn't concerned that Dan Coats hadn't lived here since he went to Congress the first time. Except--oh oh!--Lugar's voted twice to require IDs for federal elections (though I suppose he didn't specify accurate IDs). And for the first state in the nation whose Republicans demanded IDs from voters, unless they were running as Republicans for Secretary of State, it doesn't really look all that good that our senior Senator has been listing that house he sold during the Carter administration as his legal voting address ever since. This, naturally, led to immediate demands from the state GOP that Lugar be brought up on felony vote fraud charges.
I mean, get the Presidential Medal of Freedom next time there's a Bush in the Oval Office. But the Marion County Election Board has a Democratic majority, and last week it stripped his registration. This is known as partisan politics.
Then yesterday the Lugar campaign announced that he'd be repaying $4500 wrongly siphoned from taxpayers to pay for hotel rooms in Indiana while the Senate was not in session, going back to 1991, "as far back as records go."
Oh, the other cautionary tale: y'know, if you're really such an all-out moderate, maybe the time to say something when your party goes crackers is when it happens, not thirty years later, when it happens to you.