THEY'RE both assholes. *
* As I've said here at least since January, I have absolutely no idea what the Lugar campaign is doing, or thinks it's doing, but then, that's pretty much how I'd describe his century in the US Senate, too. Lugar reacted to last year's announcement that Philo T. Nobody was gonna challenge him in the primaries the way a teenager reacts to an enormous zit turning up the night before the Big Dance. And this was in spite of the fact that just months before, "Carpetbagger Dan" Coats--who not only hadn't lived in Indiana since his memorable first stint in the Senate was ended, but had pretty much told anyone who cared that he'd never be caught dead in that sinkhole again--beat his own Teabagger challenge and took the seat formerly moistened by Evan Bayh. Or that it was just weeks after Lisa Murkowski won as a write-in candidate. Lugar's taken 2/3 of the vote or more in every re-election he's stood for. His own announcement that he intended to run for his 52nd term backed off all the Republican candidates of "stature" (Mitch Daniels, Mike Pence). If the Indiana Republican party was really so far gone as to dump Lugar in a primary he'd have won in a walk as an independent.
Instead, he took the challenge seriously, assured the public he's as loony a "conservative" as anybody, and as a result he's a whopping 5 points up now. Mourdock portrayed him as a "Washington insider" but, hell, nobody hates Washington insiders if they're doing something for ya. Lugar just couldn't think of anything, probably because, for some reason, he's spent the last six decades in DC polishing his own image as a "statesman", which has meant exactly squat. He went negative with teevee ads almost immediately, first against Barack Obama, then his challenger; if I were the sort of voter who thinks his "moderation" is excessive this would have confirmed it for me. Why he agreed to debate Mourdock is beyond me. The man was a horrible public speaker when he was alive.
Much of what Mourdock has said stuck, especially the fact that Lugar was still voting from the address of a house he sold 35 years ago. He switched his address real quick to the family farm on the southside. Th' fuck didn't you do that 35 years ago? Mourdock also noted what had happened to the Federal deficit during Lugar's tenure (he didn't mention specifically how Lugar's voted for every Defense bill that came his way, of course). It's the sort of thing that would resonate with me, if 1) I wasn't way ahead of 'em; and 2) it wasn't immediately and predictably followed by charges that Lugar had traitorously voted to confirm President Blackeyblack's communist Supreme Court nominees.
Mourdock, for his part, is precisely what you would expect: a tenth-rate Randoid intellect who's discovered that blaming everything on taxes and regulation is a good way to garner campaign contributions. Lugar's hit him on accepting Out of State Money, without ever mentioning that those Extra-Hoosier sources were the big names in libertoonian licensed begging which have been nurtured in Lugar's own GOP.
And last night's debate didn't disappoint, in that it was utterly disappointing. They're both Republicans. They both dislike the President, and public healthcare. Lugar did actually stand up for a tiny bitty bit of government regulation, provided everybody was okay with it. Lugar won't really run on his record (which is closer to Reactionary than Moderate), and Mourdock won't roll out the Full Metal Crazy until it's time to mention that the Democratic candidate is a pinko. In other words, it was the Republican Presidential primary race without the disagreements. Wake me when there's a Republican faction that gets sick of its own lying.