I admire him [Cecil Rhodes], I honestly do. And when his time comes I shall ask for a piece of the rope as a souvenir.
NOTHING is ever going to change my perception of Dick Lugar. As long as I live he's the man who--five years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and four years after the Voting Rights Act--spearheaded his party's (successful) efforts to re-disenfranchise African-American voters in Indianapolis, by moving the city's boundaries to accommodate White Flight and Republican majorities.
Hey, Robert Byrd apologized for his Klan membership. If Lugar's said anything to the black community in Indianapolis in forty years I don't know what it might've been. You can shove all that intervening "statesman" crap into a tricorn hat.
Lugar turned his status as Richard Nixon's favorite mayor into a losing Senatorial campaign in 1974, and a landslide victory in 1976. Which, to paraphrase the Republican country chairman in this Roll Call piece, was the last time we saw Dick Lugar in Indiana. It is, without question, the last time he lived here. Or owned a home here. Or voted from a legitimate address. And, of course, that guy from Morgan county voted for him seven times after that 1970 rubber chicken deal. Lugar's absentee landlordism, his thirty years of self-aggrandizement, came as a result of his Republican sinecure, and came at the expense of Indiana issues. (Do we really need "statesmen" in the U.S. Senate?) What have Indiana Republicans said about this in the preceding thirty five years: a) Zip; b) Zilch; c) Nada ?
If he's gone he's got himself--and his staff--to blame; I found this impossible as little as six months ago, but Lugar used whatever masses of money he'd accumulated by not being challenged since Jimmy Carter was president to go negative early, loudly, and incessantly. The bright boys are talking about what a mistake that was--now they're talking about it--but none of 'em was asking why Lugar didn't come out and defend his vaunted "moderation" in the first place. Because, y'know, everybody knows screaming "Repeal Obamacare" is a certified winner. Unless you're talking to the general public.
No way I'd be sorry to see him go, just sad to have to hear about the "resurgence" of the Teabaggers for the next six months (and the magic of that Sarah Palin endorsement, made a week ago), in addition to watching the inevitable Democratic fumblefest in response. These guys can scream all they wanna; in the end they're going to replace Dan Burton with another nutjob, and Lugar--maybe--with another reliable vote for the ACU, while replacing Lugar's Washington insider with a Club for Growth automaton. As Doc Johnson once said the fellow seems to possess but one idea, and that a wrong one.
We can't let this go without mentioning minute Indiana governor Mitch "Friends Like These" Daniels, whose entire political career is Lugar's fault. Mitch turned up a couple weeks ago in ads shot on the Lugar farm, where he looked almost as out of place as Lugar would've. Daniels's spiel--it was bruited about that he'd written it himself--talked about backing Lugar "not for what he's done, but what he will do". Which I believe in known in literary circles as "damning with faint praise the geezer who refused to retire this year and let you ascend to his seat". Daniels--who really is P.T. Barnum without the showmanship--had this to say to Roll Call:
“Richard Mourdock is a credible guy,” Daniels told Roll Call. “He’s not somebody who appeared from nowhere on the fringe of politics. He’s a two-term official elected statewide.”He's a slimy opportunist who somehow managed to turn a career as an also-ran into a nomination for State Treasurer. The last time the Indiana Treasurer wasn't selected by straight-ticket voting for the governor's party, Corydon was the state capital.
I sure won't be sorry to see Lugar go. Too bad he didn't leave eighteen years ago, when an assembly of Hoosier voters expressed their hatred of the sitting Democratic president by helping him crush the late Jim Jontz.