Thursday, May 10, 2012

It’s Tough to Figure U.S. Politics

     U.S. Senator from Indiana, Richard G. Luger

It’s Amazing that the Republican Party rejected one of its most significant statesmen U.S. Senators. It makes what’s happening in the nation very difficult to figure out.
by Charlie Leck

“It might be argued that America is moving toward the most important election in its young history.”

On Tuesday night, Republicans in Indiana sent their distinguished U.S. Senator packing.


“So long!”

“See ya!”

“Hit the road, Jack, and don’t come back!”

Even when you’re a staunch Democrat, there are certain Republicans you grow to, at the very least, respect. For me, Richard Lugar, the Senator from Indiana, was one of those. He’s a very bright man and he’s well spoken. He’s also respectful and a good listener. He’s a politician the way you want a politician to be – fair, clean and tough. He served in the U.S. Senate for 35 years. Ask around about the Senate’s brightest members on U.S. foreign affairs and Lugar will be at or near the top of the list.

Indiana, however, has apparently had enough of Richard G. Lugar and they gave him a pink slip. The defeat is clearly the work of the Tea Party. They want to send to Washington another hack who will “never compromise” and create nothing but problems in building a government that functions and works for the people. They chose a fellow with no experience in global or national matters and they’ll send him to Washington with strict orders – say “no” to increases in taxes and “tear apart” entitlements.

The foolish idea of severe, crippling austerity continues. The Democrats in Indiana have an opportunity to argue their case. They’ll try to convince Indiana residents that we need to rebuild government and not tear it down. They’ve endorsed, Joe Donnelly, a centrist Democrat, to run against the super-conservative Republican candidate. All eyes will be on Indiana as that campaign evolves.

As for me, even as a member of the progressive side of the political spectrum, I’ve got to say to Senator Richard G. Lugar that I respect what he accomplished and how he did it.

“Thanks, sir, for such good and honorable service to your country!”

President Obama and Vice President Biden both spoke highly of Luger after they heard the news of his defeat. Obama praised him for being willing to reach across the aisle to get things done.

“He served his constituents and his country well,” Obama said, “and I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

“We never had a cross word,” Biden said.

I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that it was outside groups – outside of Indiana – that poured huge amounts of money into the primary campaign to defeat Luger. And, the Tea Party is hard at work at this very moment in an attempt to topple other moderate candidates for the U.S. Senate spots on the November ballot.

If this radical political movement is successful, America is going to be a very different looking place in January of 2013 and we’ll be in for a very stormy ride. Under the severe spending reductions that ultra-conservatives will pursue, poverty and homelessness in America will increase. Progressives will lose a great deal of voice and influence.

It might be argued that America is moving toward the most important election in its young history.

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