Why Lugar Needs To Retire

By Michael Duncan, 10/24/11

Lugar Obama

On October 21st, FreedomWorks PAC officially endorsed Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock’s primary challenge against six-term incumbent Senator Dick Lugar.

A Republican primary endorsement against an incumbent Senator is not a proposition we take lightly. Our endorsement was made only after careful deliberation over the characteristics we look for in every candidate we evaluate:

  1. Will Mourdock stand and fight for limited government, free markets, and individual liberty? Yes.
  2. Is Mourdock a viable candidate with the campaign and fundraising prowess to win? Yes.
  3. Most importantly, do our Indiana members support Mourdock’s campaign? A resounding Yes.

On Mourdock’s candidacy and conservative credentials, the Washington Post  wrote:

“Richard Mourdock is a businessman who won the race for treasurer in 2006, a tough year for Republicans, and [led] the GOP ticket with more than 60 percent of the vote in 2010. He navigated the state through the financial crash and drew the attention of conservatives when he filed suit to try to block the auto bailoutMourdock is a rock-ribbed Republican who lists Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) among those with whom he identifies. He cites Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) for the proposition that what Republicans need is 'quality, not quantity.' They could use both actually, and the opportunity to replace Lugar with Mourdock, who stands a good chance to win in a state the Obama camp has reportedly written off, has conservatives excited.”

Mourdock’s support among grassroots conservatives in the Hoosier state is reflected in the large coalition already backing his candidacy including former Presidential candidate Herman Cain, Steve Forbes, Hoosiers for a Conservative Senate, Tea Party Express, conservative commentator Erick Erickson, radio host Mark Levin, the National Republican Trust PAC, the Minuteman PAC, Citizens United PAC, Gun Owners of America, and three-quarters of Indiana’s Republican county chairmen.

Disparaging Conservative Hoosiers

When FreedomWorks PAC endorsed Mourdock, Sen. Lugar could only muster the same tired canard used by fellow six-term establishment RINO Senator Orrin Hatch, telling the local CBS affiliate that FreedomWorks aren’t “Hoosiers and they really have nothing to do with this state. “

I have to admit, that upset me a little bit. Before I moved to DC two years ago I lived in Indiana for eleven years, going to middle school and high school in Indianapolis before attending and graduating from Indiana University in Bloomington.  I lived in Indiana for perhaps the most formative years of a young person’s life.

But what really offended me was that Sen. Lugar’s comment explicitly disparages the thousands of Hoosiers that make up our grassroots network in Indiana and all of the work we've done together.

I guess it’s hard for Sen. Lugar to identify with Hoosiers when he spends so little time in the state that reporters forget the last time he came to their city. In fact, Sen. Lugar’s visits to Indiana are so rare that, when he does come “home”, he stays in a hotel.

President Obama’s Favorite Republican is Out of Touch

Based on his record, it’s also apparently hard for Sen. Lugar to identify with conservative principles.  A week ago, after pressure from Mourdock's campaign, Lugar was forced to resign from the board of the Roosevelt Institute's Campus Network, a liberal think tank which prides itself on “engaging, empowering, and promoting the next generation of leaders through progressive policy.” Lugar had been on the board for three years.

Other board advisors for the group include liberal stalwarts like former Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), founder of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. If that’s not enough to confirm its liberal bone fides, the group’s partnering organizations include the Center for American Progress, Progressive States Network, and One Nation Working Together. They support Occupy Wall Street and have a blog which is called, no joke, New Deal 2.0.

How does a Republican elder statesman get mixed up in a group of Occupy Wall Street apologists? Because at age 79—after nearly 36 years in the Senate—Sen. Lugar has developed a knack for being routinely reckless with the causes to which he lends his name. That’s how he earned the title of “fourth most liberal Republican in the U.S. Senate.”

  • Lugar voted for the Wall Street Bailout (TARP).
  • Lugar voted to bailout Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  • Lugar voted to bailout and nationalize auto manufacturers.
  • Lugar voted for the notorious 2008 stimulus bill.
  • Lugar voted against banning earmarks.
  • Lugar voted to mandate greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Read more of Sen. Lugar’s record here.

Back in 2006, Sen. Lugar was the lead co-sponsor on then-Senator Barack Obama’s mandate-laden, ethanol boondoggle known as the “American Fuels Act of 2006”. No wonder Lugar is President Obama’s favorite Republican. Lugar spends an awful lot of time not being one.