Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN) ties with Orrin Hatch as the longest serving Republican in the Senate. When Lugar faces primary voters next year, Republicans should choose someone else. Here are five reasons why.
1) He’s Fiscally Irresponsible.
With the exception of his opposition to ObamaCare, Lugar has gotten nearly all the big issues wrong when it comes to spending. In 2008, he voted in favor of TARP and bailouts for Fannie and Freddie and the auto industry. In 2009, Lugar voted for expansion of CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) and against a bill to return unused TARP funds. Lugar has also consistently opposed efforts to place a moratorium on earmarks. In times that call for austerity, Lugar’s susceptibility to big spending makes him a liability.
2) He’s a Foe of the Second Amendment.
In the aftermath of the Tucson shootings, Senator Lugar called for the re-imposition of the expired ban on assault weapons. Meanwhile, even President Obama edged away from easy answers, and most Democrats have political sense enough to know that the American people don’t want more gun control laws.
Lugar’s support for gun control has been a hallmark of his career. Lugar holds a career “F” rating from Gun Owners of America. In 2009, Lugar voted to uphold the D.C. gun ban, while the Democratic Senate voted to overturn it by a 62-36 margin. In an era when Second Amendment advocacy is bipartisan, Lugar’s support for more gun control is a political anachronism.
3) He Supports Amnesty and He’s Weak on Illegal Immigration.
Senator Lugar was a key backer of the attempt to pass the DREAM Act. His voting record shows a clear support for amnesty, federal funding for sanctuary cities, and allowing illegal aliens to participate in Social Security.
4) His Version of Bipartisanship Is Going Along with the Democrats.
The media commonly praises Lugar for being bi-partisan. However, for Lugar, bipartisanship doesn’t mean getting Democrats to back conservative measures, or even half-measures, in the interests of the American people. It means voting with the Democrats.
Lugar supported the Supreme Court confirmation of Justice Kagan and Justice Sotomayor as well as the confirmation of Eric Holder for attorney general, despite serious questions about the fitness and qualification of these nominees. Lugar also opposed the McCain amendment to the START treaty to protect our nation’s missile defense program.
On any number of issues that conservatives needed to win, Lugar delivered votes for the Democrats and gave them bipartisan cover.
Despite Lugar’s generosity in backing Democrats, they do not give him their own support. Democrats united against Lugar in opposing the nomination of John Bolton as UN ambassador when Lugar was chair of the Foreign Relations Committee. Lugar’s frequent siding with the Democrats doesn’t create an environment of cooperation. It only helps the Democrats move their agenda through Congress.
5) We Can Do Better.
Lugar is not the most liberal Republican running for re-election. Senators Scott Brown (R-MA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) are far more liberal overall. However, it’s doubtful anyone more conservative could be elected in their New England states. Some fear a repeat of the Christine O’Donnell situation, which saw a conservative win the primary but lose the general election in a state a strong conservative can’t win.
Lugar’s state, Indiana, has a history of electing far stronger conservative Republicans, including former Vice President Dan Quayle, Senator Dan Coats, and Governor Mitch Daniels. Indiana Republicans can do better than Lugar and still win the general election. With the right Senate candidate, Indiana has the opportunity to send a senator to Washington who will stand solidly for conservative values.
After nearly four decades of Dick Lugar, it’s about time.