Indiana’s Hangover

Well, we’ve had our “party”–yesterday was Primary Election day.

Today, we have to live with the hangover.

The most troubling result, of course, was the defeat of Dick Lugar by an embarrassing know-nothing unworthy to polish his shoes. I have posted several times about the pathetic campaign run by a once-towering statesman. Truth be told, Lugar has moved steadily to the right as the party’s base has migrated to the fringes, and a dignified retirement might have rescued his legacy. That said, to see a man of genuine stature defeated by a cartoon was hard to take.

Add to that ignominious defeat the victories of equally noxious GOP congressional candidates in safe districts–districts where the Primary is for all intents and purposes THE election–and Indianapolis and Indiana can kiss all of the good PR we generated from the SuperBowl good-by. By our dingbats we shall be known….

The open question is: what will Hoosiers do in November? Will we confirm our status as a buckle on the Bible Belt, electing Mike Pence (who, in his years in Congress, never managed to pass a single bill, but spent LOTS of time talking about what God wanted) and Tea Partier Richard Mourdock? Or will we come to our senses?

The Democrats running for Governor and Senator are, by national standards, conservative. (As my youngest son says about the Gregg-Pence matchup, we have a choice: we can go back to the 1950s or the 1590s.) Joe Donnelly is a “blue dog.” Neither will satisfy true progressives. But both are good people, savvy and compassionate and vastly preferable to Pence and Mourdock.

To all my Republican friends who voted for Dick Lugar, and all my Democratic friends who swallowed hard, took a GOP Primary ballot and did likewise, let me echo the Facebook message posted this morning by a friend from Lafayette: Our job is to ensure that there is NEVER a Senator Mourdock. To which I’ll add: or a Governor Pence.

The last thing we need is “hair of the dog.”


  1. Completely Agreed. Did you see that Mourdock wants to “Ban the EPA’? What a crackpot, clearly he does not know what that organization even does…

  2. It is very troubling to watch Mourdocks’ pledge for even greater polarization in politics being so readily embraced. What ever happened to the idea of the “sensible center”? Will the voice of the majority (I hope) who want collaboration and open dialog be muffled by the bullies on the fringe? One of the lessons I took away from your class in Grad School was that fear and crisis make for bad decisions and lead to bad policy. I foresee Mourdock working towards only creating an environment built on constant fear and crisis.

  3. I hope people get motivated this time. And just for the record, there is a president to elect too. A good friend of mine who worked his head off for Sen Lugar just volunteered at the Gregg office. They told him they are hearing from LOTS of Lugar people. sounds good. Just remember, we need the whole team.

  4. I am not overly confident in the abilities of either campaign (Gregg and/or Donnelly) to capitalize upon the shortcomings of either Rep. Pence or Secy. Mourdock. I don’t know what passes for statewide “political strategy” these days, but if Melina Kennedy’s latest “effort” was the harbinger, then doom awaits us all.

  5. I sent an E-mail to Senator Lugar this morning to let him know i am deeply sorry he is being ousted this way, poor campaigning or not. He had two major factors in his favor; the Tea Party and NRA were both anti-Lugar. I also E-mailed Matthew Tully at the Star thanking him for his column today regarading Senator Lugar’s loss. NO, I did NOT vote for Senator Lugar, I voted the Democrat ticket but hoped Senator Lugar would remain to retire with dignity should he win in November. Contrary to accusations by the Republican party he certainly was not a liberal; the times he did not vote along party lines where on issues where he voted his conscience and for what he believed would beneft the American people. Mourdock is but one of our worries in this upcoming election; how low will he go in his campaign between now and November? All of this means we need to fight harder and urge everyone we know to vote…and keep abreast of Sheila’s important, informative articles on this blog. Thanks, Sheila.

  6. Fabulous, Sheila! When I heard Michelle Bachman had gained Swiss citizenship today, I found I became very envious as this particular election result has deeply saddened me and made me question our way of doing business in politics in America!
    See you at Rene’s. Sherry

  7. I voted for Senator Lugar more than once. I nonetheless have difficulty understanding how he “moved steadily to the right” when he voted for Kagan, Sotamayor, Ginsburg, continued pork barrel spending, and the DREAM act.

    We face a choice in our societal near-abandonment of personal responsibility as an expectation of individuals, within corporations, and in government. Do we pursue the excesses of free enterprise capitalism, or expect universal productivity to finally materialize to pay for universal benefits?

    Which do you think actually has the greater liklihood of success?

  8. ” Do we pursue the excesses of free enterprise capitalism, or expect universal productivity to finally materialize to pay for universal benefits?”

    This obviously doesn’t have to be an either/or.

  9. Perhaps. But, in the context of economic, behavioral, and historical reality (not how you or I wish it could be), how are we to successfully govern the masses?

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