Outgoing Indiana Republican Senator Richard Lugar issued a remarkable statement after he was defeated in the GOP Primary Tuesday by Tea Party-endorsed challenger Richard Mourdock. He did not title it Reflections on the Revolution in the Republican Party, but he may as well have (and he did name-check Edmund Burke).
The entire statement is worth reading, but here are a few key graphs. Lugar on taking a political position — and then sticking with it in a campaign:
And this point about the Republicans’ favorite tax-raiser/compromiser, Ronald Reagan:
“I knew that I had cast recent votes that would be unpopular with some Republicans and that would be targeted by outside groups.
These included my votes for the TARP program, for government support of the auto industry, for the START Treaty, and for the confirmations of Justices Sotomayor and Kagan… It was apparent that these positions would be attacked in a Republican primary. But I believe that they were the right votes for the country, and I stand by them without regrets, as I have throughout the campaign.
One can be very conservative or very liberal and still have a bipartisan mindset. Such a mindset acknowledges that the other party is also patriotic and may have some good ideas. It acknowledges that national unity is important, and that aggressive partisanship deepens cynicism, sharpens political vendettas, and depletes the national reserve of good will that is critical to our survival in hard times. Certainly this was understood by President Reagan, who worked with Democrats frequently and showed flexibility that would be ridiculed today — from assenting to tax increases in the 1983 Social Security fix, to compromising on landmark tax reform legislation in 1986, to advancing arms control agreements in his second term.
Well said, Senator.