Two Republican senators are said to be especially in the Tea Party's sights. Orrin Hatch's reaction: Oh, look, I can, too, tack right. Richard Lugar's reaction: Nyah, nyah, nyah:
"It's almost as if he's inviting a primary challenge," one frustrated Beltway Republican said this week as Lugar agitated for the DREAM Act and stood by his earmarks in the omnibus. Lugar's spokesman told me Friday that the senator had not made up his mind on the omnibus before Democrats pulled it.
Being undecided on that pork-filled spending bill puts Lugar at the far Left end of the GOP caucus. Spokesman Mark Helmke attributed Lugar's indecision to his focus on ratifying the START Treaty with Russia, which is a prime target for Sen. Jim DeMint, the champion of insurgent Republicans.
"I think he still doesn't get it," a conservative Hill staffer told me. One Republican political operative says Lugar's just been in town so long he's lost touch with his party. "I don't think he's intentionally trying to dare people to run against him. I just think he's tone-deaf."
State Sen. Mike Delph and State Trasurer Richard Mourdock are listed as potential primary challengers. The piece notes that Lugar's salvation might be a crowded primary that would enable him to win with less than 50 percent of the vote.