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Opening Arguments

Memo from a dumb Hoosier

The Indianapolis Star's Matt Tully thinks the "far right" should leave Sen. Richard Lugar alone. He'll undoubtedly face a primary challenge from the tea party types who think "he's been in D.C. too long and worked with Democrats too often." But Lugar will survive the challenge for a lot of reasons, the chief one being that "Hoosiers are smarter than that."

But the country is nonetheless littered with veteran politicians who have seen their problems with tea partiers and the conservative base of the Republican Party cost them. Unfortunately, those who have been most at risk are in many cases those who over the years have been driven by concerns larger than silly partisanship.

That doesn't mean they've been raging liberals, or that they aren't conservative. It simply means they've been willing to have rational conversations about hot-button issues so politicized that even talking with the other side about them is tantamount to betrayal in the eyes of some die-hards.

Well, call me a dumb Hoosier. It's true, as Tully says, that Lugar votes with his party 84 percent of the time. It's also true that most of the conservative rating organizations give him high marks and the liberal ones give him low marks. But none of that really answers the argument that he might have been in Washington too long and agreed with Democrats too often. Republicans aren't right 84 percent of the time; it's when and on what issues they agree with Democrats that matter. And when compromise usually means "government will grow slightly more slowly than it would have otherwise," that's not exactly pleasing to those of us (far-right nuts that we are) who think there should be reasonable (i.e., constitutional) limits to the expansion of federal power. If you give up on "silly partisanship," that doesn't mean the other side will. It usually means you just get stomped harder and quicker.

And Republicans are challenged from the right, and Democrats get pulled by their left. That's the nature of politics, and the arguments among all those factions are what help average Americans, who aren't consumed by politics 24/7, decide where they're going to come down in a particular election. So even if I completely agreed with every nice thing Tully says about Lugar, I still wouldn't advise those who think he isn't conservative enough to keep quiet. That would be unhealthy politics.


tim zank
Fri, 08/27/2010 - 11:02am

"That doesn

Fri, 08/27/2010 - 12:12pm

I admire your willingness to stick to principles, and I don't expect Republicans to take advice from a liberal like me.
But the Tea Party movement does seem to have the effect of getting the more extremist right-wingers nominated. That's politics and it's OK with me.
I just wonder if independents will be comfortable voting for less moderate candidates - and independents are the key to winning in November.
In other words, to use that terrible metaphor, the GOP tent seems to be getting smaller, not larger.

Lewis Allen
Fri, 08/27/2010 - 5:34pm

I say hell yeah, you GO, tea partiers! Exercise your right to show us how wrong-headed you are. It's a gift to liberals.

tim zank
Fri, 08/27/2010 - 10:32pm

You may think it's a gift Lewis, but this country has taken a sharp right turn in direct response to Obama's abrupt left turn. Libs/Dems won't regain control for some time. Realistically 2020.

Just like they always do, libs over reached way too fast and really freaked out the independents and moderates and even conservative dems...

Lewis Allen
Sat, 08/28/2010 - 6:22am

Tim, I don't really disagree with your analysis. And you may well be right about the the loss of control. But I think voters are fickle, and the Republicans will face the same fate if the economy doesn't turn around while they're in control.

Larry Morris
Sat, 08/28/2010 - 1:44pm

sigh, ... one of these days perhaps we'll figure out where the middle of the road is, but I don't see it coming in my lifetime.

Andrew J.
Sat, 08/28/2010 - 4:45pm

Don't yearn for that middle of the road. You know the saying, either go left or right, because you only get hit by a truck if you stay in the middle of the road.