So, you think Sen. Richard Lugar has become too much of a Washington insider, has strayed too far from conservative principles, is far too fond of government solutions, has become a comfortable part of the ruling elite? You think someone from the right should mount a serious challenge against him in the 2012 primary? Well, you bad, bad person, you despicable political animal, you detestable voter. Don't you realize how lucky you are to have somebody like Lugar, who is, frankly, far too good for the likes of you, watching over your interests?
Now, in the heat of the post-primary lame-duck Congressional session, he is defying his party on an earmark ban, a bill that would create a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants, a military spending authorization bill and an arms control treaty with Russia.
[. . .]
Even after the midterm rout that will remove many long-serving members from Congress, the idea that Mr. Lugar would be vulnerable to a primary challenge is a chilling notion to many Republicans, a symbol of symbolism gone too far.
“If Dick Lugar,” said John C. Danforth, a former Republican senator from Missouri, “having served five terms in the U.S. Senate and being the most respected person in the Senate and the leading authority on foreign policy, is seriously challenged by anybody in the Republican Party, we have gone so far overboard that we are beyond redemption.”
There you have it. We should be grateful to have Dick Lugar in Washington and stop all that partisan bickering and whining. John C. Danforth and The New York Times say so. It's all very well to dabble with symbolism a little by sending a rightwing nut to Washington once in a while, but, heavens, let's never get to the point where we recognize a symbol of symbolism gone too far. We must never let a symbol of symbolism take precedence over a substance of substances.