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Opening Arguments

Deal or no deal

The Lugar-Mourdock race is about core principles. Some people get that:

What all of this means is the NRA and other conservative groups don’t agree with former Senator Rick Santorum that “sometimes you take one for the team” by allowing even your principles to be negotiable.

That kind of clarity is what’s cutting right through rhetoric and forcing politicians to keep their promises or else. While Grover Norquist has etched a line in granite on taxes, the NRA has done the same thing over the Second Amendment.

Politicians who prefer to blow on the Machiavellian winds of public opinion are baffled by this you’re-with-us-or-you’re-not attitude. Lugar, for example, seems almost as confused as Senator Arlen Specter was before his 2010 primary loss. Speaking with reporters in Washington, D.C., last month Lugar even seemed unsure as to whether the Tea Party is a good or bad thing.

And some don't:

 The shame of it is not that six-term Indiana Senator Dick Lugar is on the ropes because his lifetime 77 percent rating from the American Conservative Union is now judged as "too liberal" for the increasingly right-leaning politics of Indiana. That is a judgment for the voters to make. The shame of it is that the challenger, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, has been allowed to turn "statesman" into a dirty word.

He mocks Lugar for his work to build a bipartisan coalition to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists, stating flatly that "The time for being collegial is past -- it's time for confrontation."