With the primary elections in neighboring Indiana coming up in less than two weeks, a part of me would like to say that I’m finding some humor in the battle for the U.S. Senate seat up for grabs in that state.
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Then again, there really isn’t anything humorous about blatantly-partisan political brawls. Because invariably, someone – if not everyone – is acting irrationally.
IN THE HOOSIER state, long-time Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., would like to think he’s such an institution in the U.S. Senate that he’s unbeatable. He may turn out to be.
But there’s no way that Lugar will get through this primary election without a brawl that will leave many bloodied – including himself.
Lugar may have to campaign more aggressively than Rep. Jesse Jackson, D-Ill., -- who managed in the Illinois primary to defeat former Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson by a good margin but had to campaign aggressively for every vote.
And in the end, the impression in Illinois was that it was Halvorson’s short-comings that caused her defeat – rather than any sense that people really wanted Jackson back in Washington on their behalf.
THAT MAY WIND up being the same explanation that gets used for a May 8 electoral victory for Lugar over his primary election opponent – Richard Mourdock, who is the Indiana state treasurer.
Yet the Mourdock backers are really nothing more than ABL’s – as in they want to ensure that Anybody But Lugar gets the Republican Party’s nomination for the Senate seat come the Nov. 6 general election.
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Seeing that Indiana is likely to revert back to its usual Republican ways (unlike 2008 when a majority of Hoosiers were willing to back Barack Obama), they probably feel that this upcoming primary IS the general election.
And the ideologues who want to believe that “Tea Party” is permanent (rather than just the fad of ’10) would like to think that if they can get their ideologue-sympathizing official through the primary, they can have another seat in the U.S. Senate seat.
WHICH MEANS MORE gridlock for a “President Obama,” or the ability to ram through a blatantly partisan agenda without having to regard the concerns of the masses if, by chance, a GOPer were to win a future presidential election!
Such an attitude may well be the Democratic Party’s biggest dream, since their candidate, Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., (who represents the area around South Bend and can reach out to all those Notre Dame alums scattered around the world) has gone so far as to do some fundraising in Chicago.
Politically-connected people in Illinois have been willing to write out their own checks in support on the off-chance that it would mean one-less member of Congress who is openly hostile toward urban interests (which is what most of the Tea Party types truly are).
It is why I found it humorous to read stories on Friday putting great stock in the idea that the 2008 Republican pairing of John McCain and Sarah Palin are split on Indiana.
McCAIN SUPPORTS HIS Senate colleague Lugar, while Palin prefers Mourdock on ideological grounds. Which should have been blatantly apparent from Day One of this election cycle. That’s what this whole election cycle taking place just east of State Line Road has devolved into.
What I found more interesting is the way in which the two announced their support – McCain with a statement issued live, while Palin put a blurb on her Facebook page for people who want to live in her world and don’t want to be reminded about reality!
So can Lugar’s establishment credentials fight off the ideologues, many of whom argue that Lugar has been around for so long (John Travolta as “Tony Manero” was the pop icon image back when Lugar first got elected to the Senate, and Farrah Fawcett still was a “Majors”) that it’s time for him to go.
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I’d like to laugh at the idea of Hoosiers being so short-sighted.
BUT THEN, I’D have to admit we, in Illinois, pulled a similar maneuver back in March.
Remember long-time Rep. Donald Manzullo, R-Ill.? He wound up getting dumped into a primary fight with rookie Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill. – and Kinzinger won!!!
Evidence indicates many people in that district thought of it in terms of age, and preferred the image of a young guy over an old coot, no matter how experienced he was or how ideologically in-line to the residents of his district he truly was.
Because I really think that the people who rant and rage about Lugar being some sort of liberal freak are seriously misguided. They’re showing their own short-comings by engaging in such trash talk.
THE FACT THAT Mourdock is willing to let himself be aligned with such people makes me wonder about him – even though I know there are Dems who will argue that I should “Shut up!” and let him win, so that their guy can prevail in November.
Will that happen? I don’t know. Personally, my ‘gut feeling’ says Lugar will win the primary and general election, and come Nov. 7 will feel so battered that he’ll wonder if “six more years” in Washington was worth it.