When Indiana Republicans go to the polls on Tuesday, they will do more than choose a candidate for the Senate. They will choose between party and country.So begins this well written column by the usually snarky Dana Milbank. In it he provides a clear contrast between Senator Dick Lugar, certainly no liberal but an important voice for nuclear sanity, and the the tea-party hothead and favorite Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock. The second paragraph clearly indicates the thrust of the column:
That’s a stark assessment but true. On one side is a man who has made it his life’s work to build a cross-aisle consensus for keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists and rogue states. On the other side is a man who mocks his opponent for such efforts and who talks more about fighting Democrats than fighting America’s enemies.Milbank not only goes through the important achievements of Lugar's tenure in the Senate, such as the1992 Nunn-Lugar Act "which has disarmed thousands of Soviet nuclear warheads once aimed at the United States." He also shows how Mourdock has distorted statements of President Obama to try to tarnish Lugar with being insufficiently conservative: Mourdock cuts off a presidential statement about working with Obama without allowing completion of the statement in which Obama said “I’ve worked with Republican Senator Dick Lugar to pass a law that will secure and destroy some of the world’s deadliest, unguarded weapons.”
Mourdock also criticizes Lugar for voting for Obama's SCOTUS nominees, while neglecting to mention that Lugar also voted for all 5 Conservative members of the Court. In fact, Lugar voted for all 9 current members of SCOTUS - he is inclined to defer to a president on such matters absent strong reason not to. Hell, Lugar even voted for Robert Bork!
Mourdock condemns Lugar for supporting the START Treaty, the assault weapons ban and theDream Act. Lugar also voted against Obama’s stimulus, health-care plan and financial reforms. “His bipartisanship, his willingness to push the Obama agenda, has caused him to be labeled President Obama’s favorite Republican senator,” Mourdock falsely alleges in one ad.Lugar is more conservative in his voting record than either Senator from Maine.
I will offer the closing words of this very good column by Milbank, which I encourage you to read in its entirety:
Some Democrats hope that Mourdock beats Lugar because it would increase the likelihood that Democrat Joe Donnelly will win the seat in November. But that’s not why Hoosier Republicans should reject Mourdock. They should reject him because they still believe that national security trumps partisanship.