Intrepid scribbler Dana Milbank is worried for the future of America.
Why? Because Indiana Republicans are set to leave Richard Lugar in Washington.
Wait a minute, you say. Why does a politician from flyover land getting re-elected warrant a column from the man known to the community of Washington Post-It readers as Dana Milkbag? And hasn’t Lugar already enjoyed six Senate terms, enough that he didn’t qualify to vote in Indiana? Why he’s practically the Lawn Gnome of the Senate.
No, that isn’t it at all. Lugar will stay in Washington, but not as a U.S. Senator, He’ll stay as a lobbyist.
Besides being the Lawn Gnome of the Senate, what is Richard Lugar’s claim to fame? He’s an arms control guru.
Arms control, as they say, is useful when both sides want to do something that’s going to be done anyway. Don’t believe me? Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea have nuclear arms. Soon, Iran will. Did the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty (or NPT) impact their decision making? It would seem the answer is simple: no.
But Milbank is an arms control/Lugar/Republican in Name Only fanboy. And he’s worried because Indiana Republicans are set to pick Richard Mourdock to run for the Lugar-held seat in the November general election. It’s enough to get the normally flappable, disparaging, and often wrong Milbank up in arms. It would appear arms control—for Milbank, anyway—is needed:
Enter Richard Mourdock, a tea party hothead attempting to defeat Lugar in the GOP primary. A cornerstone of his effort to oust Lugar is the six-term senator’s bad habit of bipartisanship — never mind that Lugar’s bipartisanship was in the service of protecting millions of Americans from nuclear, chemical and biological terrorism.
I had the non-pleasure of hearing Lugar speak at an arms control event in early 2008 and he was a bitter, nasty, cynical small man disguised in a great-grandfather’s body who gave the least statesman-like performance I’ve observed. I was shocked to hear him consistently belittle the Bush Administration, Obama-like, for almost everything under the sun. It’s no wonder Lugar has been one of the Senate’s most reliable RINOs.
And it was clear at that event that Richard Lugar was far more worried about his arms control legacy than anything else. His transparency was painful.
So it’s no wonder that Milbank finds much to wring his hands about. The loss of a senate RINO is a scary thing.
Indeed, Mourdock, Indiana’s state treasurer, boasts about his refusal to work with Democrats. “The time for being collegial is past,” he told the New York Times recently. “It’s time for confrontation.”
There is a great deal to dislike in Mourdock’s message, but the most egregious part is his underlying contention that Lugar should be punished for cooperating with the other party — even though such cooperation protects the country against unimaginable destruction. That’s not just wrong; it’s unpatriotic.
Milbank’s thinking often falls apart, a la Tom Friedman. No Mr. Milbank, to fail to represent one’s constituents, as Richard Lugar has done, is wrong. And unpatriotic. And hypocritical. Confronting poor performance—does anyone really think the debt = GDP economy Obama has wrought is what America needs?—is necessary and beneficial. Indiana Republicans know the score.
The lesson? It’s RINO season.