Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Baron Hill Laments Dick Lugar's Defeat

As if you needed more proof of why the outcome of the vote last Tuesday was a good thing, Baron Hill wants to remind the folks he used to lord over what a good guy Dick Lugar was.

After all, Dick Lugar never campaigned for Baron Hill's opponents (as fellow Senator Evan Bayh did, even though Lugar in 2006 was on the ballot and Bayh was not), so Baron has much to be grateful for. And when Baron's man Obama ran campaign commercials in Indiana featuring Lugar, Lugar greeted them with a silent smile.

Yes, Baron has a lot to like in Dick Lugar.

Not least, Baron praises Lugar for being bipartisan. This is a curious thing, since Baron--like Joe Donnelly--has no record of bipartisanship to speak of. You certainly don't find any trace of bipartisanship in the votes by Hill and Donnelly for Obama's deficit-exploding budgets, out-of-control spending measures, failed stimulus boondoggles, or government takeover of health care.

The defeat of Sen. Richard Lugar in Tuesday’s primary election epitomizes what is wrong with Congress.

Sen. Lugar, a moderate-to-conservative Republican, is a man of thoughtful ideas, words and actions, who has worked tirelessly to better our nation and the world for future generations. He is also a man who is willing to listen to other points of view, embrace bipartisanship and, yes, compromise because he rightly acknowledges that no one has a monopoly on what is right and wrong. I say that with the utmost respect, even though “compromise” has become a four-letter word to some, unfortunately.

We teach our children to imitate the values that Sen. Lugar embodies — be patient, not reactive; listen to others and treat them how you would want to be treated; and, work well with others.

Yet, on Tuesday, those who voted for Richard Mourdock backed a man who vocally and repeatedly made no bones about his complete unwillingness to work across the aisle. His words in fact were that there is “too much bipartisanship in Congress.”

I strongly disagree. His approach will only contribute to the congressional gridlock that people in this country so rightfully despise.

America is still the shining city upon a hill. We are a nation of hard-working, caring individuals who value liberty, free enterprise and social justice. How we achieve and preserve these values has always been the subject of spirited and welcome debate in this country. Yet if we elect people to office who have only rigid and monopolizing views on these values and are not willing to listen to others, respect their point of view, and compromise, these values cannot be advanced and our country will not be well-served.

Dick Lugar understands this. Dick Lugar was and is an effective legislator. And, that is why his defeat symbolizes what is and will be wrong with Congress. Voters chose a lecturer and ideologue over a legislator.

We have witnessed a disturbing trend in the last several years on both sides of the aisle in sending people to Congress with rigid ideas, unwilling to listen and who reject moderation. The first wave included Republicans, but Democrats too are trending the same way. Just recently, moderate, bipartisan Democrats in Pennsylvania were defeated in their primary elections.

People are fed up with Congress. They dislike the gridlock and partisanship that exists in this institution, but we are sending people there who will only make it worse. Dick Lugar’s defeat is the latest example.

If we, as Americans and as voters, keep nominating rigid, uncompromising, partisan people to any office in our country, the institution of our government will continue to break down and all of us will suffer.

The defeats of Lugar and Hill represent the voters of Indiana teaching different lessons. Namely, they don't like elected officials that tell them one thing in Indiana and vote a different way in Washington, and they like elected officials that listen to what they have to say. Baron Hill and Joe Donnelly did and have done neither. Lugar, whatever his other flaws, sinned only on the latter.