Among the lessons of Syria for Barack Obama, there is one that stands out: the destruction of the Republican foreign policy establishment makes his job harder, and the president is now suffering the consequences of his choice to avoid, as much as possible, dealing with the fallout from torture during the George W. Bush administration.
The Tea Party’s power may have waned with the public writ large, but as TheNew York Timesshows, the brand still has plenty of currency with Republican primary voters:
In Arizona, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas, Republican Senate candidates are vying for the mantle of Tea Party outsider. A number of them say that they would seek to press an agenda that is generally to the right of the minority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and that they would demand a deeper policy role for the Senate’s growing circle of staunch conservatives.
This morning, Mike Allen lamented the loss of Indiana Senator Dick Lugar with—predictably—a complaint about partisanship on both sides:
Look at the two Blue Dogs who lost primaries in Pennsylvania last month, plus the Lugar result, and the quick extinction of moderates in both parties over the past decade, and there is one inescapable conclusion: This town could get even more ungovernable and polarized in November.
When he was the young mayor of Indianapolis in the late Sixties and early Seventies, Richard Lugar was acclaimed by Richard Nixon as his favorite mayor. An orthodox Main Street Republican, stiff despite his years, Lugar was competent, conventional and Nixonian in a good way (studious, intellectually ambitious) without any of Big Dick’s phobias. He brought those attributes to the Senate, where in recent decades he took on the challenge of ridding the world of loose nukes. It was a task that required him to work alongside his Democratic colleagues, which was never a problem for Lugar in any case.
Dick Lugar hanging out with some Hollywood liberal. (Flickr/Talk Radio News Service)
Today in Indiana, Senator Richard Lugar will probably be defeated in a Republican primary by Richard Mourdock, the state treasurer, 3-time failed congressional candidate, and Tea Party favorite. Lugar might be the single most respected member of the Senate, a guy who has been in office for 35 years, has carved out areas of interest and expertise that don't bring with them anything in the way of contributions or votes (foreign affairs, nuclear proliferation), and finds areas where he can work with Democrats. And that, of course, was his undoing. Perhaps Lugar's greatest sin in their eyes was that he maintained a good relationship with Barack Obama (horrors!). The Tea Party may be fading, but it had enough left in its tank to knock Lugar out.
Writing in TheWashington Post, Bruce Ackerman and Oona Hathawaynote the Obama administration's apparent disregard for the War Powers Act:
This week, the War Powers Act confronts its moment of truth. Friday will mark the 60th day since President Obama told Congress of his Libyan campaign. According to the act, that declaration started a 60-day clock: If Obama fails to obtain congressional support for his decision within this time limit, he has only one option — end American involvement within the following 30 days.
Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar, who has been in the Senate since 1976, got a primary challenger today, state treasurer and Tea Partier Richard Mourdock. Not only that, Mourdock circulated a list at his announcement claiming that 67 of the 92 county Republican chairs are endorsing him. If that's true, it doesn't bode too well for Lugar, who has long been seen as the Republican most vulnerable to a primary challenge in 2012.
The future of energy and climate legislation is once again uncertain in the Senate -- inertia seems to be the legislation's perpetual state of being at this point -- and the possibility of a compromise that would pass energy-standard regulations but not cap-and-trade is looming. One such compromise is the less-than-thrilling package Sen. Dick Lugar has cooked up.
Not only did Evan Bayhrob Democrats of a sure election bet for Indiana, but he did it in such a way they'll have a hard time recovering: The senator announced his resignation days away from a deadline to qualify for the primary ballot and without informing senior Democratic leadership. Nate Silverpoints out how important Bayh was for Democrats, and, therefore, how bad his loss is for the party.