Thursday, May 10, 2012

Donnelly Embodies Lugar's Success Plan in Senate

U.S. Senate Democratic Nominee
Rep. Joe Donnelly
Maybe inadvertently, maybe intentionally, but Richard Lugar may have given Joe Donnelly some political ammunition to use in the fall against Richard Mourdock.

If you haven't yet read Lugar's 1,400 word concession statement, you really should.  Lugar really lays out his opinion of how politics is working in this country today, and it really isn't pretty.  In fact, I think it's one of the most honest and pointed insider looks at modern Washington that I've read.  Lugar's point is that divisiveness is not where it's at and that bipartisanship is not a bad thing when it comes to dealing with the nation's biggest problems.  While he endorses Mourdock mostly because he's a Republican, he really doesn't endorse Mourdock's concept of what a U.S. Senator should be.  Instead, he indirectly endorses the kind of Senator Joe Donnelly might be.

Richard Mourdock is on the record in saying that he's going to Washington to push a conservative agenda at all costs.  He told Fox News that his idea of bipartisanship is for Democrats to come over to the Republican way of thinking.  That's just the sort of thing Lugar argues against.

Lugar wrote:
"If Mr. Mourdock is elected, I want him to be a good Senator.  But that will require him to revise his stated goal of bringing more partisanship to Washington.  He and I share many positions, but his embrace of an unrelenting partisan mindset is irreconcilable with my philosophy of governance and my experience of what brings results for Hoosiers in the Senate.  In effect, what he has promised in his campaign is reflexive votes for a rejectionist orthodoxy and rigid opposition to the actions and proposals of the other party.  His answer to the inevitable roadblocks he will encounter in Congress is to merely campaign for more Republicans who embrace the same partisan outlook.  He has pledged his support to groups whose prime mission is to cleanse the Republican Party of those who stray from the orthodoxy as they see it. 
Senator Richard Lugar
"This is not conducive to problem solving and governance.  And he will find that unless he modifies his approach, he will achieve little as a legislator.  Worse, he will help delay solutions that are totally beyond the capacity of partisan majorities to achieve.  The most consequential of these is stabilizing and reversing the Federal debt in an era when millions of baby boomers are retiring.  There is little likelihood that either party will be able to impose their favored budget solutions on the other without some degree of compromise."

He continued:
"Unfortunately, we have an increasing number of legislators in both parties who have adopted an unrelenting partisan viewpoint.  This shows up in countless vote studies that find diminishing intersections between Democrat and Republican positions.  Partisans at both ends of the political spectrum are dominating the political debate in our country.  And partisan groups, including outside groups that spent millions against me in this race, are determined to see that this continues.  They have worked to make it as difficult as possible for a legislator of either party to hold independent views or engage in constructive compromise.  If that attitude prevails in American politics, our government will remain mired in the dysfunction we have witnessed during the last several years.  And I believe that if this attitude expands in the Republican Party, we will be relegated to minority status.  Parties don't succeed for long if they stop appealing to voters who may disagree with them on some issues. 
"Legislators should have an ideological grounding and strong beliefs identifiable to their constituents.  I believe I have offered that throughout my career.  But ideology cannot be a substitute for a determination to think for yourself, for a willingness to study and issue objectively, and for the fortitude to sometimes disagree with your party or even your constituents.  Like Edmund Burke, I believe leaders owe the people they represent their best judgment."
Lugar goes on to point out how Ronald Reagan worked across the aisle and had to do some things he didn't necessarily want to do to save social security and pass his agenda.  He says that bipartisanship isn't giving up your closely held beliefs and that very liberal or very conservative people can still compromise and practice bipartisanship to move forward.

U.S. Senate GOP Nominee
Richard Mourdock
Richard Mourdock believes that bipartisanship has gotten us to this tipping point that we are at today, but it actually is what Lugar points out.  It's the LACK of bipartisanship that has us here now.  It's the fact that we can't pass anything out of the Senate right now without 60 votes.  It's the fact that the House will pass things it knows the Senate won't and vice versa.  It's the disingenuous manner that politicians on both sides of the aisle point fingers when they know that gridlocks exist right now.

In short, the Richard Mourdocks of the world are the problem.  They aren't the solution.  The Joe Donnelly's of the world would more seem to fit the mold of the type of candidate that gets things done in the Senate.  Donnelly isn't perfect for me as a candidate.  I have trouble reconciling many of his votes, but I know he can work across the aisle.  I don't think Mourdock can or has any interest in doing it.  That's this campaign:  Partisan vs. Bipartisan...Obstruction vs. Cooperation...Pessimism vs. Progress...Mourdock vs. Donnelly (and Andy Horning, too).

I salute Richard Lugar for his service, and I hope he uses his bully pulpit while he has it to continue to spread this word about what's wrong with Congress and Washington, in general.  It's not just the Republicans.  This problem is systemic.  It's time to tell the Richard Mourdocks of the world That's Enough Already!

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