Saturday, May 5, 2012

This Is It for Lugar

Senator Richard Lugar
Richard Lugar is a man that I've known all my life, but I've only met him a few times.  He's a man that I've admired and followed since, frankly, I could probably understand anything about politics.  Unless there is some major movement in the Senate race, Lugar is probably through in the Senate in January.

Unbelievably, Richard Mourdock has captured lightning in a bottle and is, if you believe almost every recent poll, going to defeat Lugar on Tuesday perhaps bringing about the beginning of the end of a remarkable life in politics.

Lugar began his political career on the Indianapolis Public Schools Board of School Commissioners.  From there, he would be elected Mayor of Indianapolis where he made a ton of change and laid the groundwork for Indy's move from Naptown to the Super City we know today.  After that, it was on to the Senate where he has built a solid record as a statesman and foreign policy expert.  He ran for President briefly in 1996.  In all that time, however, Lugar has continued to be a strong voice for Indiana farmers.

At the heart of it, if you look at what Lugar has done over his career, he really has been one of the most accomplished Hoosiers in history.  It's very sad to see the state turn its back on him.  I can't say that I blame Republican voters, though.  Lugar really has not helped himself.

I am perplexed as to why this man thought it was a good idea to live in Virginia and only stay in hotels when he was here in the state.  I am perplexed as to why Lugar would not maintain some sort of residence here in the state.  These were poor choices.  I think it was also a poor choice for Senator Lugar to go so negative so fast in this race.  I believe the campaign misread this election.  Rather than explaining his record and accomplishments, Lugar's camp decided to deride its critics.  That was not smart.

In the end, it looks like retirement from the Senate is coming perhaps six years early.  If the Senator loses on Tuesday and leaves the Senate he loves in January, I want to thank him for everything he's done for Hoosiers.  I want to thank him for all the students he's helped and for the many thoughtful letters he's sent to constituents.  I want to thank him for all the pictures he's taken and hands that he's shaken.  I thank him for the miles he's run for charity and the way he has stood up for farmers.

Most of all, I want to thank Senator Lugar for being someone Indiana could, regardless of party, be proud of in the Senate.  Richard Lugar may lose on Tuesday, but the kind of respect and clout he's brought to our state because of the way he's conducted himself in office is not measurable.  Thanks for being someone I could look up to for these 36 years, Senator Lugar.

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