Green Room

Today’s main electoral events: IN & NC

posted at 11:41 am on May 8, 2012 by

With the GOP presidential nomination a near-certainty for Mitt Romney, today’s big elections concern the fates of US Sen. Dick Lugar in Indiana and same-sex marriage in North Carolina.

Taking the latter first, Gallup reports 50% of Americans are in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage (down marginally from last year’s 53%). However, the latest PPP poll suggests a SSM ban will pass, with only 39% opposing the idea. Although I tend to doubt Obama will win North Carolina in November, he undoubtedly would like to keep it in the mix of battleground states where the GOP has to spend money. Accordingly, while much will be made of the fact that SSM is backed by Democrats and Indies but largely opposed by Republicans, White House flack Jay Carney spent yesterday looking like a Dancing With The Stars contestant regarding Pres. Obama’s stated opposition to SSM.

Turning to the Indiana primary, where recent polling suggests the incumbent Lugar may get knocked off by state treasurer Richard Mourdock, I found the defense of Lugar by Peggy Noonan highly instructive, although not for the reasons she hoped:

What Washington needs is sober and responsible adults. We are as a nation in a moment of real peril, facing challenges that are going to become existential—maybe already are—if we don’t do something about them. We won’t be able to ignore them—an unsound tax system, increasing and highly ideological regulation, an entitlement system whose demands will crush our children—for long. So right now, and more than ever, we need mature folk involved in our governance, people for whom not everything is new. People who know how to do things, who began studying a complicated issue 25 years ago and have kept up, who know it backward and forward. People who know the ways of the chamber backward and forward, and who know how to talk across the aisle. There is value in experience, in accomplishment and expertise. There is value in the ability to take the long view, and do your best with modesty and with an eye toward all the big jumbly categories of America, which are not limited to “rightist” and “leftist.”

The question that argument provokes is: “What exactly has Dick Lugar done about these issues that are possibly already existential?” In explaining the main reasons Lugar may lose, Noonan manages a fairly honest answer:

If Mr. Lugar loses on Tuesday it will likely be due to two things. The first is a number: 35. That’s how many years he’s been in the Senate, how many years he’s lived and worked primarily in the environs of Washington, not Indiana, where apparently he no longer has a home. That was a mistake. Thirty-five is a big number. Nonideological people might look at it and think, “It’s time for a change.”

Please mentally underscore that Lugar apparently no longer has a home in Indiana, because virtually every establishment media account of this primary notes that Mourdock’s campaign is fueled by support from “outside groups.” Dick Lugar has become an “outside Senator,” unlikely to return to Indiana should he lose. I find it difficult to summon big, salty tears over his treatment at the hands of “outside groups.”

Noonan continues:

The other reason is a fact. What fuels conservative frustration is not only legislation like ObamaCare and scandals like Solyndra, but a growing sense that for 40 years, members of the party have sent Republicans to Washington and Washington—its spending, its regulating, its demands—keeps getting worse, not better. How could this be? It’s not just that Democrats have their Democratic ways, it’s that the Republicans they’ve sent haven’t waged a good enough fight. Everything bad there happened while they were there. So—tear it all down, remove everyone and start over.

This is a hard argument to counter because there is some truth in it. No matter who you send, Washington keeps growing. But Mr. Lugar remains as what he is, exceptional, and in his case there are many factors…

In short, the answer to the question of what Lugar has done about the possibly already extential threats to the nation is: “not much”. Indeed, Noonan praises his bipartisanship, when the go-along, get-along approach has actually fueled these threats. You know who has written eloquently about this problem? Peggy Noonan:

For conservatives on the ground, it has often felt as if Democrats (and moderate Republicans) were always saying, “We should spend a trillion dollars,” and the Republican Party would respond, “No, too costly. How about $700 billion?” Conservatives on the ground are thinking, “How about nothing? How about we don’t spend more money but finally start cutting.”


The second thing is the clock. Here is a great virtue of the tea party: They know what time it is. It’s getting late. If we don’t get the size and cost of government in line now, we won’t be able to. We’re teetering on the brink of some vast, dark new world—states and cities on the brink of bankruptcy, the federal government too. The issue isn’t “big spending” anymore. It’s ruinous spending that they fear will end America as we know it, as they promised it to their children.

While Lugar deserves credit for his work on issues like nuclear disarmament, he has contributed to the current existential threat and until now displayed no awareness of this. Had he spent more time among Hoosiers, perhaps he would have noticed their discontent. Should he lose today, he will seek solace from his real constituents in the Beltway, who will condemn the excessive partisanship of the Tea Party movement, conveniently forgetting Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) retired in 2010 because the leftwing agenda of a Democratic Congress made getting re-elected too difficult.

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Don’t forget the primary in Wisconsin!
We need people to vote for Walker as the dems have a fake republican on the ballot, hoping to keep Walker out of the running for the general election in June.
This race is important, not only for Wisconsin, but for the nation, as the union bosses and their allies(dems) will either be feeling emboldened or feeling deflated depending on the outcome going into the presidential election.

Sterling Holobyte on May 8, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Sterling Holobyte on May 8, 2012 at 12:00 PM

I just got back from the primary. I was ballot number 21 in a downtown Madison polling place. I was shocked that more people were not out voting for their candidate in the dem primary.

sammypants on May 8, 2012 at 12:15 PM

So if I read that right, Peggy Noonan wants to change the status quo….by keeping the status quo.

Bitter Clinger on May 8, 2012 at 12:36 PM

sammypants on May 8, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Good luck getting rid of the d’s and union thugs in WI! I hope Walker and the others are voted back in. You state will sure help other states keep the union thugs from doing the same thing in their states if the d’s and unions thugs/gobs of money spent loose?

letget on May 8, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Shame on me for skipping WI. My quick take would be that it says something about the Left that the recalls started out being a protest against union reforms, but have ended up not really being about the union reforms.

Karl on May 8, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Please mentally underscore that Lugar apparently no longer has a home in Indiana,

But, Indiana wants him…

mrt721 on May 8, 2012 at 1:13 PM

mrt721 on May 8, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Don’t have to click. Love me some R. Dean Taylor (as does Jonah Goldbeg, oddly enough).

Karl on May 8, 2012 at 2:16 PM

For someone who wrote speeches for Ronald Reagan, and whose ability to profit from her writing ability for the past quarter century has come in large part due to her connection to Ronald Reagan, Ms. Noonan really doesn’t understand the appeal of Reagan and why voters sent him to Washington (by which time Dick Lugar already was four years into his first Senate term, BTW).

jon1979 on May 8, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Sterling Holobyte on May 8, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Walker’s opponent in the primary is indeed a fake (I think he does clown parties when he isn’t protesting something) but is there supposedly to keep republicans from voting on the dem ticket to try to impact who faces Walker next month in the general election. Most likely he is a big Falk supporter since she is a fellow “comrade” from Dane County and has the endorsements from all the big labor unions but I think the Dem opponent is already known and it won’t be Falk…she’s so far left that shes in a different time zone.

teejk on May 8, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Just did my part to vote DICK out! In with more of those “extremist, racist, bigoted, hates-puppies-and-butterflies Tea Partiers” that want to uphold and defend the Constitution.

Peggy also seems to miss the fact that Lugar has been given an F by the NRA for defense of our 2nd Amendment. And how about rubber stamping all those liberal judges that consistently try and rewrite the Constitution. That may have more to do with it than his age there, Peggy.

search4truth on May 8, 2012 at 3:21 PM

search4truth on May 8, 2012 at 3:21 PM

Good! I dragged the wife to the polls today to cast a vote for Walker. Probably was a waste of gas since he is running against a professional protestor (I think the #1 industry in Madison) but when I realized how Obamatuer got elected it reminded me that every vote counts (especially here where the left gets to vote as many times as they want to).

Now to your reference to the NRA, I have to say if everybody voted according to their ratings we would be in much better shape than we are now. Gun rights go much further in ideology than just guns.

teejk on May 8, 2012 at 4:46 PM

Please note there’s a new LA Slimes article declaring a Mourdock win is a Democrat win. Oh, by the way, that LA Slimes article doesn’t talk about the TEA Party. It doesn’t talk about the tea party. But it does talk about the “tea party”.

In case you’re wondering, click on my trackback at the top of the comment section.

John Hitchcock on May 8, 2012 at 5:52 PM

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