“In a political culture where moderation is the new heresy, centrism is fast becoming the new black.

“Political outliers – not quite Republican, not quite Democrat – are forming new alliances in a communal search for ‘Home.’ Exhausted by extremism and aching for real change, more and more Americans are moving away from demagoguery and toward pragmatism…

“Inglis is otherwise one of the rational conservatives who dare to suggest that, yes, we have to make painful cuts in entitlements. And, heresy of all, he acknowledges that climate change is real and that a carbon tax, offset by tax cuts elsewhere, is a plausible approach to regulation…

“Can an Inglis ever survive in such a culture? If not, what are we left with?”

“After suffering a historic rout — in which nearly every white Deep South Democrat in the U.S. House was defeated and Republicans took over or gained seats in legislatures across the region — the [Democratic] party’s ranks in Dixie have thinned even further.

“In Georgia, Louisiana and Alabama, Democratic state legislators have become Republicans, concluding that there is no future in the party that once dominated the so-called Solid South…

“Realignment, Barbour noted, has been ‘evolutionary’ in the South. But it accelerated this year in part because of how national Democratic policies and leaders are perceived in the region.

“‘The Obama administration’s liberal policy agenda — especially Obamacare — has made it almost impossible for white Democrats at the local level to be seen as moderates or centrists,’ said Emory University political science professor Merle Black. ‘Just being a Democrat immediately puts many of the white Democratic politics on the defensive.'”

“Even after the midterm rout that will remove many long-serving members from Congress, the idea that Mr. Lugar would be vulnerable to a primary challenge is a chilling notion to many Republicans, a symbol of symbolism gone too far.

“‘If Dick Lugar,’ said John C. Danforth, a former Republican senator from Missouri, ‘having served five terms in the U.S. Senate and being the most respected person in the Senate and the leading authority on foreign policy, is seriously challenged by anybody in the Republican Party, we have gone so far overboard that we are beyond redemption.’…

“Mr. Lugar’s recent breaks with his party have stirred the attention of Indiana Tea Party groups, who have him in their sights. ‘Senator Lugar has been an upstanding citizen representing us in D. C.,’ said Diane Hubbard, a spokeswoman for the Indianapolis Tea Party. ‘But over the years, he has become more moderate in his voting.’

“Removing him ‘will be a difficult challenge,’ Ms. Hubbard conceded. ‘But we do believe it’s doable, and we think the climate is right for it and we believe it is a must.'”