Dick Lugar has a reputation that he's built over decades as a thoughtful legislator and statesman, but those credentials stand at odds with his recent statements. Three days ago National Review reported that Indiana's senior senator refused to say whether he will support his opponent Richard Mourdock if Mourdock prevails in next Tuesday's primary. Today, Lugar went even further as Advance Indiana notes:
Sen. Richard Lugar told reporters this afternoon at a hastily called press conference in Indianapolis that Mourdock was "unqualified" to serve in the Senate and pleaded with Democratic and independent voters to request Republican ballots in next Tuesday's primary to save him from defeat. Lugar also continued to rebuff attempts to agree to support Mourdock if he wins the Republican primary.It is the absurd establishment thinking for Dick Lugar to say that Richard Mourdock is "unqualified" because at present Lugar himself is unqualified to be US Senator from Indiana. I apologize in advance for going back to the well--Lugar's residency--but I simply cannot countenance this beltway arrogance. Article 1, Section 3 of the United States Constitution says:
No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.Lugar sold his Indianapolis home in 1977. He was ruled ineligible to vote from that address earlier this year. He's now registered to vote from a family farm. A farm that Lugar's own spokesman, David Wilkie, said this about: "There’s no house at the farm that you would stay in, so far as a physical residence..." Dick Lugar, Indiana's Senior Senator and world renowned statesman, inhabits an open field. Really? Does this octogenarian stay in a tent?
The point is that Dick Lugar does not in any meaningful sense inhabit Indiana, and, in light of the Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution, that makes him look ridiculous when he asserts that his opponent is unqualified.
Calling Mourdock "unqualified" was a mistake. Refusing to support Mourdock if he wins was also a mistake. Lugar's greatest political strength is his reputation, but with those two petty slights, Lugar has ceded the high ground. And Richard Mourdock planted his flag on that hill with the message in the video above: this race isn't about me or Dick Lugar--it's about America. It's not about petty politics; it's about building a better country together.