Responding to criticism of Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) from Republican ranks, former Senator John Danforth (R-MO) (left) suggested that the GOP may be "beyond redemption." Lugar is bucking his party on a number of issues at a time when Republicans are expected to march in lockstep. One of a dwindling number of Republican moderates, Lugar has particularly rankled the Tea Party:
Now, in the heat of the post-primary lame-duck Congressional session, he is defying his party on an earmark ban, a bill that would create a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants, a military spending authorization bill and an arms control treaty with Russia.
He even declined to sign a brief supporting state lawsuits against President Obama’s health care law because he saw it as political posturing.
Now Mr. Lugar’s willingness to buck his party is leading to talk that he will face a primary challenge from a Tea Party candidate when he runs for re-election in 2012.
... “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.”
Danforth sees such criticism of Lugar as a sign that the party has become too extreme:
“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. Danforth, who was first elected the same year as Mr. Lugar, added, “I’m glad Lugar’s there and I’m not.”