Dick Lugar has been a senator from Indiana for about 35 years. Back when President George Bush the Smarter announced he was picking a Hoosier senator as his running mate, the general consensus among people with brains was that of course he was picking the senior senator from Indiana, a well known expert on foreign policy and a strong moderate voice in the Republican Party.
Then we found out that Bush instead chose Dan “Mr. Potatoe Head” Quayle, who, when we look back on it now, was the omen for the shift to the dumbocracy in the GOP. Quayle was a lightweight, not very bright, but appealed to “the base.” Had anything happened to Bush and Quayle rose to the presidency, the results would have paralleled the presidency we experienced eight years after the Bush I presidency. Quayle, when you really think about it, was George Bush the Dumber, but the main difference was Quayle’s wife was the conservative equivalent of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Anyway, that’s history. Here’s current events (from TPM):
Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) has just been thrown a curveball in his re-election race: The Marion County (Indianapolis) Election Board has ruled in a party-line 2-1 decision that both he and his wife are no longer eligible to vote where he is currently registered.
The Indianapolis Star reports that the decision, with two Democrats voting to disqualify and the Republican voting against, was in fact made at the recommendation of the board’s staff attorney. The attorney’s recommendation found that while Lugar is not disqualified from running for office (that matter was already addressed by the state Election Board, who dismissed a challenge to Lugar’s eligibility — more on that below), he has nevertheless abandoned his residency at the home he sold way back in 1977 but continued to vote from. …
Lugar’s opponents this year have attacked him over the fact that he lives mainly in northern Virginia, and has not owned a home in Indiana itself since 1977, the year after he was first elected to the Senate. His campaign has said that he is not wealthy enough to maintain two homes, and also wished to have his family with him in Washington.
At the same time, Lugar has continued to be registered to vote at the same address, of the home he moved out of in 1977.
I don’t follow Indiana politics very closely, even though the state is within walking distance of my home address (in my Sarah Palinesque moments, I can see Indiana from the roof of my house in Louisville). But Lugar sure seems ripe for a Tea Party takedown. A once considered moderate Republican moving more to the right to appeal to an ultraconservative base can probably be wiped out by a Tea Party crazy who only has to run ads saying Dick Lugar hasn’t lived in Indiana in 35 years.
This is pretty much campaign strategy 101 for anyone in a pretty consistent Republican state with enough money.
Though it is worth pointing out that the Hoosiers selected the Nazi, Socialist, Communist, Kenyan, Muslim usurper over Cranky McLoser in the last presidential election by a margin of less than 1%. (If you look at a map of the Indiana election results, you see Obama won the counties in the state’s Northwest, near Chicago, the area around Indianapolis, and the counties north of Louisville. Territorially, that’s not a big part of the state, but those are the main population centers, which means those areas had to go big for Obama while the vote was close in the rest of the state. It will be interesting to see which way Indiana goes in 2012.)