Mourdock may have an uphill battle in trying to “out-conservative” the venerable Lugar, a Capitol Hill denizen who has fought like a tiger for Israel, against nuclear proliferation, and for other conservative foreign policy priorities over the course of the past several decades with noteworthy leadership and creativity.
This morning National Review’s Corner cited a document Lugar’s campaign has released revealing Mourdock’s conservative credentials aren’t so pristine: apparently in 1992 Mourdock, then a Republican candidate in Indiana’s 8th Congressional District, supported the Fairness Doctrine. That’s all I really need to hear to conclude Mourdock probably isn’t the conservative ideological purist he has positioned himself to be (a misnomer if ever there was one, The Fairness Doctrine–as resurrected in 2009–sought to impose on radio and TV broadcasts the imperative to air both liberal and conservative views in every show. That might have sorta kinda worked in the 1950’s when only three TV networks existed, but in a world of virtually unlimited media outlets, dictating content is unnecessary to ensure “fairness.” Rather, it seemed like a transparent attempt by left-wingers to muzzle conservative talk radio, and as such, an attack on free speech). I am an independent who found the disingenuous attempt to resurrect the “Fairness Doctrine” obnoxious and have not met an independent, much less a conservative, or even a principled liberal, who didn’t see through it.
Apparently Mourdock = Mr. Softee on legislation that would repeal penalties for companies that hire undocumented workers (according to the campaign questionnaire, he took no position. Isn’t that kind of like voting “maybe?” Hey, maybe after this primary race is over, this guy could go to work for President Obama).
Lugar, meanwhile, while making no claims to be an arch-conservative, has consistently advanced security-minded foreign policy during his decades in the Senate with noteworthy success. Let’s revisit just a few of his bona fides:
At every meaningful turn, he is on record having pressed the Obama Administration to impose tough, meaningful sanctions against the Iranian regime and businesses that have dealings with it. As those who have paid attention realize, despite now taking credit for imposing tough sanctions, President Obama had to be pressed by both houses of Congress to pass meaningful sanctions and was never a leader in doing so.
Lugar has gone above and beyond signing on to the requisite letters and going with the bipartisan majority in pressing the Prez to actually do something other than talk tough about how Iran’s getting a bomb is “unacceptable” to him.
For instance, Lugar is co-sponsoring The Iran Certification and Reporting Bill, (S. 2058). Obama critics take note: while the aforementioned was talking tough, apparently one of his executive agencies, the Department of Energy (DOE), was selling oil to at least two companies that were “engaged in business or trading activity with Iran.” Guess where DOE was getting the oil from that wound up in the coffers of Iran’s trading buddies? America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). That’s the oil we are supposed to keep in reserve in case of a global cataclysm/emergency. Nice way to provide for the future, Mr. President.
Stuff like this makes me wonder why more Jews aren’t planning to vote for Obama and, as he asked of them at the AIPAC conference in March, judge him by his deeds, not words, regarding Israel (that was sarcasm). The reality is, his words are a whole lot prettier than his deeds. Of course, this isn’t one of his deeds, it’s an agency of the federal government. It’s never him directly or anything, it’s not likeexecutive branch agencies have anything to do with him for heaven’s sake (yes, that was definitely sarcasm). But most voters, including educated Jewish voters who care about Israel, are still so enthralled by the President’s voice and manner that, as far as his administration’s less visible deeds, they aren’t really paying close attention. Thankfully Dick Lugar has been.
Here are just a couple others of Lugar’s achievements regarding Israel and Jewish causes, as well as advancing peace through strength around the world:
1) Lugar co-sponsored Senate Bill 1048, the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Sanctions Consolidation Act of 2011. This bill expands the circle of foreign companies that would be subject to sanctions based on transactions with Iranian entities.
2) Lugar co-authored the Nunn-Lugar program, which dismantled more than 7,500 nuclear warheads, more than 1,400 nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, 155 bombers, and 32 nuclear submarines in the former Soviet Union during the years immediately following its collapse. The program also upgraded security at 24 strategic sites. (This work was incredibly far-sighted and absolutely crucial given the possibility that enemies of Israel and the U.S. could have gotten a hold of this stuff). To the extent that the Russians have not already sold nuclear weapons and WMD to Islamic terrorists (fingers crossed) we may very well have to thank Dick Lugar for reaching across the aisle to get this absolutely vital work done.
I’m all for the Tea Party as an expression of popular will and discontent with Washington insider politics. But there is something to be said for experience, and Lugar–derided by many an upstart as a ‘RINO’–has a solid record of achievement in advocating peace through strength via meaningful policies that have protected the U.S. and its allies. I’m no Hoosier, but on May 8, I’ll be rooting for him.
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