Sunday, May 6, 2012

Guest Post: Why I Support Richard Lugar

EDITOR'S NOTE: In lieu of doing candidate profiles (which is actually quite hard to do in a primary race when candidates agree on 99% of the issues), I'm offering voters a place to voice their support for the candidates they are most passionate about. If you are interested in voicing support for a candidate, please feel free to contact me via e-mail at 

First up is a guest post from Chris Douglas of Indianapolis.  Chris is a decorated Air Force Officer, business owner, employer , and eighth generation Hoosier. He is supporting Richard Lugar in Tuesday's GOP primary.

In the Republican Primary on Tuesday, I am voting with enthusiasm not only for Richard Lugar, but against Richard Mourdock.  I encourage every Hoosier to vote in the Primary and do the same.

Why am I supporting Richard Lugar?  The list of reasons is extensive.  He is a Senator in the greatest tradition of Ancient Rome and of the New Republic that America became.   A man whose intellect, integrity to mission, and dedication to America's cause is on a historic plane.  He has changed the course of history in Indiana and the world... by effecting a unification of government in Indianapolis that redirected civic energy into a revitalized city rather than away from a crumbling one....   by guiding U.S. support suddenly from a Philippine dictatorship to a true Philippine democracy...  by navigating into U.S.  law historic arms reduction treaties with previously implacable national foes... indeed, by seeing down a long and winding road to the national and world terror that would be possible were nuclear weapons to fall into the hands of fanatic, suicidal enemies, and arresting that possibility peacefully. 

Domestically, Lugar has operated with immense political courage.  Promoting Indiana's traditional (though not universally shared) culture of compassion, Lugar supported an avenue to responsible citizenship for foreign youths within our borders who would otherwise be bereft of hope for a productive future, destined only to undermine rather than contribute to our prosperity.  Rather than buckle to extremists, he helped salvage the banking system, and thus the economy, from collapse in 2008.  (Hoosiers were never told, nor could we be for the panic it would generate, that we were within days of ATMS no longer dispensing cash; groceries no longer honoring checks or credit cards; domestic and international trade collapsing; and our employers' payrolls torched in a banking conflagration as bad as the Great Depression. )  Rather than to support gridlock and the disgraceful and dishonorable loss of our national credit rating that ensued because of extremism, Lugar took the unpopular but necessary step of supporting a raise in the short term debt ceiling, thus ensuring that the U.S. government honored payment on maturing Treasuries, without which cash even some of our greatest corporations would have failed to make payroll!   Far easier, as so many callow and cowardly politicians did, to place popular but unconscionable votes against all of these, playing upon the ignorance of Hoosiers as to the real perils at hand.  It is to master the issues on our behalf, while we are occupied with our livelihoods, that we endeavor to send great men to Washington, and Lugar is among the greatest men in Washington today. 

But I am not only supporting among the greatest men we have; I am opposing among the worst .  Mourdock has chosen to play upon our ignorance of the issues  and attack Lugar for the very votes that most reflect his integrity while he chose the national interest over his own political fortune.   That is despicable. 

Alas, my concerns about Mourdock run far deeper than his personal electioneering.  First, he from the beginning was supported not by Hoosiers, but by the shadowy network of multi-Billionaires who conceived of and established the Tea Party before Obama was even elected.  Their motivations have always been plain:  to preserve recent changes in the tax code, to which Mourdock has so helpfully pledged himself, which give to the super rich lower tax rates on passive dividend income than the tax rates on the earned income of the working class.  The patriot Lugar has made no such pledge to these billionaires, and so they must destroy him.

Without the overwhelming financial support from outside Indiana, Mourdock's bid would have died in the crib.  But it was the millions of dollars in SuperPAC money spent on his behalf that have deceived and distracted Hoosiers from our real interests.  The former Mayor of Indianapolis, military officer, Shortridge High School graduate, and holder of a farmstead in Marion County not a Hoosier?  A preposterous red herring.   The millions of dollars spent by SuperPACs to defame Lugar are still but a rounding error in the income the billionaires save annually in dividends taxed at privileged rates.  $5 million or even $10 million to distract Hoosiers and secure a senator's vote for hundreds of millions in tax privileges?  Cheap!

I'm concerned also by the fact that at least one of the billionaire families involved derives its fortune from the energy industry;  that Mr. Mourdock is an energy industry geologist who even while in office referred on at least one web page to continuing work as a "consultant"; and that this energy industry geologist wants to get rid of the Environmental Protection Agency, an institution first founded by one Republican (Nixon) and run by another.. indeed... by a Hoosier (Ruckelshaus)!  (I remember when the skies were gray in Indiana... and fox, goose, mallard duck, crane, and great blue heron were not to be seen.)

Finally, I have concerns about how it was that Indiana came to acquire the junk bonds of Chrysler in the very month in which the Corporation's collapsing value became public.  Did some lucky investor succeed in unloading their bonds into Indiana's pension funds?  Did an investor group succeed in moving the bonds into Indiana funds so that Indiana would front for the litigation that corporate insiders in that month would have known was coming?  Why didn't some other investor group lead the litigation?  Did Indiana's tax payers shoulder more expense and suffer greater losses than necessary?    The personal relationship between Indiana's Treasurer and the Chairman of Chrylser's owner, Cerberus, troubles me.  What communication took place? 

In short, the day is no doubt coming when Senator Lugar must be replaced.  On that day, let it be by a man or woman, funded and supported by Hoosiers more than by outside interests, one whose character and judgment we can trust to master issues when we cannot, and vote with courage and integrity in Hoosiers interests when we ourselves can't.  Until the day that Lugar is no longer capable and a suitable replacement is apparent, I view it as the calling of all Hoosiers to vote in the Republican Primary and to cast their vote to return Richard Lugar to Washington.    

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