Those are questions that Indiana Republicans (and, perhaps, Democrats soon enough ...) are asking themselves:
No Hoosier Homestead for LugarYeah, we've all heard the argument made that a United States senator is "less representative" of his state than a congressman is. Fine. But shouldn't there be some connection other than place of birth?
By Naftali Bendavid, Wall Street Journal
Sen. Richard Lugar, an Indiana Republican in a lively primary fight, is facing a surprising charge: that he doesn't live in Indiana.
Mr. Lugar recently acknowledged he sold his Indianapolis home shortly after his 1976 election to the Senate and bought one outside Washington. It was the only way to keep the family together, he said, because the Lugars couldn't afford two homes.
Mr. Lugar told reporters he isn't sure what address is on his Indiana driver's license. But he said he is confident voters won't hold the issue against him. [link]
Lugar seems to think his place of residence doesn't matter. The people of Indiana may soon be saying otherwise:
Richard Lugar, the Grandfather of the Indiana GOP, fights for reelectionIf there's anyone who better represents the "inside the beltway" mentality than Richard Lugar, I don't know who he is.
By Jonathan Allen, Politico
Connersville, Ind. — Sen. Dick Lugar’s glaring weakness and his enduring strength are one and the same: He’s the grandfather of the Indiana Republican Party.
Nearing 80, Lugar is facing his first serious challenge in decades — a two-step in which he has to fend off conservative state Treasurer Richard Mourdock in the May 8 primary followed by Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly in November if he hopes to win an Indiana-record seventh term. The charge from both camps: Lugar’s a nice man who lost touch with his Hoosier roots somewhere inside the Washington Beltway.
There’s plenty of ammunition for Mourdock to make the case that Lugar has drifted away from conservative orthodoxy, starting with Lugar’s votes for President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court appointments, his one-time co-sponsorship of the DREAM act, which would pave the way for undocumented aliens brought to this country as minors to become citizens, and earmarks. On top of that, Lugar backed the bank bailouts and an auto industry rescue plan that, while vital to the state’s economy, isn’t popular with a large swath of conservatives.
“Clearly, over the years he’s become more of a Big Government Republican,” Mourdock said of Lugar during an interview at a hotel across from the Indianapolis statehouse. “When you’ve been involved in it for 36 years, you are it, it is you, it becomes the answer. Of course it’s the answer, because you’ve put your whole life in it. I don’t see government as the answer to our problems.” [link]
Frankly, I'm shocked that Lugar considers it no big deal that he hasn't maintained a home in his "home" state for all those years. And I'd be surprised if a lot of Hoosiers didn't feel the same way.
The man lives in Washington. Where he'll stay after being bounced from office.
Let the bounce commence. It's time he ran for some office there.
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I'm reminded of this Paul Wellstone TV ad from long ago, though the circumstances were different. He unseated the incumbent he was running against by showing that his opponent was nowhere to be found when it counted.
Lugar? How often does he have personal contact with a constituent?
Shouldn't that be important in a representative republic?