While the Tea Party did achieve significant successes in 2010, replacing a large number of Democratic and liberal Republican (i.e. RINO) incumbents, its hard work must contnue and is continuing. There are still several RINO incumbent Senators who have been in DC for so long that they’ve become isolated from the people they purport to represent. The textbook example of such a politician is the Tea Party’s #1 target for this election season, Sen. Richard Lugar (RINO-IN), AKA “Barack Obama’s favorite Republican”.
Lugar has been a politician for his entire professional life. He has been a US Senator since 1977, for 35 years, and has since then completely lost contact with the real world and his constituents. He has fed off taxpayers’ money for his entire career, and for the last 35 years of it from federal taxpayers’ trough. Moreover, he’s a longtime member of the Washington Establishment – the Beltway cocktail party club – and a RINO.
So it’s not surprising that his fellow Washington Establishment member, and fellow RINO, George Will has rode to his rescue, together with other RINOs such as Mitch Daniels and George Shultz.
And it’s not surprising that George Will’s defense of Richard Lugar is pathetically weak. He tries to portray Lugar as a conservative Republican statesman who only occassionally lapses on conservative principles but generally votes along their lines. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is that, despite Will’s desperate protestations to the contrary, Lugar’s liberal votes are the rule, not the exception.
Will has acknowledged only two of them (for Obama’s extremely liberal SCOTUS nominees and the New START disarmament treaty), and has desperately tried to rationalize both of them. He’s completely wrong, however, and here’s why.
Will claims that “Yes, Lugar voted for Barack Obama’s two Supreme Court nominees, but there is a conservative case to be made (conservatives make it when they have the presidency) for deference as the default position regarding presidents’ judicial choices.”. No, deference to presidents on judicial nominations (or any other issue for that matter) is NOT a conservative policy nor a justifiable one. Nor is it what the Founding Fathers intended for the Senate to do. They wanted the President to merely SUGGEST candidates for federal judges, and for the Senate to strictly scrutinize them and reject those nominees who are unqualified, don’t understand the Constitution, or want to legislate from the bench. (All three disqualifiers apply to Kagan and the last two apply to Sotomayor as well. ) No, the Founding Fathers never advocated for the Senate to “defer to the President”. The Constitution states in Art. II, Sec. 2:
“He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.”
Certainly the Senate of 1795 had no qualms about rejecting George Washington’s nominee for Chief Justice. So who is right? The Founding Fathers or George Will? Of course it’s the Founders; Will, as usual, is blathering nonsense about issues he’s ignorant about.
Deferring to the President on judicial nominations has been the modus operandi on the Hill for Republicans for decades, but that doesn’t make it right nor conservative. It is indefensible and unconservative. Voting for a liberal judicial activist who wants to legislate from the bench (i.e. impose his/her liberal worldview on the American people by judicial fiat) and who believes there is a Constitutional right to abortion is as UN-conservative as any vote can be. If that is not, by itself, a reason to vote a Senator out of office – for failing to do his job of scruticizing judicial nominees and rejecting those who shouldn’t be on the bench – nothing is.
The other liberal vote by Lugar that Will admits to – for the disastrous New START treaty – was equally indefensible and liberal and even downright dangerous. Will desperately defends that vote by saying that “all living former Republican Secretaries of State supported it, including George Shultz, who served under Ronald Reagan.” Will and Shultz have even falsely claimed that in his Senate days, “Reagan relied on Lugar”, and Shultz has endorsed the RINO Senator.
Yet, Will’s argument that all former Republican State Secretaries have endorsed that treaty is completely irrelevant. Firstly, all of these former Secretaries (Kissinger, Baker, Powell, Rice, and Shultz) are RINOs, and Kissinger is even a CFR member and the author of the disastrous, failed detente policy of the 1970s (which gave the USSR military and geopolitical supremacy) and who is also famous for saying “the illegal we do immediately; the merely unconstitutional takes a little longer”. I would hardly take advice on foreign policy from a failed Secretary of State who displays such blatant disregard for the law.
Secondly, the New START is a disastrous, dangerous treaty. It obliges the US to cut its nuclear arsenal down to inadequate levels (former SECDEF James Schlesinger deems them “adequate, although barely so”, and US military leaders deem them the absolute minimum required to deter America’s enemies), while Russia has not been required to make any cuts whatsoever and was actually allowed to add warheads and delivery systems; in other words, only the US is obliged to make any cuts. Furthermore, the treaty imposes serious limits on US missile defense: a linkage of offensive strategic systems and missile defense systems, introducing a dangerous “logic”; a ban on the conversion of ICBM siloes and launchers to interceptor siloes and launchers; and a Bilateral Consultative Commission with the power to impose further, even more onerous, restrictions. Moreover, per Moscow’s reading of the treaty, any qualitative or quantitative development of US missile defense systems would be a violation of it, and that, the Kremlin says, will prompt it to withdraw from the treaty, a threat that President Medvedev repeated last December. Furthermore, it does nothing about tactical nuclear weapons, in which Russia has an advantage over the US. Moreover, implementing the cuts costs billions of dollars per year, money that would’ve been better spent modernizing the aging US arsenal but is instead being sunk in suicidal arsenal cuts. Last but not least, the treaty was a huge concession to a Russia that has been increasingly belligerent, in terms of both rhetoric and action, towards the US; a reward that Moscow did not deserve and shouldn’t have been given.
If the 13 GOP Senators who voted for it were conservatives and not RINOs and had balls, they wouldn’t have voted for it. Sadly, they weren’t and, under enormous pressure from the Obama Administration, they rubber-stamped this abomination of a treaty in the lame-duck session of the infamous 111th Congress, on December 22nd, 2010, just before Christmas. Had just 5 GOP Senators voted against it, it wouldn’t have passed. At minimum, they should’ve left it for the next Senate, which had already been elected but not yet sworn in, to consider.
Of course George Will didn’t mention any of these facts. That’s because, unless he’s stupid, he doesn’t want to mention them and to debate the New START treaty on its merits (or the lack thereof). That’s because, unless he’s a fool, he knows this is a debate he can never win. So his tactic is to avoid any discussion of the treaty’s provisions and to use five old liberal ex-Secretaries of State (not exactly a hawkish federal department) to defend the indefensible.
(And had the Senate’s vote on the treaty been based solely on the treaty’s provisions, it would’ve never been ratified.)
Will uses the same liberal tactic when defending Obama’s overall defense and foreign affairs record. In one of his most recent rants, in which he lectures Republicans about how great Obama’s record on defense and foreign policies supposedly is. His “proof”? The deaths of a few high-profile terrorist leaders and the drone war. He also lies that Obama is not merely cutting the defense budget at all, merely its rate of growth, and that Obama’s defense budget cuts will not weaken defense at all, and warns Republicans that Obama’s record on these issues is so impeccable that they better not even think about challenging Obama on them.
As explained in detail here, Will’s claims are false, but what is even more interesting is what he does not mention in his rant: Obama’s craven appeasement of Russia (see above), Iran (wich is more defiant than ever and ramping up uranium enrichment), Communists in Latin America (Hugo Chavez, Raul Castro, Daniel Ortega), and China (as documented in detail by Brett Decker and William Tripplett in their book, Bowing to Beijing), nor his betrayal of America’s allies such as Britain (over the Falklands and Trident missile serial numbers), Israel (over many issues, including the indefensible pre-1967 borders), and Poland and the Czech Republic (over missile defense and relations with Russia).
And why doesn’t Will mention that? Because he doesn’t want to: doing so would refute his claims about Obama being strong on defense and foreign affairs and forcce Will to defend Obama’s disastrous foreign policy on many new fronts. As with the New START treaty, it’s a debate George Will can’t win and he knows it, unless he’s a fool.
Of course, Lugar’s votes for Sotomayor, Kagan, and New START are hardly his only liberal votes. He has supported (and continues to support) lavish ethanol subsidies, ending sanctions on Cuba (he even cosponsored such legislation), gun control (he has a D+ rating from the NRA, an F from the Gun Owners of America, and a 53% rating from the Brady Campaign), amnesty for illegal aliens (both the Bush-McCain-Kennedy amnesty bills and Obama’s DREAM Act), the federal school lunch program (i.e. federal micromanagement of school lunches), “hate crime” legislation (e.g. the Matthew Sheppard Act), lavish foreign aid to Pakistan (for which he and Joe Biden have received awards from Islamabad), and, of course, all sorts of disarmament policies. He also bashed the Iraqi war in 2007, when it was popular to do so, and was lavishly praised by liberals such as Dick Durbin and Harry “This War Is Lost” Reid for his attacks on the war and President Bush. (And this guy is the Foreign Relations Committee’s Ranking Member?) Despite Will’s protestations, Lugar’s votes for Sotomayor, Kagan, and New START were not exceptions; they represented the rule.
But most importantly, Lugar is not even eligible to be a candidate for Senate, let alone Senator, from Indiana. That is because he doesn’t live in the state he purports to represent. He lives in DC, not Indiana, and hasn’t lived in the Hoosier state since 1977, when he sold the home he still (falsely) lists as his residence. When he occassionally visits Indiana, he stays in hotels, in temporarily-rented rooms. This is a blatant violation of the Constitution, which requires Senators and anyone who wants to run for Senate from any state must live in that state. Art. I, Sec. 3 of the Constitution states:
“No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.”
Lugar doesn’t meet these requirements. He’s an unconstitutional Senator. But, like most other members of Congress and members of the Washington Establishment, he couldn’t care less about the Constitution.
When you vote to weaken America’s defense, drive it deeper into debt with wasteful programs, and feed off taxpayers’ trough for almost your entire adult life, you should at least comply with Constitutional requirements and live in the state you seek to represent. Lugar doesn’t bother to do even that.
Which makes Lugar’s reelection bid, and Will’s defense of Lugar, not just liberal and unacceptable, but downright despicable and arrogant. Will is defending a blue, firmly-entrenched RINO who betrays conservative principles and his voters everyday and doesn’t even live in Indiana and portraying Lugar’s conservative critics as a small bunch of purist hotheads who can’t forgive Lugar a few momentary lapses. Not only is that portrayal false, it also shows that Will has completely lost contact with the real world and the American people, and that he despises conservatives and ordinary Americans.
I hope Indiana Republicans refuse to listen to George Will, reject Richard Lugar, and nominate a genuine conservative, preferrably Richard Mourdock, for Senate.