It's easy to understand why a man who's been in the US Senate since Gerald Ford was president would be confident of winning one more term. That would be Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, first elected in 1976.
But of late Lugar has been saying things that seem to display enormous confidence and a willingness to enrage his detractors among Hoosier Tea Partiers. In a recent interview with WANE-TV in Fort Wayne, Lugar said Tea Party folks critical of his support of the recently ratified START nuclear missile treaty with Russia needed to, in his words, "Get real."
Lugar's remark was in response to frequent Tea Party criticisms of Lugar's support of the recently ratified START nuclear weapons treaty with Russia.
Said Lugar, "I've got to say 'Get real'. I hear Tea Party or other people talking about they were against START. If you want to get into START, let's talk about it, but realistically as Americans, not as some Republican renegade. [I'm] trying to take warheads out of Russia so they won't hit Indiana."Before the remark, Lugar was already a Tea Party target. A coalition of some 70 Indiana Tea Party organizations have banded together to form Hoosiers for Conservative Senate (HCS).
The group's priorities are three in number; find a Republican challenger, get behind that candidate and defeat Lugar in the May 2012 GOP primary. However, as of now, only Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock is reportedly ready to mount a primary challenge.
And Lugar's ‘get real' remark has only served to anger HCS a bit more. In an e-mail response to HCS co-founder Monica Boyer writes:
If you would like to see what "real" is, then come home once in awhile and listen to "real" people, rather than stubbornly refusing to leave not only The Beltway, but the 1980's as well.
In the nearly thirty six years that you have been in Washington, America and the world has witnessed great change. When first elected to the Senate in 1976, the Ford Pinto was in the news and the USSR was America's only real global adversary. Today, Ford is the only true American automobile manufacturer left standing and America's enemies have grown to include not only the former USSR, but China, North Korea, Iran, Syria and a host of other countries that sponsor radical Islamic terrorism.
It seems that you, Senator, are the one needing to get real by not worrying about your misguided legacy of pretending to make the world safer. America is safe when she is strong. Our nuclear arsenal and military superiority are what ensures our freedom and safety.
The START Treaty cripples America and does nothing to address Russia's nearly ten thousand tactical nuclear warhead superiority. It also does nothing to address the nuclear weapons of China, North Korea and Iran. During the Cold War years, America and the USSR both valued survival, and that coupled with equivalent capability of annihilating the other, provided a powerful deterrent.
Today's world is far different than the one you stubbornly cling to. North Korea and Iran do not value survival the way America and the former USSR does. China's intentions are unknown but their military threat is not.
The people of Indiana, like all of the heartland of America are real in the sense that we worry about our future and that of our children's. We realize that nearly all of America's problems have been brought about by career politicians on both sides of the aisle, who have forgotten not only who they serve but also the oath they took to uphold and defend The Constitution of the United States of America.
Mr. Lugar, it is time for you to come home."
Steve Brown is an author, radio broadcaster and seminary professor at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida.