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Defeated By Tea-Party, Sen. Lugar Warns: ‘Republicans Cannot Admit To Any Nuance In Policy On Climate Change’

By Joe Romm  

"Defeated By Tea-Party, Sen. Lugar Warns: ‘Republicans Cannot Admit To Any Nuance In Policy On Climate Change’"

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Richard Mourdock and Dick Lugar

Richard Mourdock and Dick Lugar (AP)

Another day, another mainstream conservative Senator knocked off by the pollutocrat-backed Tea Party.

This time it was 6-term Sen. Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, crushed in a GOP primary 60% to 40% by state Treasurer Richard Mourdock.

Mourdoch, needless to say, is a hard-core science denier who last month actually demanded that Lugar resign as an “honorary vice chair” of the Alliance to Save Energy, a bipartisan alliance of businesses and nonprofits that promotes … gasp … saving energy. The Alliance’s crime? They backed the 2009 Waxman-Markey climate bill because it  aggressively promoted energy efficiency (see, for instance, “Waxman-Markey could save $3,900 per household and create 650,000 jobs by 2030“).

Mourdock said in a statement at the time:

“Clearly, Lugar is out of touch with Hoosier conservatives if he thinks that serving on the board of groups that advocate ‘cap and trade’ carbon tax schemes and the junk science associated with global climate change alarmism is prudent when he represents a state that meets the majority of its electrical needs with coal-fired generators.”

Yes, apparently Hoosier conservatives don’t like conserving things. Nor do they like climate science.  At least the ones that vote in GOP primaries don’t.

Think Progress reported today of Mourdoch’s victory:

His candidacy is fueled by dirty energy money and outside spending groups: It is unlikely Mourdock would have won the primary without an infusion of $1.6 million in spending from the pro-Wall Street Club for Growth, as well as over half a million from FreedomWorks, an astroturf Tea Party group. In addition, Mourdock enjoyed a maxed out contribution from Murray Energy’s PAC, which represents the nation’s largest privately-owned coal company. Mourdock, a former coal company executive, received an additional $18,000 in contributions elsewhere from the coal, oil, and gas industries.

Lugar issued a stinging statement after his defeat, which said of Mourdoch and the Tea Party led GOP:

In effect, what he has promised in this campaign is reflexive votes for a rejectionist orthodoxy and rigid opposition to the actions and proposals of the other party….

I don’t remember a time when so many topics have become politically unmentionable in one party or the other. Republicans cannot admit to any nuance in policy on climate change. Republican members are now expected to take pledges against any tax increases.

That said, while Lugar’s spirit of bipartisanship will be missed, we should remember it was a relative spirit.

As The Hill noted last month:

Lugar was among the minority of Republicans that voted for failed cap-and-trade proposals in 2003 and 2005 sponsored by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).

But in 2008 he voted against cap-and-trade legislation sponsored by Lieberman and then-senator John Warner (R-Va.), and in 2010 floated a broad energy security bill that did not include an emissions cap, although he touted other provisions that would help curb emissions.

He missed his chance to support bipartisan climate legislation when there was the only serious chance in a generation to get it passed, in 2009 and 2010. So he will be missed, relatively speaking.

‹ Touting Oil And Coal, Romney Calls Obama’s Clean Energy Policies ‘Out Of Date’

UPDATE: Heartland Institute De-Lists Roger Pielke Jr. As A ‘Heartland Expert’ ›

10 Responses to Defeated By Tea-Party, Sen. Lugar Warns: ‘Republicans Cannot Admit To Any Nuance In Policy On Climate Change’

  1. prokaryotes says:

    Let me guess no paper trails?

    Electronic Voting Machines Easy To Manipulate

    ..one-third of all votes cast in this country are cast on these type of electronic voting machines, including many counties in Indiana

    http://advanceindiana.blogspot.de/2011/09/electronic-voting-machines-easy-to.html

    • prokaryotes says:

      This is a rather interesting article, coming out as it does on the same day that another article, from Lake County Indiana, reveals that someone tampered with the Republican database. http://www.bbvforums.org/forums/messages/142/82032.html?1335029060

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Ohio, 2004, should have blown the whistle on the rigged voting machines, but the Rightwing MSM suffered yet another attack of selective blindness. The March of the Morons towards group suicide keeps gathering pace, dragging the morally sane 90% of humanity over the cliff with them. Its a classic ‘lose-lose’ situation. Do nothing and their imbecility, ignorance and viciousness destroys humanity unhindered. Resist, and their violent belligerence to non-conformity and Thought Crime will quickly be manifest.

  2. BillD says:

    I am an Indiana voter who will be working to defeat Mourdock. I hope that some of you will join in the fight. As a scientist, I really resent having politicians who have not read my work, characterizing the hard work of me and m colleagues as “junk science’, especially when these same people seem to get most of their science from the junk yard.

    • Sue says:

      You are not alone, Bill!

      We have GOT to elect Progressive candidates to office all up and down the ballot come November, and defeat every single one of these fossil-fueled teapots. Our Grandchildren are depending on US to protect their children’s children NOW.

  3. M Tucker says:

    Mourdoch represents the new Republican Party and they could not even tolerate Lugar working with Democrats to limit proliferation of nuclear weapons. In fact the new Republicans believe the US does not have enough nuclear weapons and no longer support reducing the stockpile. Check out what the House Republicans are doing: promoting a new east coast missile defense system. These throwbacks to the 1970’s think the country has plenty of money to build a system that has never worked after years of trying and millions wasted. It is a new party now and it takes constant attention to keep up with their new radicalized insanity.

    • Sasparilla says:

      So well said, I totally agree. What can one say, they are libertarian radicals compared to the GOP of 15 years ago.

      I hope to god they don’t sweep in November or we’ll be looking back fondly at the Bush years (which were horrendous).

  4. Bob says:

    Unfortunately, Mourdoch’s Democratic opponent in the general election, Joe Donnelly, opposes legislation that puts a price on carbon. From his website:

    While I believe that climate change is real and should be addressed as part of a comprehensive reform of our nation’s energy policy, I do not believe an approach that asks Indiana’s economy to bear unduly high costs to cut our nation’s carbon emissions is the right way to go. That is why I voted against The American Clean Energy and Security Act in June 2009. Indiana gets 94 percent of its electricity from coal, and we have the most manufacturing-intensive sate in the country. This legislation has too many uncertainties in terms of the effect it would have on Hoosier manufacturers, other businesses, and the folks they employ. As a result, Indiana would have the farthest to go in order to meet the bill’s carbon reduction goals, and we would be the most vulnerable to price increases, putting Hoosiers at a competitive disadvantage.

    Still preferable to Mourdoch, of course, but could be a lot better.

  5. Sasparilla says:

    Excellent article Joe. Another sad day, another moderate Republican eliminated by the Koch’s. While Lugar had voted both ways on climate change previously, he would have been a possible in the future if we got to a point where action could happen – Mourdoch, like the other Tea Party replacements, will not.

    When the next time there will be a chance on climate change action in the U.S. we don’t know at this point, but we’ll need some moderate GOP votes (since we couldn’t do it with just Dem votes in 2009 when we had majorities there’s always going to be fossil fuel Dems) – and the Koch’s are just constantly stacking the deck (every election cycle) more and more to take that possibility away when it would become otherwise possible. Said to see.

  6. BillD says:

    Bob: You are right that Indiana democrats are very conservative–but still light years better than a tea party candidate. Since Indiana gets over 90% of its electricity from coal, the shift from coal will cost Hoosiers. This catch-22 has made opposition to cap and trade a requirement for Indiana politicians. I am willing to pay more than my share, but I accept the reality. In the mean time, I point out in the “environmental” part of my college classes how bad Indiana is in greeen house gases and other pollutants.