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.