Throughout the 111th Congress, Republicans have pulled every stunt not only to obstruct the Democrat’s agenda, but also to prevent progress on any issue — including ones that have traditionally attracted bipartisan support. The lame duck session is proving to be no exception.
However, there is one Republican Senator who does appear willing to reach across the aisle. Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) is a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act and has been leading the push to take up the New START arms control agreement. This morning, on CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley, Lugar explained the logic behind his positions, stating the GOP must “never be the party of no”:
LUGAR: Many would say, and have said, “why do anything President Obama wants — something that gives him a victory?” Therefore, we’re the party of no. I think some of us said, “No, we are not the party of no. We must never be the party of no.”
CROWLEY: Are you winning or losing that side?
LUGAR: Oh, I think that remains to be seen. […] The American people — angry as they are with Democrats with the tsunami that came in the election — are finally going to say to the Republicans, “Okay, now what are you guys going to do? What is your program?”
“Our program is to stop Obama,” some would say. “Our program is to defeat Obama. It’s a two-staged process. You defeat the Democrats first of all in the Congress and then you defeat Obama. Then, then we’ll come out and we’ll tell you.”
Well that’s not going to work. At some point there really has to be constructive Republican programs.
Lugar is up for reelection next year and the Tea Party has already warned that his positions may cost him his seat. Former GOP Sen. John Danforth is more worried about what the backlash against Lugar says about his own party. “We have gone so far overboard that we are beyond redemption,” stated Danforth about the Republican Party’s attack on Lugar. Nonetheless, Lugar is sticking to his guns, daring the Tea Party to challenge him in the 2012 Senate primary.
During his interview, Lugar also credited Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) with standing up to an obstructive, “rebellious” faction of the Republican Party. However, McConnell himself has indicated that “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”