Inside Outside Upside Down

Voters in yesterday’s Indiana Republican Primary made history. U.S. Senator Richard Lugar became only the second senator in history with 36 years or more of incumbency to be defeated in his own party’s primary.

It wasn’t close, either — State Treasurer Richard Mourdock trounced Lugar, winning three of every five votes.

During the race, Sen. Lugar’s residency problem became clear: he hadn’t actually lived in Indiana since 1976. Voters tend to dislike the same person wielding power for four decades and only visiting, now and then, the people he represents.Richard Mourdock/Richard Lugar

Nor did it help being tagged “President Obama’s favorite Republican.”

But more substantial issues also mattered. Lugar voted for the TARP bailout. He opposed full Second Amendment rights. He voted to raise taxes and jack up the debt ceiling even further.

That’s what the so-called “outside groups” like the Club for Growth told voters in their ads.

An article in the Indianapolis Star, “Outside money flows in to state’s U.S. Senate race,” informed readers that $4 million was spent by political groups not controlled by the candidates, and that 70 percent backed challenger Mourdock. But Lugar, the powerful incumbent, was still able to raise enough “inside money” to outspend Mourdock by nearly two to one — running nasty attack ads against the challenger.

Without the independent groups and PACs, Lugar’s insider funding and incumbent edge would have been a whopping four to one.

The ability of more voices to speak out helped make the challenger competitive against the incumbent.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

5 Comments so far ↓

  1. May
    9
    11:43
    AM
    Drik

    Would never have gotten to this state were it not for the 17th Amendment. The states would not be putting up with the shenanigans that the senators are foisting on America.

  2. May
    9
    2:19
    PM
    Paul Veazey

    Lugar’s defeat makes the point that term limits for elected positions are unnecessary. The constituents always have the absolute power to fire the incumbent by simply voting her or him out. Those supporting term limits legislation are really just asking for a law to save them from themselves.
    Drik is right, however, that Senators should not be directly elected. The framers had good, practical reasons for structuring the federal government as they did and the 17th amendment just the carefully crafted model out of ballance.

  3. May
    9
    6:09
    PM
    Pat

    The senators were originally supposed to represent the state governments in Washington. Now state governments are little more than vassals of the federal govt but this isn’t because of the direct election of senators. The same people who vote out incumbent governors and state legislators have just as much ability to vote out incumbent senators and representatives. The choice remains ours.

  4. May
    9
    10:21
    PM
    Drik

    Madison wrote about how we actually DON’T have just as much ability to vote out incumbents. He called it the “confusion of the multitude” and it is one of the reasons that out republic is not working as designed.

  5. May
    11
    1:31
    PM
    Duke of Gloucestor

    Repeal the 17th Amendment

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