Sen. Richard Lugar, after a gracious concession speech, released later the same evening what came across as one of the more whiny lengthy statements by a defeated major candidate, possibly since Richard Nixon.
I actually agree with many of his points. Politics, however, is also about context. By releasing it when he did, predictable things occurred:
1. He walked on Richard Mourdock’s night, an ungracious thing to do.
2. It meant that the words would be mostly interpreted in the context of his recent campaign, not a broader view.
3. Irony of ironies, the press statement became a partisan weapon in the hands of Joe Donnelly, John Kerry and liberals across America.
Here are a few points in defense of partisanship:
1. Bipartisanship first requires partisanship. How can you negotiate a final position if there are not competing positions from which to negotiate?
2. The intensity of partisanship has actually declined over the course of our nation’s history. Does Sen. Lugar really want to compare “climate change” debate to those over slavery? Have any members of Congress challenged each other to a duel lately or beaten them with a cane?
3. Without “partisans” like William Lloyd Garrison and the abolitionists the bipartisan-driven ancestors of Henry Clay might still be negotiating compromises: Perhaps Maui would be a “slave island” and Kauai would be “free” when Hawaii became a state.
4. In his statement Sen. Lugar mixes and matches all sorts of things. On climate change, which side lacks bipartisanship? He implies that it is the Republican side. But that presumes that the liberal-controlled data is correct. The liberals refuse to debate the premise and then smear conservatives for refusing to compromise within their fact control. How can that be called “bipartisan?”
5. Some things don’t yield to “bipartisan” compromise. One side must prevail. Liberals talk about abortion and how conservatives won’t allow some babies to die and others to live. But what about child abuse or spouse abuse? Should we compromise with the population in America, rather sizable, that abuse children and spouses? Of course not; there are absolute standards.
My frustration, honestly, with many conservatives (and liberals) is their refusal to understand in a divided government that at the end of the day there must be some compromise so you can move to the next battle. However, the fundamental principle articulated by Sen. Lugar is the key to why he didn’t just lose but was routed.
Lugar said this: There must be a “bipartisan mindset.” What? It is one thing to compromise reluctantly out of necessity.
However, a “bipartisan mindset” means that you go in looking for the deal, you go into negotiations admitting in a sense that you are extreme and don’t deserve to prevail. And in Washington, it means this: The liberal establishment momentum prevails.
The American public is sick of the bipartisan “mindset.”