As I listened to Senator Lugar's concession speech last night, I couldn't help but think that he was reading his own epitaph. He mentioned, paraphrasing, crossing the aisle to do what is best for America. This used to be what we expected out of our elected officials. At one time we ascribed a certain honor to our officials who worked in the best interest of our state, or our nation, regardless of party affiliation. We called them "Statesmen".
But it seemed last night we witnessed the cumulative death of the Statesman. This idea of working together is not only out of vogue, but it is held in disdain.......by Mr. Lugar's replacement no less! How odd to think that character qualities we once embraced and revered were so carelessly thrown aside yesterday. And now those qualities we once considered noxious to our general well-being we herald. In 2006 Senator Lugar was still our party's hero and our state's shining star.
Now people have been conditioned to call out Senator Lugar's age and residency, which have never been issues with the GOP before (remember Lugar hasn't had a "residence" in Indiana since 1977-that's a lot of elections), but the real situation comes down to extreme political views and outside sources that spotted an opportunity. Not a single person I have talked to could tell me anything about Murdock, his record or his political views. They talked about Lugar being Obama's favorite Republican. How dastardly. How ridiculous.
The political landscape has changed so abruptly in this country. This is probably due to two things-people's outright hatred for the President and the influence that money has had unlike anything we have ever seen before. Obama will go away, probably in 2013, but the money won't. But I think there is an underlying culture of entitlement that once was only a condition we placed on the left, now deeply rooted in the right. This entitlement is defended with a corruption of the rules that govern our nation by people who haven't the understanding of government, or much more disturbing, the understanding of responsibility. They believe they do of course.....but then they systematically dismantle the pillars that have made this country great.
All too often I comment to my wife that this will be a very different world we will live in, in another decade or two. Draconian measures passed by people propped up by those who stand to benefit financially seems to be in our near future. A new single party monopoly with a my way only attitude will ensure this. This is not the party of Reagan, and not the party of my father or grandfather. I think what we are witnessing is the "me first" culture expanded now to public office.
Now-for the record-I was against the bank bailouts that were first pursued by George W. I've been against much of the stimulus promoted by the President AND Mitch Daniels. I am against the mandate for health insurance on individuals. I felt that the auto bailout was unnecessary. But here's the thing-there are a lot of my fellow-Republicans who have benefited, some very directly, from these programs.....and they likely were the ones who voted to "retire Lugar" yesterday. Well, prepare yourselves for a very different America....there may be an "I told you so" moment in the future.