This guy is just begging to be primaried…
Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN) told reporters the tea party needs to “get real.”
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It might be time for Lugar to think about retirement.
Lugar has been a Member of Congress for almost 12,500 days, the longest in Indiana history. Some members of the Tea Party movement say that’s long enough.
They want a more conservative candidate, and met in central Indiana last month to start the process of uniting behind a single opponent for Lugar in the 2012 Republican primary.
“[We’re saying to Lugar] thank you for what you’ve done. We respect you greatly as a person and for what you’ve done in the past. But to go forward, we feel it’s going to need to be a different candidate,” Tea Party activist Pat Miller told NewsChannel 15 in January.
Among other criticisms, Tea Party activists have taken Lugar to task for supporting the new START nuclear arms treaty with Russia, claiming the U.S. is giving up too much and Russia is not giving up enough.
“I’ve been working systematically for 20 years going to Russia trying to help direct a situation in which we’re taking warheads off of missiles every day, destroying missiles that were aimed at us; destroying submarines that carried misslies up and down our coast,” said Lugar. “I’ve got to say ‘Get real’. I hear Tea Party or other people talking about they were against START. I said ‘Well, now, hang on here.'”
Lugar continued, “If you want to get into START, let’s talk about it, but realistically as Americans, not as some Republican renegade. [I’m] trying to take warheads of Russia [out of circulation] so they won’t hit Indiana.”
The senator was also ready with a retort for those who’ve laid into him for confirming President Obama’s Supreme Court nominees. Lugar said he looks at a nominee’s character and professional qualifications in order to avoid creating a polarizing atmosphere.
“I hope people sort of understand that because otherwise we polarize the Supreme Court business to a point that conservative justices offered by a conservative Republican president -who’ll be elected at some point- are going to have trouble,” said Lugar.
Trouble in next year’s primary is something Lugar’s working fiercely to avoid.