Tea Party vs Establishment 2012

Republicans clearly lost oppurtunities to gain senate seats in 2010 because of some mistakes in the nominating process. Christine O’Donnell (DE) and Sharon Angle (NV) come to mind.

Those two may be the most extreme examples of the GOP primary divide from the last election cycle because of their high profiles.

They are also two of the reasons I find the Indiana senate race between Senator Richard Lugar and state treasurer Richard Mourdock so interesting. We once again have the dynamics of a long time 36 year incumbant very likely to win a seventh term in the senate if only he could win the party nomination. The problem, however, is that polls indicate that possibility is slipping away.

Timing is everything, especially in a political campaign. Come out negative too early and you can turn off voters. Wait too long to try to brand your opponent and you might find it hard to get your message across.

That seems to be the case with the campaign of six-term Sen. Richard Lugar, whose efforts to paint tea party-backed state Treasurer Richard Mourdock as untrustworthy last week had all the markings of a desperate attempt to toss anything and everything at Mourdock to see what might stick less than two weeks before the vote that could end Lugar’s political career.

With Mourdock we have the Sarah Palin backed Tea Party branded conservative running against the establishment’s choice.

Democrats hope Mourdock winning the nomination will put the seat into a potential pick up for them in the fall elections. (I think either primary candidate will be able to hold the seat)

We see an interesting paradigm once again in the rift between the establishment and the GOP base. In an election year as imporant as 2012, Republicans cannot afford to lose any oppurtunities to take back the US Senate.

In many of the upcoming primaries across this country, it will be interesting to see whether the anti-establishment forces in the party will produce candidates with the qualities of Marco Rubio or of Christine O’Donnell.

11 Replies to “Tea Party vs Establishment 2012”

  1. duggersd

    While Christine O’Donnell was a bit of a flake, I believe Sharon Angle had an opportunity to win that election. She made some mistakes on her own, but the national Republican party dumped money into an unwinnable race in California. Harry Reid is a tough campaigner and he had the backing of the unions who got out the vote, probably even the dead ones. Perhaps if the national Republicans would look to their base, they could pick up a few of these close ones.

    1. Arrowhead

      I don’t think Angle was nearly as strong as Sue Lowden was.

      And Murdock might be elected statewide but that would be similar to Dusty Johnson taking on John Thune. Or something like that.

      I hope Mourdock wins but Angle and O’Donnell were both bat shit crazy. Lugar is just freakin’ old and out of touch.

      1. duggersd

        I’m not commenting on whether Angle was crazy, but I do believe if the national Republican party would have put in an effort, it was winnable. The final difference was 6%, I think. California was 10%. And that was after the Republicans dumped a ton into California.

  2. veldy

    As compared to some primary challengers in 2010 who did not, Richard Mourdock holds a statewide elected office, has won a statewide election.

    1. Anonymous

      “I’m not a witch.”

      Lugar should have passed the torch this time and gone out gracefully. He is trying to cling to power too long…

      1. Job Creator

        After you have enjoyed that power and privilege for so long, it’s hard to walk away from it. He has been a good senator, and I don’t see him weakening. Just because he’s old does not mean he’s worthless.

  3. Anonymous

    How long is long enough? Lugar has been in the senate 36 years. He’s 80 years old. I like the guy, and he’s been a good senator as far as I can tell. But how long is long enough? He looks like he’d make a good Wal Mart greeter.

  4. Troy Jones

    Angle and O’Donnell held positions that weren’t broad enough to get a majority of votes. They did not lack money.

    The ultimate irony if Lugar gets beat plus the loss of Nevada and Deleware is not having these three votes will likely make repeal of Obamacare impossible.

    1. delegate

      Was Lugar in DC when you were there with Abdnor? If so try and imagine Jim Abdnor still being our senator… That is a long time.

  5. Troy


    That is a fair comment (yes Lugar was there). Some people can’t handle the rigors of being a Senator at 50 much less 80. Others can.

    Strom Thurmond was 81-85 during the years I was there and served 18 years after I left. I can’t speak to his vigor after I left but nobody did more or worked harder than him at that age. He was whipper-snapper smart. I have no idea of whether or not Lugar is still able to perform (which is legitimate to ask as an Indiana voter) but for the rest of us, we have no information firsthand to judge that and I just think we should not use age as an argument. Strom could do it. Lugar probably can too.

  6. Anonymous

    Would I hire an 80 year old to do a 6-year job? No. I’d thank him for his 36 years of service and invite him to buy his own gold watch.

    Let’s hope that the era of the career politician is coming to an end. Instead of doing whatever it takes to get re-elected time and again, let’s get some statesmen and women in there who will put America first and re-election second knowing they have a limited time in office and will return to the private sector in short order.


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