It is no exaggeration to say that in nuclear security circles Lugar is a rock star. If he wanted bowls of green M&Ms in his dressing room, they'd be handpicked by wonky groupies who spend their time poking around aging nuclear reactor sites in countries with names most people can't pronounce.Having heaped all of this praise on Lugar, Wagner couldn't pass up the opportunity the Star offered her to slam Sen. Mike Delph, who has been mentioned as a possible challenger to Lugar in the 2012 Republican primary, in her characteristic snarky, elitist fashion:
Lugar's bipartisan work with former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn back in the early 1990s led to the establishment of the Cooperative Threat Reduction program under which more than 7,500 nuclear weapons in the former Soviet Union have been deactivated and destroyed. The program, which also addresses the threat from chemical and biological weapons, has resulted in security upgrades at nuclear storage facilities in the region and the downblending of dangerous fissile material that's no longer needed in a post-Cold War era.
This is serious stuff, backlit by nightmarish could-be scenarios that would keep me awake at night if I didn't have full confidence in folks like Obama, Lugar and my former colleagues to carefully craft and execute a far-reaching, diplomatic agenda aimed at protecting us from the threat of nuclear material or weapons falling into the wrong hands.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention the key role Lugar played in generating Republican votes for the ratification of the New START treaty late last year. Often standing alone on his side of the aisle, Lugar repeatedly steered the debate away from political distraction and back to the merits of the treaty, a priority for Obama to help improve our relationship with Russia. After months of wrangling, the treaty passed with bipartisan support from Lugar -- and a dozen of his Republican colleagues.
Do Hoosiers really want to trade in an accomplished public servant like Lugar for a guy, for example, whose legislative priorities include creating a tea party license plate and requiring presidential candidates to file birth certificates for ballot access?
If the Star's editors think they are helping Lugar's re-election chances by flooding its editorial and news pages with Lugar propaganda, they're only fooling themselves. It will work as well as their propaganda in support of Bart Peterson's re-election in 2007. And if Dick Lugar thought he had problems being labeled "Richard Nixon's Favorite Mayor" during his unsuccessful Senate race against Birch Bayh in 1974, he's going to have even greater problems to the extent his Republican rivals can label him "Barack Obama's Favorite Senator".
And don't kid yourselves. These Democratic friends of Lugar won't be voting for him in 2012. "Let the record reflect that I don't agree with Lugar on a great many things, particularly some of his more recent votes and statements that have clearly been aimed at defending against a primary challenge," Wagner cautions. "I believe Democrats will nominate a strong candidate next year to make sure Hoosiers have a choice when they go to the polls, and I know that candidate will articulate the reasons why he or she would be best positioned to stand up for working families in Washington . . . I am a Democrat, and I want to see a Democrat representing Indiana in the U.S. Senate," she adds. Spoken like the paid political flack for the Democratic Party she is. If Dick Lugar wants another six years in the Senate, he needs to learn how to speak to rank-and-file Republican and independent voters, not the cheerleading squad for the opposing team.