I almost wish I could attend school next year at the University of Indianapolis.
Why? The U of I has a new professor by the name of Richard Lugar. At the end of the year he’ll be stepping down from his U.S. Senate seat. He’ll be teaching students about history and politics, the mix of the two, and perhaps he might be able to tell them what has happened to a once-great political party.
Lugar is a proud Republican. President Nixon once called Lugar his “favorite mayor,” who at the time was mayor of Indianapolis. He left city hall for the Senate in the 1970s and forged a career as a great statesman and GOP wise man. Lugar ran for president in 1996, but fell far short of being nominated. I had the pleasure of shaking his hand at a conference I attended in D.C. early in that election year.
But the Republican Party to which he belongs has become something quite different. Lugar lost his party’s primary this year to a guy named Richard Mourdock, a favorite of the tea party wing of the Republican Party. Mourdock said he didn’t care to work with Democrats, thinking that the only “compromise” he favored would be if the Dems saw the world the way he saw it.Then Mourdock declared it to be “God’s will” if a woman got pregnant while being raped.
Mourdock lost the election in November to a Democrat. Thank goodness.
Lugar has plenty of knowledge to pass on to young students attending the University of Indianapolis. I urge him to explain to them what has become of a great political party, which gave the nation the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower. I’d throw Ronald Reagan into that mix as well, given that I am not sure The Gipper would like what has become of the party that its current leaders keep invoking his memory.
Rock-solid mainstream conservatives no longer seem welcome in the Grand Old Party, which has been hijacked by its lunatic fringe. I hope Professor Lugar is ready to trace that journey to young minds willing to listen to his wisdom.