Pharos-Tribune

State News

December 9, 2012

Maureen Hayden: Lugar says DeMint can muster millions to support ultra-conservatives

INDIANAPOLIS — The surprise resignation of ultra-conservative U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint was seen by some as an indicator of the weakening power of the tea party movement that helped put an end to the career of the nation’s most senior U.S. senator, Richard Lugar.

But Lugar doesn’t see it that way.

Last week, at his annual public-policy symposium for high school students, the Indiana Republican said DeMint’s decision to abandon his post to head the conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation is an indicator of the growing influence of outside pressure groups on the inside workings of the legislative branch.

DeMint, said Lugar, can wield a big stick as the head of an organization that can muster up millions of campaign dollars for candidates who support the ultra-conservative causes that DeMint has championed.

A self-proclaimed warrior in the “battle of ideas,” DeMint, the founder of the founder of the Senate Tea Party Caucus, has been an uncompromising foe of compromise.

He opposes immigration reforms that would create a pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S., and he’s wanted no ground yielded to President Barack Obama as we speed toward the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

The 80-year-old Lugar was vilified during his losing primary race for embracing both immigration reform and the virtues of compromise on budget and other issues.

Lugar said DeMint envisions himself as the next Grover Norquist. As head of the influential Americans for Tax Reform, Norquist has pressured scores of legislators into taking a pledge to never, ever raise taxes under any circumstances.

Norquist, said Lugar, uses his organization to mobilize forces against anyone who even thinks about defying the pledge.

“Grover is able to call into play tens of millions of dollars to crucify anybody that crosses the line,” Lugar said. “So, in essence, Jim DeMint is saying: ‘Now I’m going to play that game.’”

It’s a game Lugar thinks will end badly.

He blames Washington’s inability to act to avert the double-whammy of tax hikes and spending cuts that will come next month unless there’s some compromise in Congress, on Norquist and like-minded no-compromisers. It’s a crisis Lugar is convinced that could have been averted long before now by practicing some simple virtues: Listening and talking to the other side long enough to find common ground.

In the same week that DeMint announced his departure from the Senate, Lugar announced how he’ll be spending some of his time after he leaves office: teaching the next generation of leaders the art of compromise.

He’s joining the University of Indianapolis as a Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Foreign Affairs. And he’ll be expanding the university’s current Lugar Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders into the Richard G. Lugar Academy, which will continue to focus on training young people interested in the big ideas for which Lugar is best known, including the disarmament of nuclear and chemical weapons.

At last week’s symposium, where the tea party and the “fiscal cliff” were just two of the many matters that Lugar covered with his high school audience, there was a young man from Goshen High School in the audience who listened to Lugar’s talk with rapt attention.

He told me he was “sad, so sad,” that he’ll never get a chance to vote for Lugar. “He’s one of my heroes,” said 16-year-old Noah Shremer. “I have a ton of respect for this man.”

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State News
  • NWS-PT040714 Hogsett mug.jpg The job? Guarding public trust INDIANAPOLIS -- Joe Hogsett was being vetted for the job of U.S. Attorney four years ago when he asked a federal judge for advice. That judge observed that there hadn't been a high-profile public corruption case in the southern district of Indiana s

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Flood Insurance Indiana [Duplicate] Indiana braces for flood insurance subsidy changes INDIANAPOLIS -- Thousands of Indiana homeowners who live in flood-prone neighborhoods are bracing for insurance premium increases, despite Congress' latest fix for the government's debt-saddled flood insurance program. More than 13,300 Indiana homeow

    March 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • NWS-PT031714 Wolkins mug.jpg Zooming through: Rules on mo-peds headed to governor's desk INDIANAPOLIS -- Rep. Dave Wolkins could only oppose mo-ped regulations for so long, as more bikes zipped along the roads and were involved in an increasing number of accidents. So Wolkins -- who spent five years fighting to keep Indiana among the few

    March 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Prison inmates part of new Legion post TERRE HAUTE -- Wearing khaki-colored matching uniforms, more than 20 veterans inside a maximum-security prison stood tall to salute the flag of the United States at an event that welcomed them as new American Legion members. These men, inmates at the

    March 17, 2014

  • NWS-PT031414 beer alcohol.jpg Old ban on beer booze level may be tapped out INDIANAPOLIS -- Loughmiller's Pub across from the Statehouse is a favorite hangout for legislators and lobbyists who like the tavern's menu of gourmet burgers and craft beers. State police are regular lunch customers, as are state officials who regul

    March 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Indiana House leader: Tax, preschool deals near INDIANAPOLIS -- Republican leaders working on a series of last-minute compromises on top-tier issues of tax cuts, preschool and road funding announced Tuesday they were close to final agreements. "I say agreement in principle because we still have to

    March 12, 2014

  • Same-sex couples sue state over ban LOUISVILLE -- Erin Brock says she's prepared to fight to have her love legally recognized by the state of Indiana. Brock and her fiancé Melissa Love share a home and children in Jeffersonville and are one of four same-sex couples from Southern Indian

    March 10, 2014

  • Ivy Tech's $83M wish list meets skeptical audience INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Ivy Tech Community College says it needs $83 million more from the state so it can double its enrollment and graduation rates and help the state meet its own goal of increasing the number of Indiana residents with post-high-schoo

    March 9, 2014

  • Bill ends automatic license suspensions for many crimes INDIANAPOLIS -- Unpaid parking fines, falling behind on child support, drunken driving: So many offenses trigger a suspended driver's license in Indiana that more than a half-million Hoosiers have lost their driving privileges. In fact, driving on a

    March 7, 2014

  • NWS-PT030314 Zionsville bus.jpg Rolling billboards: Legislation may create pilot program INDIANAPOLIS — Cash hungry schools may start selling ads on the sides of buses to make up millions of dollars lost because of property tax caps. Legislation moving through the General Assembly would create a pilot program allowing a few districts to

    March 3, 2014 1 Photo

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should mushroom hunters be allowed to forage off-trail in Indiana state parks?

Yes
No
Undecided
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.