Lugar Lost

I just read that Richard Mourdock defeated Richard Lugar in the Republican Senate primary. from Yahoo News

Dick Lugar, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate, was defeated Tuesday as Indiana Republicans chose state Treasurer Richard Mourdock over Lugar as the party’s nominee.

With 37 percent reporting, Mourdock received 60 percent to 40 percent for Lugar in the Hoosier state’s Senate primary, marking a huge win for tea party supporters and conservatives across the country.

Conservatives had long targeted Lugar for defeat, arguing he represented a Republican establishment in Congress that has acquiesced to the Democratic party. They singled out Lugar’s votes for the bailouts, in support of the president’s stimulus and votes to confirm U.S. Supreme Court nominees Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor as evidence of his “RINO” (Republican in name only) status.

National tea party groups such as FreedomWorks and the Tea Party Express as well as the state group Hoosiers for a Conservative Senate and others mobilized and invested in the race, casting the contest as a nationally significant battle to restore conservatism and hold leaders of the Republican establishment accountable.

Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum were among the high-profile politicians who offered public support for Mourdock’s campaign.

Lugar began the race with a major fundraising advantage and drew support from his extensive political network, which led to endorsements from the state’s popular governor, Mitch Daniels, and fellow foreign policy expert Sen. John McCain.

In the race’s last days, Lugar pivoted from arguing that Mourdock was inexperienced and flawed to branding himself as his party’s best hope of defeating Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly in the general election in November.

“Democrats understand Joe Donnelly will beat Richard Mourdock,” Lugar wrote in an email message to supporters Sunday. “This is serious. Losing our Indiana Senate seat to the Democrats is not a risk that Republicans can take.”

Donnelly ran unopposed for his party’s nomination Tuesday.

Democrats view Lugar’s loss as their best chance of capturing the seat, preferring to go up against a newcomer who spent the primary marketing himself to the far right instead of facing a longtime lawmaker who boasts support from independents and Democrats in the state.

 

It would seem that the Democrats are planning to label Mourdock an extremist for holding views that the majority of Hoosiers hold. Here is part of the statement from Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

“Unfortunately for Republicans, they seem to only have room for Tea Party candidates. That might explain why Mitt Romney has embraced so many far-right positions like endorsing a budget that would end Medicare as we know it to pay for tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, getting rid of federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and supporting the Blunt-Rubio Amendment and so-called ‘Personhood’ amendments. Mitt Romney called himself ‘the ideal Tea Party candidate,’ and his policies and positions back up the claim.

“The choice in this election could not be more clear. President Obama wants to move the country forward because America prospers when we’re all in it together; when hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded; when everyone, from Main Street to Wall Street, does their fair share and plays by the same rules. Mitt Romney, Richard Mourdock and the rest of the Tea Party Republicans are offering an economic scheme that is familiar and troubling: more budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy; fewer rules for Wall Street–the same formula that benefitted a few, but crashed our economy and punished the middle class.”

I wonder how she can say something like that with a straight face. It is Obama who has been busting the budget with trillion dollar a year deficits and different rules for his supporters on Wall Street. The TEA Party stands for fiscal sanity and limited government, the sort of things the founding fathers stood for.

The fact that Lugar lost is actually rather amazing. Just six years ago, he was so untouchable that the Democrats didn’t bother to field an opponent against him. I like it a whole lot better when politicians know they could lose their jobs.

In other news, it would seem that Luke Messer won the Republican primary for the sixth district with 42% of the vote. Mitt Romney won the presidential primary, of course, but he got 645 of the vote. Ron Paul got 15% and Rick Santorum got 14%.

 

The History of the Later Roman Empire

I am not sure whether I only received the first volume of a two-volume book. Despite the title, the book I read only related the history of the late Roman Empire from Arcadius to Phocas, that is, from around 400-600. I won’t complain, however. J. B. Bury’s history is still interesting to read even it only covered about half the period I expected. Actually, 600 seems to be a logical place for ending the story of the late Roman Empire. In the year AD 600, the Eastern Roman Empire was still recognizably the same state that had existed two centuries earlier. The western provinces had been lost, although Justinian made a great effort to recover them. The capital was no longer Rome, but New Rome or Constantinople. Still, all of the institutions of the late empire had survived.

In the following century, however, the Roman Empire of late antiquity had changed into the medieval Byzantine Empire. The invading armies of Islam, and Slavic migrations stripped away all but the core of the empire in Greece and Asia Minor. The empire was fighting for its life and every institution had to be changed to defend the empire from its enemies. Although they still called themselves Romans, right up to the end,  this was no longer the empire of Caesar or even Constantine. Even the official language of government was changed from Latin to Greek, by the Emperor Heraclius just after this book closes,  in recognition of the fact that there were few, if any, native Latin speakers left in the domains of the Roman Empire.

I should say, though, that this is not just a history of the Eastern or early Byzantine Empire.  Bury also covers the last decades of the Western Empire and the establishment of the Germanic kingdoms that succeeded it.  He made an important point that the conquest of the Western half of the Roman Empire was more a matter of slow demographic movements, than conquering armies. When the Germans were a small segment of the population, as the Ostrogoths in Italy or the Vandals in North Africa, their kingdoms did not last, while the Frankish kingdom in Gaul endured because there were already a large number of Germans who had emigrated there.

Despite a few flaws, I highly recommended A History of the Later Roman Empire, as a good guide to a period of history not often studied.

Indiana Primary Day

Well, today is the long awaited primary here in Indiana. I had hoped that the Presidential contest would last this long so that we here in Indiana would actually get a choice, but we had no such luck. Oh well.I voted as a Republican, of course.

Ron Paul is still running along with Mitt Romney but Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum were still on the ballot. I decided to vote for Santorum. Romney will win of course, but we don’t want him to get cocky. There was only one choice for governor, Mike Pence. We do have an exciting race for Senator. I voted for Richard Mourdock. Thanks to redistricting, the Madison area was moved from the ninth to sixth Congressional district. The incumbent Congressman, Mike Pence, is off running for Governor, so both the Democrats and Republicans an open seat to fill. There were seven candidates so I picked the one whose name seemed most familiar, Travis Hankins. There were also a number of local races, usually with only one, or no candidates to vote for.