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Can Senator Lugar save the Republican party?

DCblogger's picture
Will this man play de Klerk to Conyers’ Mandela?

Yesterday nyceve had a diary on health care that asked readers to contact Richard Lugar and ask him to introduce a Senate version of HR 676. Since Lugar was specifically singled out, I assume there is some reason to believe that he is receptive to the idea. I don’t know much about Lugar other than the obvious, and I don’t know much about Indiana politics. What follows is pure speculation, make of it what you will.

One of my high school teachers was fond of saying that there were two reasons for everything, the good one and the real one.

The good reason that Lugar might decide to take the lead in the Senate for single payer is for all the reasons that we have discussed. Single payer would save $350 BILLION a year. Rather than create a new government program it would merely expand an existing program which already has an administrative structure in place. It would have a massive stimulating effect upon the economy, particularly what remains of our manufacturing sector, a significant portion of which is located in Indiana. Moreover, it is entirely possible that the thousands of hard luck health care stories that pour into every politician’s office have had their effect upon Lugar, he may genuinely want to do something. Just as de Klerk understood that apartheid had become unsustainable, Lugar may have realized that the employer based insurance system has run its course.

Now lets get a little cynical for a moment. Health care is a huge issue, Obama and Kennedy want to be the leaders who provided a soltion. So far the Republican response has been more of the same, obstructionism. But Lugar has always positioned himself as the reasonable Republican. He can see that more Gingrich style obstructionism is not going to work in the present environment. The significance of Obama’s carrying Indiana is not lost on Lugar. The Republicans need a new approach. By embracing single payer, Lugar can deprive Obama and Kennedy credit for solving the health care crisis while at the same time avoiding the label of obstructionist.

The politics of such a move get even better from the point of view of Indiana Republicans. Evan Bayh is up for reelection in 2010, and Bayh is a determined opponent of single payer. Should Lugar take the lead for single payer in the Senate he creates an opportunity to whoever runs against Bayh to paint Bayh as the Senator from Wellpoint.

If Lugar is considering a run for President single payer will give him an issue that will cut into Obama’s base. Since Palin has the Cro-Magnon wing of the Republican party sewn up, Lugar will need a different appeal. Lugar could be the Republican who pulled one of Obama’s chief issues right out from under him.

If you live in Indiana, please contact Senator Lugar.

If you do not live in Indiana, it might make fore sense to contact his election site.

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Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

I'm not sure that Lugar is even considering running for president, nor do I think his Senate seat would be unsafe if he openly opposed single payer under a President Obama. There has to be some other reason. Perhaps, you need to go back and ask nyceve why he wanted folks to contact Senator Lugar. Otherwise, this could very well be an effort in futility, because none of the speculation you made makes much since given Lugars age and the lock he has on his Senate seat.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

Lugar will be 80 in 2012, so I suspect you must be right, that is a little late to be running for Pres.

nyceve must have had some sort of reason

Submitted by ohio on

He's going to be 80 and has nothing to lose, so getting out front on single payer carves up the Obama Party base (fragile already), builds a foundation for the "New Republican Party" on the sound business principles for single payer and repackaged as the "party of good ideas," and lets him leave a personal legacy even bigger than being president.

The Obama Party has an uncomfortably close relationship with pharma, insurance, and financial industries, as well as the faith-based sector. Sen. Lugar and many other Republicans are boxed in. Be careful when fighting an opponent with nothing to lose and no way out---they fight ferociously and often get very creative in their tactics.

My question is, "Since I can't trust him, how do I ensure he does whan I want?"

Submitted by lambert on

Maybe the Republicans are going to become One Nation Tories?

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

This is the same GOP that has been decimated in the last two elections, and dems/progs give them more credit than they deserve. If they were as tricky and good as they are given credit for, I don't see how their embarrassing losses are in anyway strategic.

I'm with Damon, none of the arguments made here make sense. The simplest idea is that this poster gulped the koolaid and thinks Obama's sheer essence will convert anyone. Keep in mind that Obama is on really good terms with Lugar (heck, he's a cochair for the swearing in). Seems to me this is just wishful thinking.

Submitted by hipparchia on

lugar is certainly smart enough to realize that whoever gets true healthcare reform passed, be it hr676-style single payer or some version of france's or germany's non-profit multi-payer system, will become the american equivalent of tommy douglas. and whichever party leads that effort will probably be the dominant party for the next generation or two [provided they don't screw things up by taking us into endless useless wars].

lugar also did some good work on the farm bill, although i didn't follow the bill nearly as closely as i had meant to, having got all caught up in single payer the past couple of years. whether he means it or not, he certainly comes off as a nice moderate centrist willing to listen to the concerns of the populace.

the democrats, otoh, are lookingmore and more like nice moderate centrists who would rather pay attention to the concerns of the elite.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

...but it doesn't address why we're talking about it in the context of Lugar.

Again, who is this nyceve, and what does he know about Lugar that we don't. Not one piece of speculation done here connects anything even remotely to health care and Lugar.