FreedomWorks, the Tea Party group that supported a series of challenges to incumbent GOP senators in 2010, has disclosed that intends to back the campaign of Richard Mourdock against incumbent GOP Senator Dick Lugar. Lugar ran afoul of the Tea Party because of his votes to confirm Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan as well as his decision to vote for the TARP legislation that President Bush proposed as the financial crisis hit.
Lugar is an old-style Republican, the kind with whom you can find compromise. He recognizes the President's right to nominate Supreme Court justices and, heaven forfend, thinks the Senate should ratify those choices short of convincing evidence that a nominee is unfit. He believed, as did most members of Congress, that with the financial system in free-fall, TARP was necessary to stop the bleeding. For this, he has earned the ire of the Tea Partyers who do not value Lugar's years of thoughtful service over their own orthodoxy.
The Tea Party, of cost, ended up costing the GOP control of the Senate. In Delaware, Nevada and Colorado, Democrats were able to hold on because the GOP endorsed Tea Party-backed candidates who proved not to be ready for prime time. No word yet on whether or not Mr. Mourdock was ever a witch. But, I will venture the prediction that if he beats Lugar in the primaries, Joe Donnelly is on his way to the U.S. Senate.