Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana lost his Republican primary yesterday to Tea Party backed conservative Richard Mourdock, after more than 35 years in the Senate. His defeat is not just a defeat for Lugar and his supporters, but a defeat for American national security and indeed the entire world. In the words of fellow Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Senator John Kerry, "It will soon almost sound cliché to say that America is safer today because of Dick Lugar's 36 years of service in the Senate, but it really does bear repeating."
Lugar's challenger, Richard Mourdock, said in his victory speech, that his campaign was about ideas for the future of both the Republican Party and our nation as a whole. Unfortunately, Mourdock's win is part of a disturbing pattern of election victories for Tea Party ideas, of unilateralists over more moderate, internationally minded Republicans.
Partisanship used to end at our nations shores. Now, partisanship permeates Capitol Hill like a festering disease. It has become increasingly more difficult for non-partisan organizations, like GlobalSolutions.org, to find partners on both sides of the aisle who understand that international cooperation is essential to build a safer and more secure world. In our latest Congressional Report Card, House and Senate Democrats averaged an A-, while House Republicans averaged a D-. Senate Republicans fared worse than their House colleagues with an F. This is because we have lost internationally minded GOP friends like Lugar, Mike Castle, Jim Leach, Chuck Hagel and retiring Senator Olympia Snow.
When political parties refuse to work together and compromise, it is impossible to have a strong and clear vision on foreign policy and national security, endangering our nation's safety. We're skating on thin ice.