David Frum

05.04.12

The Anti-Lugar Challenge

Who'll speak up for Senator Richard Lugar?

Peggy Noonan will. I hope she lives on a high floor—they'll be hurling brickbats at her windows next:

Mr. Lugar remains as what he is, exceptional, and in his case there are many factors. He's fought many fights to keep bad policy from being imposed. (Unfortunately, there's never a memorial to the bad bill that didn't happen.) He's waded into serious policy issues, such as disarmament, that get little credit but are crucial. And in a practical sense, conservatives might note that the senior senator from Indiana has just had the scare of his political life. He's never been primaried before. It is likely that he will return to Washington, if he's allowed to return, newly alive to certain conservative needs and concerns. There, he will be able to take what might be called a refreshed sense of where people are, combine it with a veteran's knowledge of how to move things forward, and help make the kind of progress conservatives long for.

Does all this reflect a bias toward stability, toward those who know how to lead and compromise and find agreement, at a time when Washington seems increasingly immature, feckless, unaware of urgency?

Yes, I do declare that bias. In Washington now very few have their eye on the big picture. Mr. Lugar does.