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Defeat of Sen. Lugar signals new low in partisan combat

Richard Mourdock, the Indiana state treasurer who ousted 36-year incumbent Senator Richard Lugar in Tuesday’s Republican primary, is entitled to run on an extremely conservative platform, advocating for sweeping budget cuts, additional tax cuts, and a fundamentally smaller government. But his avowed refusal to compromise, in a body whose day-to-day functioning depends on it, is an affront to the American approach to government. Everyone who abhors the combative state of politics, the rejection of obvious solutions in order to maintain partisan purity, should be deeply troubled by this week’s results in Indiana.

Many senators engage in partisan tactics while at least suggesting they’d prefer a path of cooperation. Mourdock, however, declared that “this is a historic time, and the most powerful people in both parties are so opposed to one another that one side simply has to win out over the over.” His refusal to cooperate isn’t a sad reflection on the state of politics. It’s the engine of his campaign. And it’s uniquely destructive.

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