Policy Profile Of Senator Dick Lugar Essay
, Research Paper
The following report will attempt to provide a brief, yet concise policy profile of Indiana Republican Senator Richard Lugar. Beginning with a short biographical review, the profile will proceed and concentrate on Senator Lugar’s major areas of public policy concern; Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, and in part, his 1996 Presidential Campaign which encompasses a myriad of issues, both foreign and domestic. It would be impossible to include every aspect of Senator Lugar’s political career and personal life within the scope of this paper. Instead, emphasis will be placed on the most important and critical points of his tenure in American politics, at the federal level. However, in the conclusion of this text a rational explanation will be offered to give insight concerning Senator Lugar’s motivations and tendencies to act in the way he does. Biographical Background Richard Green Lugar was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on April 4, 1932. Attending Shortridge High School he excelled academically and was the class Valedictorian. After graduation, Dick Lugar (as he is commonly known) attended Denison University, in Ohio, and met his future wife Charlene Smeltzer. In 1954 Lugar received his degree from Denison and went on to be a Rhodes Scholar at Pembroke College on the campus of Oxford University, in England. Richard and Charlene were married in September, 1956, and now have four sons and six grandchildren. After completing studies at Oxford, Dick Lugar went to the American Embassy in London, England and promptly enlisted in the Navy as an intelligence briefer and was responsible for giving intelligence reports to ‘high brass’, including the President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Along with Senator Lugar’s political achievements, he has occupied positions in the private sector, as well as a stint in the United States Navy. As a young man Richard Lugar worked at, and managed the family businesses, a farm, and a food machinery firm started by his Grandfather over 100 years ago, Thomas L. Green & Company. Both are located in the Indianapolis area. In 1964, Lugar obtained his first political office with the Indianapolis School Board. He then went on to win the Mayoral bid in 1968, and served two terms at the head of city government in Indianapolis. Senator Lugar’s next stepping stone in politics would be a failed attempt for the office of United States Senator in 1974, losing to incumbent Birch Bayh, father of the current Indiana Governor, Evan Bayh. Suprisingly, Lugar lost the election by only 75,000 votes, quite an accomplishment considering the incumbency factor. Lugar ran for the Senate again in 1976 and captured the seat from Democratic incumbent Vance Hartke. Senator Lugar has since been reelected two times (in 1988, he won by an overwhelming 68% percent of the total vote) and is currently in the midst of a campaign for President of the United States where he faces eight other challengers for the Republican nomination. Other achievements by Lugar that are worth mentioning are: His selection to the vice-presidency of the National League of Cities in 1970. He was appointed chairman, of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee for the 98th Congress. Served as chairman for the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations from 1985 to 1987. He is currently the chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. Senator Lugar also serves on the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, and Foreign Affairs sub-committees; Western Hemisphere and Peace Corps Affairs, International Economic Policy, East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Trade, Oceans and Environment. (101st, 486-489; 102nd,485-488; Directory,1399; Miller, 95′) Foreign Affairs Senator Richard Lugar is acknowledged to be one of the pre-eminent national leaders in the realm of foreign policy. Some have even claimed that he is in reality a “shadow Secretary of State”, being recognized around the globe for his involvement with international politics. Lugar’s involvement and membership to key Senate Foreign Affairs sub-committees, and being the chair of the full committee for one session of Congress shows his willingness and diligence to be involved in this policy area. Note, however, Senator Lugar was forced out of the chairmanship and did not voluntarily leave. (101st Congress, 486) Lugar has four principle premises for good foreign policy. They are as follows: * ” To defend and advance the cause of democracy, freedom, and human rights throughout the world.” * “To promote prosperity and social progress through a free, open, and expanding market-oriented global economy.” * “To work diplomatically to help resolve dangerous regional conflicts.” * “To work to reduce and eventually eliminate the danger of nuclear war.” Senator Lugar has made an ernest attempt to embrace these ideas and employ their definitions in most all areas of foreign policy. (Lugar, 28) During Lugar’s career in the United States Senate he has been afforded many opportunities to use his foreign policy prowess. Among these instances, some of the most notable shall be recognized within this paper. Again, there are simply too many cases to list each and every account, and one would be pressed to find them all. Those cases that were most visible to the public will be examined here. The details are at a minimum, but each will be represented by a brief synopsis of the matter at hand and what role Senator Lugar played in the outcome. To begin with, Richard Lugar is a major proponent of the North American Free Trade Agreement. He strongly believes in the free market, and stimulating its growth by increasing market share through unrestricted trade with North American countries. Once criticized for his role in pushing NAFTA through Congress, and its seemingly negative impact following the collapse of the Mexican peso–Lugar defended the free trade accord by pointing out that U. S. exports had soared to over one billion dollars and Mexico’s woes were due to mismanagement of their monetary unit and not the new agreement. Senator Lugar points out turmoil that many latin countries have faced in recent years, and states unequivocally, these problems cannot be over-looked in order to satisfy the skeptics’ presumption’s to free trade failure. Instead, one must brace for some economic turbulence that was bound to happen, and wait for the end result which will be beneficial to all parties involved.(Times,26) In another aspect of the global market, Lugar has staunchly supported trade, investment, and loan guarantees to the countries of the old Soviet Union. His reasoning is two-fold with emphasis on ensuring the young democracies’ survival in a period of time when they are certainly tested by radical change and reforms in economic and political policies. However, Senator Lugar also insists that Russia needs sufficient supports to help in disarming nuclear warheads, disposing of the lethal components (enriched uranium), and securing all facets of the processes. The implications, according to Lugar, are not acceptable. There are many unstable political entities in the modern world who would think nothing of perpetuating a nuclear strike, perhaps even against the U.S.. Countries such as North Korea, Iraq, and Iran are considered by many experts to be potential nuclear threats if they should be allowed to obtain sufficient amounts of enriched uranium which is required to make nuclear weapons. This type of threat may seem far-fetched in certain ways, but recent arrests in west european countries have been for possesion of, or attempting to smuggle raw nuclear materials such as uranium and plutonium. Unfortunately, inventory accounts are believed to be skewed and no one knows for certain how much radioactive material needs to be accounted for in the Eastern Bloc countries. However, Lugar suggests that risks can be reduced by assisting the soviets economically. Overall, he asserts that the U.S. plays the fool in resisting assistance, because we have so much to gain by stimulating a new, virtually untouche economic market that thrills to western technology and fashion, whereas the new democracies of the Eastern Bloc have nothing to lose. (Will, 29; Forbes, 27) Senator Lugar has openly and emphatically tried to persuade two administrations, those of Bush and Clinton, to take a proactive role in the the Bosnian conflict, making requests repeatedly for military involvement. Lugar insists that an effort by the U.S. is needed to ensure the peace process of the war stricken region. It is his opinion that the United States is only adding to its negative image by not becoming involved. America should step in to promote talks and maintain cease fire conditions to prolong an atmosphere conducive to a positive peace agreement.(Cohen, 971; Madison, 1469) Lugar has also been recognized, in part, for the recent release of Americans David Daliberti, and William Barloon who had been detained, tried, and sentenced for illegal border crossing by the Iraqi government. Lugar went on the record stating that the U.S. must,”…indicate that we are considering full diplomatic possibilities, and military options…We ought to do so publicly, firmly and quickly.” Many insiders believe that this stance by a generally level headed senator sent a message to Saddam Hussein—the current leader of Iraq—that the U.S. means business and is willing to enter a combat situation in order to have these American citizens released.(Greenhouse, 3) As one might conclude from the aforementioned refrences, Richard Lugar is a very active statesmen in the realm of foreign affairs. He acknowledges that this degree of involvement could be potentially harmful to a presidential candidate, but offers some solice by suggesting that America needs a president for two primary reasons. One, to make sure the financial state of the country is in good shape, taking every action to remove the national debt. Secondly, to be an effective foreign policy initiator, an example for the world, a dominant leader of the free world.(Miller, 95′) Agriculture Recent headlines spell out the current political climate in Congress. It is a climate of complete contempt between members, and between the legislative and executive branches. What is all the fighting about? The 96′ budget of course, and no one appears to be making headway. In fact, at the time of this writing, there has already been one special resolution to extend the deadline to keep the federal government from shutting down. It is only a matter of days before hundreds of thousands of federal employees will be placed on furlow because the government will be unable to make the payroll without proper appriations by the President and Congress. However, there does seem to be some shining stars out there. Senator Richard Lugar may be one of those stars. Richard Lugar is a quite recent appointtee to the Senate’s Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee. It has been the duty and focus of this committee to develop and forge an acceptable budget measure within the scope of its jurisdictions. The negotiations have been extensive commencing early in the spring when Lugar presented his own proposals to cut over fifteen billion dollars in expendutures over a five year period.(Hosansky, 1167) Lugar proposed massive cuts in the farm subsidies programs which were created during the depression era to help farmers stay afloat. He suggests that they are merely another form of welfare. Much of the disagreement with Lugar’s proposal stems from the idea that Lugar is from Indiana which traditionally does not see negative impact on farming conditions like most other farming states. Opponents argue that Lugar’s plan was not realistic and that he must seriously consider new proposals to solve the discord.,,,and he did…his ability to compromise on tough legislation has been a factor in his effeciveness as a lawmaker and policy formulation. The newly proposed legislation has a very good possibility of passing because it has already been agreed on by the House and the Senate, and has also gotten the nod from President Clinton. The new measure calls for cuts in the amounts of subsidies, but not nearly as drastic. The new bill calls for $13.4 billion in cuts over the next seven years in the area of farm subsidies. It would also prevent the Department of Agriculture from adopting a rule requiring a ban on ‘fresh’ labels in the case of poultry chilled below 26 degrees. The new measure will provide $27.6 billion for the federal food stamp program, as well as an increase of $260 million in the Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program. Both programs fall under the jurisdiction of the agriculture department. It appears that all sides have been satified in this particular budget matter for the time being, however, it is unfortunate that the rest of the gang on the hill cannot come to such an agreement. A couple of points are worth addressing in this section. Mainly because of Senator Lugar’s reluctance and refusal to protect measures concerning agricultural legslation. First, it has been noted by many of his colleagues that Lugar is from a farm state, in fact, he still operates the family farm in central Indiana. A farm which benefitted from more relaxed subsidies of the past, it collected over $2,500 in subsidies during 94′ alone. Lugar maintains that subsidies are simply taking money from one taxpayer and giving it to another—welfare for farmers. Presidential Campaign Mentioned earlier in this paper was the idea that Senator Richard Lugar has political ambitions that include being the next President of the United States. Lugar can remember wanting to seek the presidency when he was still Mayor of Indianapolis. The following provides a brief overview of Lugar’s policy stances on general issues, especially domestic matters. This is not intended to be complete and absolute platform, but instead a cursory glance to the vision Richard Lugar has for American public policy.