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Opinion: Put Career Politicians on the Endangered Species List

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The seismic shockwaves are still reverberating around Washington D.C. and in every Congressional District across the country. As well they should be. Just last week, voters in Indiana tossed out Richard Lugar, the onetime foreign policy and centrist powerhouse in the Senate who had previously represented the Hoosier State for 36 years.

That Lugar, who ran unopposed six years ago and collected 87 percent of the vote in 2006 was tossed out by a Tea Party candidate last week should send shockwaves to every incumbent politician on the ballot this November. Why?

Simply put, voters across the country aren’t buying what the political elite in Washington D.C. are selling them anymore.  The economy remains sluggish, unemployment remains high and free spending folks in our nation’s Capital have added nearly $6 trillion to the national debt in less than four years.

Lugar’s loss, described by his friend and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) as a “tragedy for the Senate,” should be viewed instead as a win for the American people.  Just as many were surprised that Scott Brown captured “the Kennedy seat” in Massachusetts a few years back, Lugar’s defeat should serve as a reminder that the citizens, rather than any one politician, own the 535 seats in our House of Representatives and Senate in Washington, D.C.

People hire their fellow citizens to represent them in Congress, but they can just as easily be fired should their performance on the job be less than stellar. In Lugar’s case, a suit brought questioning his voting eligibility in Indiana didn’t help matters; he has maintained an address in the wealthy suburb of McLean, VA since 1977.  It led to the impression that Lugar had somehow “gone native” in Washington rather than keep his roots at home with those who gave him the privilege to serve in elective office.

Every elected official on the ballot this November should take heed of Mr. Lugar’s stunning defeat: No matter who you are or which political party you are aligned with, failure to remain connected and committed to the issues of concern to your constituents will land you right back at home and looking for a new job. 

The career politician should now be listed on the endangered species list.