The power of a primary

It’s hard to know whether to be annoyed with Sen. Dick Lugar’s (R-Ind.) shift to the far-right or whether to feel sorry for the guy. As he endorses the so-called “Fair Tax,” I’m inclined to think the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

While the Fair Tax has received little support in the past, Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) — who is facing a highly competitive primary challenger from the right — announced his support for the policy yesterday in a video to his constituents posted on YouTube.

In announcing his support for the policy, Lugar bragged that “individuals would have more money to invest in jobs and growth.” Yet the fact is that the Fair Tax would be highly regressive and end up imposing a gigantic tax hike on the American middle class.

While Fair Tax supporters claim the tax — which would impose a 23 percent sales tax on most items — would actually end up benefiting all Americans thanks to a “prebate” Americans would get to be able to purchase basic goods, the truth is that almost all Americans would end up paying more taxes under the proposal.

Yep, this is a horrible idea. It’s been around for a while, and Lugar never had much use for it, but now that he’s afraid of losing to an even more conservative Republican in a primary, Lugar has suddenly discovered his love for policy nonsense he was right to dismiss before.

This keeps happening. In March, Lugar was still touting his support for the DREAM Act, only to announce his opposition to the bill he helped write in May. Soon after, Lugar voted for a House GOP plan to end Medicare, though he apparently didn’t want to.

It’s just sad to see what Republican primaries can do to someone.