- UncategorizedStyleFood & DrinkWomenTechPosted: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 | By: Esquire Philippines | 1 comment
Richard Lugar, 80, Senior United States Senator from the Hoosier State of Indiana, recipient of the Order of Sikatuna, saw his 45-year political career (35 years in the U.S. Senate) ended somewhat unexpectedly today by Republican primary voters. His reelection bid was junked by Indiana Republicans in favor of a relatively unknown opponent (Richard Mourdock) heavily backed by the Tea Party. Lugar, as folks of a certain age may remember, was a peripheral player in the events leading up to the 1986 EDSA Revolution. He led the congressional delegation that observed the 1986 presidential snap elections contested by Ferdinand Marcos, a staunch anti-communist ally of the United States and Corazon Aquino, an untested political widow who counted many left-of-center activists among her advisers. In retrospect, 1986 fell within the waning days of the Cold War. Yet at that time, the Republican administration of Ronald Reagan remained unaware of the imminence of the fall of the Soviet empire; hence its sponsorship of illicit little wars against Marxist regimes in the Americas. No doubt, many in the Reagan administration feared dealing with the goody-goody Mrs. Aquino and her hippie advisers and would have preferred Mr. Marcos to soldier on even by crook (“a sonofabitch, but our sonofabitch”).
If they were expecting the good Republican Richard Lugar to supply them with political cover, they miscalculated. The Lugar delegation received overwhelming reports of fraud by the Marcos side and Lugar himself threatened congressional disapproval of US aid to Marcos should it be shown that the elections were “fatally flawed.” After Reagan himself claimed that there was electoral fraud “on both sides”, Lugar replied that Aquino would have won if not for Marcos’s dirty tricks. As the Chicago Tribune reported on February 14, 1986::
In his meeting with the President Tuesday, Lugar urged Reagan not to assume a Marcos victory or to prematurely declare the election fraudulent, which could give Marcos an excuse to throw out the results and simply remain in power.
Lugar told Reagan that there has been a fundamental political transition in the Philippines and that the choice there is no longer between Marcos and Aquino, but between Aquino and the communists, a congressional source said.
Two days later, Reagan would forcefully denounce Marcos. Nine days after, Marcos was en route to Hawaii, ousted by the People Power Revolution. American withdrawal of support for Mr. Marcos was most helpful in the transition from dictatorship to democracy. The prevailing view within the ruling Republican party in early February 1986 was to view Marcos vs. Aquino from the left-versus-right dynamic, rather than the good-versus-evil perspective. Richard Lugar and his congressional team, after seeing the evidence at the scene of the crime, helped steer the Republican establishment away from the corrupt American ally, to the point that it became embarrassing for Reagan to publicly stand by the friend who had lavishly hosted him at the Cultural Center when he was still a newly-installed governor better known for the Bedtime with Bonzo.
In the end, it was the left-vs-right dynamic, albeit one refashioned for the post-Cold War times, that did in the Senator from Indiana. Richard Lugar was anything but a conservative Republican. His flaw, in the eyes of the 2012 Tea Party acolyte, was insufficient fervor in wielding the pitchfork athwart the creeping socialism unveiled by the foreigner’s son of uncertain creed. In its current incarnation, the Republican Party is dominated by activists who expect their avatars in Congress to be animated by disgust over liberalism, even that in seeming moderate disguise. Of the three photographs featured in Lugar’s Wikipedia page, one is of Lugar palling around with Barack Obama, while another is of the Senator standing cozy the Hollywood actress Ashley Judd. Hardly the resume expected from the present Republican warrior class.
Since Lugar is obviously done with the current Republican party, expect him, age permitting, to become Secretary of State in a second term for Obama. In that role, his nostalgic affection for the Philippines may perhaps exert influence towards a more equivocal US stance in the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China.