Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Sen. Lugar's Next Stop: Think Tank Land?

The Hill speculates that if Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) loses his primary battle next week, it is possible that he could join a Washington think tank.
Some possible landing spots could include the Bipartisan Policy Center, a group co-founded by former Senate Majority Leaders Mitchell, Bob Dole (R-Kan.), Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Howard Baker (R-Tenn.) that focuses on finding bipartisan solutions to policy problems. Other possibilities mentioned include the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, run by former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), and the center-left Brookings Institution.
Less likely would be the conservative American Enterprise Institute or Heritage Foundation. Both think tanks have foreign-policy teams dominated by neoconservatives who in the past have sparred with Lugar, who has a less interventionist viewpoint.
Not mentioned was the foreign policy-heavy Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), which has numerous past and current Members of Congress in various trustee/advisory roles.  In fact, Sen. Lugar, the Ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is an Advisory Board Member at CSIS.  Other Members of Congress affiliated with CSIS include:
  • Sam Nunn, former Democratic Senator representing Georgia; Chairman of Board of Trustees
  • Bill Frist, former Republican Senator representing Tennessee; Trustee
  • Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA); Advisory Board Member
  • Rep. David Dreier (R-CA); Advisory Board Member
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA); Advisory Board Member
  • Sen. Kay Bailey-Hutchison (R-TX); Advisory Board Member
  • Sen. John McCain (R-AZ); Advisory Board Member
  • Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV); Advisory Board Member

Perhaps Sen. Lugar could take a more active role in CSIS if he does indeed leave Congress.

Sen. Lugar is also a current member of the Board of Directors of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).  Sam Nunn (who is also at CSIS along with Lugar) is the Co-Chairman and CEO of NTI.

Perhaps he will play a more active role in the Richard G. Lugar Center for Renewable Energy? Or the Richard G. Lugar Center for Rural Health?  Or the Richard G. Lugar Academy?

If Lugar follows in Nunn's footsteps even closer, perhaps he can get a school named after himself.  (See Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech.)

Another possibility for Lugar could be a return to the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).  Lugar served on the Board of Directors of that group from 1992-2001.

Last year, Sen. Lugar resigned from the liberal Campus Network, a division of the New York City-based think tank Roosevelt Institute, after Indiana State Treasurer (and Tea Party-backed Republican primary opponent) Richard Mourdock pressured Lugar to leave the board.

Mourdock has recently called on Sen. Lugar to resign from the Brookings Institution's Energy Security Initiative (ESI), saying that it advocates the Obama Administration's "cap and trade" legislation, which would "devastate the Hoosier energy industry."  Sen. Lugar serves on ESI's advisory group.

Update: Sen. Lugar was defeated in the Republican primary on May 8, 2012.