Think Progress highlights a comment made by former Senator John Danforth that should worry everyone who has an iota of concern about a functioning federal government.

In a New York Times story about the problems the Obama Adminstration and sane Republicans like Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Indiana) are having getting the new START nuclear arms treaty with Russia ratified, we find this paragraph that is only astonishing to people who have not been paying attention:

“If Dick Lugar,” said John C. Danforth, a former Republican senator from Missouri, “having served five terms in the U.S. Senate and being the most respected person in the Senate and the leading authority on foreign policy, is seriously challenged by anybody in the Republican Party, we have gone so far overboard that we are beyond redemption.” (emphasis by Think Progress)

Mr. Danforth, who was first elected the same year as Mr. Lugar, added, “I’m glad Lugar’s there and I’m not.”

Remember, this is the Senator who helped ensure Clarence Thomas was confirmed. Senator Danforth was not exactly a swishy moderate.

It really would be stunning to see Dick Lugar primaried. And, as Think Progress explains, it is a realistic prospect. I think we really should be worried about what this says about the ability of our federal government to function during this time of economic and political crisis.

The world does not stop for tea parties.

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