Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar bids farewell to Senate after 36 years

Lugar: Senate should focus on governance

WASHINGTON - Sen. Richard Lugar says the Senate should focus on the unique role it plays in good governance and avoid the political posturing he's seen in recent years.

The Republican, who is wrapping up 36 years in the Senate, said in a farewell address Wednesday that he's seen the good work the Senate can do.

WATCH: Lugar's Full Speech

But Lugar laments the growth in partisanship and self-promotion he's seen in recent years. He says it's slowed down the work of the body and locked lawmakers in inflexible and unrealistic positions.

"It is possible to be re-elected and gain prominence in the Senate while giving very little thought to governance," he said. "One even can gain considerable notoriety  by devoting one's career to the political aspects of a senator's job -- promoting the party line, raising money and focusing on public relations.  Responsibility for legislative shortcomings can be pinned on the other party or even intractable members of one's own party."

Lugar says the irony is most senators he's worked with are hardworking and genuinely interested in public service, but that they often fail to listen to each other.

He also took a thinly veiled shot at the pledge many have given to lobbyist Grover Norquist to never raise taxes.

"Too often in recent years, members of Congress have locked themselves into a slate of inflexible positions, many of which have no hope of being implemented in a divided government," he said. "Some of these positions have been further calcified by pledges signed for political purposes."

Fellow Republican Sen. Dan Coats praised Lugar for his long service and what he described as a unique talent for building coalitions and bringing people together to accomplish great things.

Lugar will leave the Senate in January. He failed in a bid for a seventh term, losing in the GOP primary earlier this year.

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