How one handles losing and what they say after their loss says a lot about the man or woman. A case in point would be the contrast in concession statements between Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) who has served in the Senate for 36 years and Ilario Pantano who lost the Republican nomination for the 7th District of North Carolina. Pantano had been the Republican nominee in 2010 and had a reasonable expectation of winning again.
First, from Lugar's concession statement on his loss to Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock.
If Mr. Mourdock is elected, I want him to be a good Senator. But that will require him to revise his stated goal of bringing more partisanship to Washington. He and I share many positions, but his embrace of an unrelenting partisan mindset is irreconcilable with my philosophy of governance and my experience of what brings results for Hoosiers in the Senate. In effect, what he has promised in this campaign is reflexive votes for a rejectionist orthodoxy and rigid opposition to the actions and proposals of the other party. His answer to the inevitable roadblocks he will encounter in Congress is merely to campaign for more Republicans who embrace the same partisan outlook. He has pledged his support to groups whose prime mission is to cleanse the Republican party of those who stray from orthodoxy as they see it.
While Lugar did offer his tepid support but then went on to lecture Mourdock and Republicans about bipartisanship, polarization, etc. It comes off as sour grapes and smacks of condescension towards those stupid people that didn't support him.
By contrast, Ilario Pantano's statement on his loss to State Senator David Rouzer (R-NC) is the polar opposite to that of Richard Lugar. Pantano offers his support, asks that his supporters rally behind Rouzer, notes that he has made a contribution to him and suggests that his supporters do likewise. He uses the example of Robert E. Lee at the end of the Civil War who could have kept the war going through a guerilla campaign but did not. It should be kept in mind that Pantano won 8 of 12 counties in the district and only lost by 2,800 votes - in other words, a very close race.
As I see it, one politician handled his loss with grace and dignity and the other didn't. Ilario Pantano is the bigger man for it and Richard Lugar will be remembered as a bitter old man who lost touch with the voters of his home state. Pantano's full statement is below as I doubt I could find an online link to it.
Wilmington, NC: Friends, David Rouzer is our Republican Nominee for the 7th Congressional District. I support him and I hope you will too.
I ask that you focus on the importance of a strong and unified conservative voice in defeating Barack Obama and I ask that you help David Rouzer in his effort to build a Republican firewall here in SE North Carolina.
We cannot afford the luxury of hurt feelings or disappointment. We were knocked down on May 8, but I ask that you get up and like me, brush yourself off and get back in the fight. Yesterday does not define us. What you, your friends and family choose to do in the coming days will say more about your character than any political victory or defeat ever could.
Look to the example of General Robert E. Lee. It pained him to surrender, but he knew that he must and he knew that America needed him to lead the charge in healing its wounds. Had Lee chosen to engage in partisan guerilla attacks, the war between the states would still be underway today. Instead General Lee chose to do his duty as a Christian gentleman and work for peace in the years after the war. I ask all of you to join me in humbly trying to live a witness of love, compassion and forgiveness for a cause bigger than all of us. Let us make ourselves small so that we can make our faith big. If we can do that, it will be clear that there is only one way forward: Together.
We are in an ideological battle for the soul of our country. If you truly believe that the future of America is at stake, as I do, than you and I cannot afford to delay in supporting David. How we got here or the squabbling of intra-party politics will be of little consequence to your children and grand children as their futures are mortgaged by Obama and his team.My experience on the battlefield has reaffirmed Winston Churchill’s adage: “It's not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what's required.” Today what is required is that we defeat Barack Obama and his lieutenant here in SE North Carolina: Mike McIntyre! We must ensure that we have a strong majority of conservative Republicans in the State House, the US Congress and the White House. We must work to ensure David Rouzer is our next congressman, Pat McCrory is our next Governor and Mitt Romney is our next president. The arguments have been made and the verdict has been rendered. Will you join me in putting your country and your duty first? Standing off on the sidelines is not an option, my friends.
Below are links to the Websites for David Rouzer, Pat McCrory and Mitt Romney.
I have just contributed $25 dollars to all of them and I ask that you do too. Put your money where your mouth is, join me and commit to victory in November!
I remain Always Faithful, to God, Corps, and Country.
Your Friend, your servant and your brother in Christ,