It appears increasingly likely that Senator Richard Lugar will not be the senior U.S. senator from Indiana when the next Congress is sworn in. After 36 years on the job, he is running behind in a tough primary. His opponent’s main knock on Lugar is that he has been in Washington too long and been infected with the incumbency virus.

To many, this is always a compelling argument. Anyone who has served in Congress so long that he can navigate Washington, D.C. without a roadmap needs to return home and go back to doing honest work.

Now Senator Lugar, who is a gentleman, doesn’t deserve to be run out of town on a rail. A seat in business class would be more fitting. But even if he is defeated in the primary and his career in the Senate should come to a not-at-all-premature end, he may not be leaving Washington or the great game.