Let’s be clear about one thing regarding Richard Mourdock’s win over Dick Lugar tonight in the Indiana Republican Senate primary: Richard Mourdock did not win; Dick Lugar lost. Assuredly, Lugar’s precipitous drop in the final weeks was propelled by his stumbles over the residency issue. But Lugar’s vulnerability stemmed from being identified as one of the Tea Party’s top targets of the 2012 election cycle. Lugar will have been felled by the same extreme fringe of the Republican Party that took down several pragmatic Republican candidates in 2010. These extremists found a mouthpiece in State Treasurer Richard Mourdock and are nominating a candidate who is well outside the mainstream of Indiana voters.
The Republican primary has been a referendum on Lugar, not an endorsement of Richard Mourdock. As Hoosiers across the state learn more about Mourdock, they will realize that his soft-spoken demeanor belies a fervent, extreme view of politics and governance that would hurt Indiana’s middle class families, students, veterans, women, seniors, and farmers.
BACKGROUND ON RICHARD MOURDOCK’S EXTREMISM
Mourdock Said Auto Bailout Was Illegal. According to a Mourdock Editorial in the South Bend Tribune, “By any traditional legal analysis, fundamental elements of the Obama administration’s Chrysler bankruptcy plan were illegal. It turned 200 years of U.S. bankruptcy law on its head by awarding more value to a select group of unsecured creditors than to secured creditors. Others are apparently willing to tolerate the violation of federal bankruptcy laws simply because they liked the result: It helped their friends. But most Americans, including the Hoosier retirees who had their property stolen away, see such picking and choosing by the federal government as fundamentally un-American.” [Mourdock Editorial, South Bend Tribune, 10/9/10]
Tuesday’s vote in Ohio to strike down a law restricting collective bargaining for public workers is a clear repudiation of the Republicans’ economic message. Voters know that police officers, firefighters, and teachers aren’t responsible for our nation’s economic struggles. Each monthly jobs report shows that continued Republican attacks on public workers are negating the employment gains made in the private sector and holding back our recovery. Voting to treat the individuals who protect our communities and educate our children with respect is not a matter of being in denial about the fiscal situation, but an expression of priorities.
The vote also shows that voters disagree with Republicans about the true meaning of shared sacrifice. Republicans want to punish teachers and first responders, or put the burden on the 99%, asking more from families already struggling just to make ends meet. Voters would rather see millionaires and billionaires pay a little bit more to give back to the communities that helped make their success possible. If Republicans continue to spout their extreme rhetoric, the message sent by Ohio voters on SB5 will be repeated loud and clear across the country in 2012.