< Full site
Brian Howey: Mourdock begins his partisan campaign
2/25/2011 7:25:00 AM
BY: BRIAN A. HOWEY
NASHVILLE, Ind. - When Evan Bayh announced he was leaving the U.S. Senate in 2010, he lamented the lack of "bipartisanship."
When Richard Mourdock declared his Republican primary candidacy against Sen. Dick Lugar last Tuesday, he blamed "bipartisanship" for the current state of affairs.
As he was saying those words, 37 Indiana House Democrats were driving to Urbana, Ill., in a fit of partisanship that threatened the conservative Republican reform agenda there. As State Rep. Kreg Battles, D-Vincennes, noted, it was either “my way or the highway” and so they chose the latter, killing 22 bills in the process. That glimpse of a partisan future knocked Mourdock’s campaign announcement off the front pages. A Rasmussen Reports poll revealed that 67 percent opposed a similar walkout by Wisconsin Senate Democrats.
"It is bipartisanship that has brought us to the brink of bankruptcy," Mourdock said, though a case could be made that it was two unpaid wars, the biggest post-Great Society expansion of the Medicare prescription drug plan, the Bush tax cuts that produced the first trillion deficit - all coming when the GOP controlled Congress and the White House early last decade. Throw in the Wall Street deregulation that ignited the Great Recession we’ve yet to recover from and that gets you deficits measured in trillions.
Mourdock cited the "lame duck" session of Congress last December and Lugar's role in successfully pushing for the START Treaty and unsuccessfully the Dream Act that triggered his decision to run. "I was amazed at the lame duck session," Mourdock told a couple hundred supporters at the Indianapolis Artsgarden. "He's known for his bipartisanship."
After the speech, Mourdock added, "I think there needs to be more partisanship and frankly it's based on principle. Again, elections have consequences. We should have consequences. Each party should define itself on those principles. We have one party who thinks government should grow ever more bigger, send bigger bills to ordinary Americans and our party thinks we should have limited government and lower taxes. It's a clear difference."
But clearly there is a movement afoot whether it is the Tea Party or Republicans skeptical of any kind of negotiation with President Obama. To them, "compromise" is a dirty word. Mourdock's candidacy is just one more coming across America in waves where the political center is in the crosshairs.
Kick away that center and we’ll have two parties – heading to their polar opposites – constantly butting heads and taking ideological stances instead of rolling up their sleeves, talking, compromising, and getting things done. You can trace the coming energy crisis ($4 a gallon gas is right around the corner) to years of neglect and partisanship.
Mourdock blasted Lugar for being President Obama's favorite Republican.
"You know, President Obama once said that Dick Lugar was among those 'who have shaped my ideas and who will be surrounding me in the White House.' But, instead, it appears that Obama has shaped Lugar," Mourdock said. "To turn our country around, we need fresh ideas from new leaders who hold conservative principles. As Indiana State Treasurer, I single-handedly challenged the Obama Administration’s illegal bailout and takeover of Chrysler. I took this case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Indiana pensioners and all the while, Dick Lugar never once protested the fact that Indiana's teachers and State Police officers were having their pensions funds looted."
The Supreme Court – without new Justices Sotomayor and Kagen – rejected Mourdock’s case without a full hearing.
Mourdock tried to ensure he was seen as a mainstream Republican and not an "outlier" and a Tea Party creation. “I have run six times as a Republican in the past. I stand by Republican principles,” he said. “And yet I am honored to have the support of all those Tea Party folks. The reason they support me is because of the stand I took for the Constitution in the Chrysler case."
And therein lies some great ironies. Lugar wrote the Chrysler bailout legislation in 1979. Its survival up through 2009 brought Indiana thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions in tax revenues. But Lugar took a pass in rescuing GM and Chrysler in 2009.
In an interview published on July 30, 2009 in Howey Politics Indiana, Lugar hardly seemed like an Obamacan. On the health reforms, he urged an "incremental" approach, noting that the estimated $1 trillion cost "could result in later economic crisis or catastrophe. There has been very little analysis given the status of debt."
Asked whether he believed President Obama was promising something impossible when he said he wouldn’t sign a bill that added to the federal deficit, Lugar answered "yes" and expressed surprise that the president would say so.
And the $780 billion stimulus package? It was "fulfilling the Democratic Party agenda," Lugar said.
Asked if he has much contact with President Obama, Lugar said no. He’s pleased that Obama has taken his work on weapons of mass destruction seriously, but said he has had little dialogue with the senator he so often referenced during the campaign, other than START. Lugar left that door open, saying, "We must provide valid hope of constructive vision, idealism, and change in the future. I look forward to working with the President and my colleagues to tackle first things first."
A partisan like Mourdock would rather just fight.
Howey Politics Indiana Home
< Full site
, All Rights Reserved