My home state hasn’t garnered much attention during this election. Although Indiana was a blue state in the last Presidential election, it is a pretty sure bet that the electoral votes for Indiana are going to Romney this time around. I understand why we would be largely ignored during the Presidential race, but we do have an interesting Senate race going on in Indiana right now.
In the Republican primary, 35 year incumbent Richard Lugar (R) was unseated by Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock. This was quite an upset in a state that has overwhelmingly supported Lugar for over three decades. In fact, as a Republican who has been willing to work with Democrats to support intelligent bills, I have even supported him in the past. He simply had too much going on in today’s political landscape to keep his job. First, he had some issues with his reputation in Indiana such as the fact that he hasn’t lived in the state for decades. His other problem is that he was competing against a tea party candidate in Mourdock.
While Mourdock was able to unseat a popular incumbent, he is making a complete mess of his campaign, and is in danger of losing his Senate bid to Democrat Joe Donnelly. This is pretty bad in a state that is currently full of people who side with the far right. Mourdock’s problems began when he made a comment suggesting that he has no intention of working with Democrats in the Senate.
In an interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, Mourdock stated his belief on bipartisanship, “I hope to build a conservative majority so bipartisanship becomes Democrats joining Republicans to roll back the size of government, reduce the bureaucracy and get America moving again.” In other words, he defined bipartisanship as Republicans forcing their beliefs on the Senate and Democrats falling in line. He even stated, “I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of successful compromise.” Coming out of a congressional session that has been characterized as “the worst congress in history” by many, it is unfathomable that any candidate would openly express his intentions to refuse to work with others across party lines. This is the kind of candidate we get when we become so polarized that we allow organizations like the tea party to influence elections.
To make matters worse, Mourdock recently articulated his extremism in a debate with his Democratic challenger. While discussing his opinion of abortion and possible exceptions, Mourdock answered with a shocking, Akin-like response. He said, “The only exception I have to have an abortion, is in the case of the life of the mother. I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God. I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
Mourdock’s quote has caused a major stir, even among Republicans. some have begun distancing themselves from Mourdock, while others have supported his opinions. Much of the controversy is simply taking the words out of context. I don’t believe that Mourdock was saying that God intends for rapes to happen, as many people have asserted. I don’t need to believe that, because the implications of his statement are bad enough. Mourdock stated that in the case of pregnancy resulting from rape, the pregnancy was an act of God, even if the rape wasn’t. His opinion is that a woman, who is subjected to one of the most horrible situations imaginable, should not be allowed to end the pregnancy due to the fact that God wanted her to have the rapist’s child. As a result, she should continue to suffer through the daily reminder of her rape during the pregnancy, suffering more pain by delivering the child of her rapist. If she didn’t put the child up for adoption, she may have to look into the face of a child that reminded her of the person who raped her. Even worse, she might have to go back to court and give the rapist visitation rights. These are all potential consequences of Mourdock’s so-called “faith.”
To make matters worse, Mourdock responded to the uproar about his comments by proving that he believed much like Todd Akin. When asked by reporters if he believed that pregnancies resulting from rape were God’s plan he responded, “I believe God controls the universe. I don’t believe biology works in an uncontrolled fashion.” This comment is eerily close to Akin’s comment about not getting pregnant from “legitimate” rape.
I would hope that it’s obvious to anyone reading this that his position is ludicrous. Men don’t have the same perspective as women when it comes to pregnancy and birth. We don’t have a child growing in us. Most fathers don’t have the emotional connection that mothers have with a fetus or unborn child, therefore, it stands to reason that men should not be making a decision like this. Whats worse is the arrogant idea that Mourdock, or anyone like him, has an understanding of God’s plan (or obviously biology). With so much attention on the Presidential election, it is frighteningly possible for extremists like Mourdock to slip into congress. Hopefully the national attention that Mourdock’s comments have brought will convince the voters in Indiana to make a reasonable decision at the polls. Whether Indiana elects Mourdock or not, people in every state should see his statements as a warning to research the candidates that are trying to act as their representatives. Find the extremists, pass on the information, and make sure that we don’t have another session of Congress that fails the American people.