Meet the Extremist that Took Out Richard Lugar: Richard Mourdock
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In what was an expected outcome, but still one that is a bit shocking, tea party-aligned candidate Richard Mourdock defeated Sen. Richard Lugar in the Indiana Republican primary on Tuesday. Mourdock is the state's treasurer and he hasn't spent much time on the national scene, but it's clear that he's one of the most extreme right-wing candidates running in the 2012 elections. Let's take a closer look...
Despite the fact that Indiana's economy depends heavily on the auto industry and the fact that Indiana greatly benefited from the auto industry bailout, Mourdock argued in an editorial in the South Bend Tribune that the bailout was illegal:
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 has consistently railed against bipartisanship:
Those who want to call out for bipartisanship are wrong. It is bipartisanship that has taken this country to the very brink of bankruptcy.
He opposes the direct election of senators (while running to be directly elected as a senator):
Repealing the 17th amendment. Do I think it will ever happen? No. Is it something that I would like to see? Yes it is. And I’ll tell you the trackers in the room, my Democrat tracker friends who are here as they always are probably seeing something that you’ll see in a tv commercial not too far from now. You know the issue of the 17th amendment is so troubling to me, our founding fathers, again those geniuses, made the point that the House of Representatives was there to represent the people. The Senate was there to represent the states. In other words the government of the states. I will tell you as someone who spends a lot of time in the statehouse obviously, and a lot of time in local government, one of the most frustrating things state government and local government deals with are called unfunded mandates. It’s where the federal government will say you must do this, and we’re not going to pay for it. You got to figure out a way to go get the money and you must do this. How many unfunded mandates do you think would be coming from the United States Congress, if those same Senators had to come back every two years to help those people get reelected so they would elect them. You know I think most senators if they had to come back every two years and by the way that would solve another problem. It would solve the idea that Senators move out of their state and never return. But it would cause those senators to have much greater contact with their states. You know just think of this. In today’s you see millions and millions of dollars spent on Senate campaigns. Two years ago, in 2010, Sharon Angle out in Nevada spent 31 million dollars, just herself. How much money would be spent in federal senate races if the state legislators were electing those people. You just took the money out of politics. Is that a bad thing? (AB 21 Tracking Footage, 2/4/12)
He thinks that Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are unconstitutional, and shows that he doesn't understand basic constitutional law or the Ninth Amendment or the Elastic Clause:
I challenge you in Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution where those so-called enumerated powers are listed. I challenge you to find words that talk about Medicare or Medicaid or, yes, even Social Security. You know, Article I, Section 8 says the U.S. government shall have the power to tax to pay off its debts, to pay for its defense, and then it says to provide for the general welfare.
If he believes these programs are unconstitutional, doesn't that mean he would get rid of them? Apparently, yes:
In July 2011, CNHI reported that “[Mourdock is] convinced that raising the debt ceiling will result in its own severe consequences, dragging the nation deeper and deeper into debt. He‘s an avid supporter of the so-called ‘Cut, Cap, and Balance‘ bill that would mandate a balanced federal budget.” Mourdock has signed the Cut, Cap, and Balance pledge.
He wasted $2 million of Indiana taxpayers' money pursuing a frivolous lawsuit against Chrysler:
A coal-company geologist who in November won re-election as state treasurer, Mourdock gained attention when he sued to block Chrysler LLC’s bankruptcy reorganization plan in 2009 on behalf of Indiana pension funds that lost money in the automaker’s government-backed bailout. Mourdock appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled against the funds -- costing Indiana taxpayers $2 million in legal fees.
For pursuing the lawsuit, Mourdock compared himself to Rosa Parks:
State Treasurer Richard Mourdock continues to insist his ill- fated battle against the Chrysler deal with Fiat was wise public policy, but now he's added an astonishing new justification for it. In an address to the Crown Point Rotary Club on Wednesday, the treasurer said Indiana's challenge on behalf of its pension funds was his ‘Rosa Parks moment. I knew there would be consequences for taking this on.’
He would eliminate the Department of Education:
Mourdock wants to eliminate the Department of Education if he gets into the Senate, which would cut more than $5 billion from Indiana schools and students.
He brags about being beholden to special interests:
To the charge that there's a special interest group that's been supporting us from outside the state, that's true. And the special interest group is called conservatives.
He said that Obama is to blame for all the negative in the economy and gets no credit for anything positive that happens:
ThinkProgress earlier this year, we asked Mourdock about the economy and who deserves credit in bad times and good. He pinned the blame on President Obama for “killing our economy,” despite the fact that the financial collapse occurred under George W. Bush’s watch. We asked Mourdock whether Obama would deserve credit if the economic recovery continues. “It won’t be because of President Obama when we see recovery,” Mourdock explained. “It will be in spite of President Obama.”
Mourdock’s campaign manager, Jim Holden, “likely violated a user agreement with the state party when he shared a logon to the database with an outside vendor.” In a March 14 email, Holden told staffers that they should “start pillaging email addresses” from the voter database, prompting the state Republican Party to revoke the Mourdock campaign’s access privileges.
He said his model Supreme Court justice would be Robert Bork:
Personally, I would be looking for those people who, as Judge Bork used to say, originalists or strict constructionists. . . . I certainly think the standard ought to be, and it’s one that I make no, ah, message about trying to hide. I think people ought to be looking for those who would serve on the courts who are going to strictly interpret the United States Constitution. . . .
I mean, what the Democrats did in obstructing appointments like Judge Bork back in the 1980s, I didn’t like that, but they certainly had the right to do it. Because they felt their elections had consequences. Well, as one member of the United States Senate, I certainly carry, or will carry that same ideology.
His campaign is financed by a who's who of right-wing extremists:
Of the more than 750 donations received by Richard Mourdock’s primary campaign for Indiana Senate to date, one stands out. Earl Pendleton Holt, whose three reported contributions to Mourdock total $1,000, identifies himself as a self-employed “slumlord.”
The Club for Growth — led by former Rep. Chris Chocola (R-IN), the Club’s 501(c)(4), traditional PAC, and its Club for Growth Action Super PAC have spent at least $1.6 million on ads backing Mourdock and blasting Lugar. The group calls Lugar a “R.I.N.O.” (Republican In Name Only) despite his 63 percent lifetime record of voting with the group’s anti-government agenda.
FreedomWorks for America — former Rep. Dick Armey’s (R-TX) “astroturf” group has done mailings and run ads saying Lugar has “lost touch with Indiana values,” spending over $545,000.
Gun rights groups — The National Rifle Association has spent more than $322,000 on independent expenditures, criticizing Lugar’s votes to confirm President Obama’s Supreme Court appointments. A trio of pro-gun political action committees have donated about $10,000 to Mourdock’s campaign.
The financial sector — although Lugar voted against the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform bill, political action committees for banks and related interests contributed over $17,500 to Moudorck’s campaign and individuals listed as working in the industry kicked in another $35,000-plus.
Wealthy investors — About $20,000 of Mourdock’s donations came from wealthy investors and investment management executives.
Big polluters — Mourock, himself a former coal company executive, got $5,000 from Murray Energy’s PAC (representing the nation’s largest privately-owned coal company) and more than $18,000 in individual contributions from employees and executives at Murray and other coal, oil, and gas companies.
In his campaign against Lugar, he ran a vaguely homophobic attack ad, referring to Lugar and Obama's relationship as a 'bromance':
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Mourdock said that Obama didn't deserve credit for the killing of Osama Bin Laden:
I think it's a sad thing. I think there's something in the water of Washington. When people have been there a while they feel they need to claim credit that doesn't really belong to them....But now when he's trying to take credit for it, it that's rather unseemly.
Mourdock also happened to be on the panel when Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson was called out by Kirsten Powers on the Sean Hannity show for his now-infamous anti-women rant. Mourdock said nothing, despite the fact that conservative Fox employee Powers broke ranks to criticize Peterson. Mourdock is seen chuckling over the debate between Powers and Peterson over misogyny, as if .