Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Mourdock's Strength His Achilles' Heel ; No-Compromise Manner Bothers as Many as It Attracts

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Mourdock's Strength His Achilles' Heel ; No-Compromise Manner Bothers as Many as It Attracts

Article excerpt

INDIANAPOLIS - Richard Mourdock is in a strange place. At the same time that his fellow Republicans Mitt Romney and Mike Pence have double-digit leads in polls taken in Indiana over their Democratic opponents in the presidential and gubernatorial races, respectively, Mourdock continues to run neck-and-neck with his Democratic opponent, Joe Donnelly, for the state's U.S. Senate seat.

The smart money didn't expect this.

After Mourdock knocked off incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., in the May primary, Democrats began speculating that they may pick up the seat. The speculation, though, was always a little wistful - not quite like wishing to win the lottery to cover next month's mortgage payment, but close.

Mourdock was the presumptive favorite. He'd knocked off an Indiana legend in Lugar and established himself as the voice of the angry right in Indiana - the portion of the voting population that now brings the most energy to the polls. Democrats at the national level hesitated to pour money into the Hoosier state because they doubted Donnelly's ability to compete.

So what happened?

Why is Mourdock struggling? Some of the credit should go to Donnelly. The Democrat has demonstrated a surprising adeptness at wholesale politicking in his first statewide race. He hasn't made any big mistakes - always important in a high-stakes race - and has positioned himself as the natural and centrist heir to both Lugar and his fellow Democrat, former Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind.

But Donnelly couldn't have kept this race close without some help from Mourdock.

And Mourdock has done a good job of helping Donnelly.

It started with Mourdock's victory over Lugar. The script for such occasions is well-established.

In acknowledging his victory, Mourdock should have said something like this

What we Republicans have just been through is a family quarrel. Like most families, we do fight occasionally, but, after the squabbling, we come back together. And we never stop being a family.

And then he should have paid prolonged tribute to Lugar's service to this state and country.

Mourdock did a bit of that, but it was clear that his heart wasn't in it. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.