By Lesley Weidenbener
Lesley Weidenbener, executive editor, TheStatehouseFile.com
INDIANAPOLIS – State Treasurer Richard Mourdock – the Republican who fell into trouble two years ago with comments about rape and pregnancy – stepped back into a bit of controversy on Saturday with a speech that compared the direction of the U.S. to Nazi Germany.
But just like he did in 2012 – and whether you agree with his sentiments or not – Mourdock was speaking from the heart.
He was giving what was essentially a farewell speech at the State Republican Convention, telling delegates he was a “politician coming before you for the last time.”
He slipped into his history teacher persona, one that Republicans know well. Before and during Mourdock’s race for U.S. Senate in 2012, he had toured the state using history to convey his messages about politics today.
On Saturday, he was talking about the rise of the Nazis and the way they were elected in free elections. He said that happened because the German people were desperate and the Nazi promised seemed appealing. Why? Because the country was bankrupt, Mourdock said.
“The truth is 70 years later, we are drifting towards the beachhead of bankrupting the USA,” Moudock said, alluding to this week’s anniversary of the Normandy invasion in World War II. “We are in a grave situation.”
“My last duty to you as a Republican at this convention is to ask you to influence everyone you know in this state and out,” he said. “There is a battle ahead for the public will – and to all of us I say: To the boats. It’s time.”
Within an hour, media had posted stories about his comments and they flew across social media as well.
State Treasurer Richard Mourdock compared the direction the U.S. is heading to Nazi German. Photo by Alec Gray, TheStatehouseFile.com
“The only time you should talk about rape, Nazi’s or slavery is to say they are bad!” tweeted conservative commentator Abdul Hakim-Shabazz. “How hard is this!”
Shortly thereafter, Indiana Democratic Chairman John Zody called on Republicans to denounce Mourdock’s comments.
That’s unlikely to happen. But what’s more improbable is that Mourdock will have any second thoughts about what he said.
In that 2012 Senate debate, Moudock said that God intended pregnancies that result from rapes. The remark set off an enormous firestorm, one that led a number of Republicans to distance themselves from Mourdock.
But while Pence called for Mourdock to apologize back in 2012, the candidate didn’t back away from what he said. He did call a news conference to say that he abhors violence and rape and that he’s confident the “God that I worship abhors violence, abhors sexually violence and abhors rape.” But he did not apologize for making the remarks, saying instead that he is sorry so many people “mistook, twisted, came to misunderstand” his points.
The pregnancy remarks and his decision not to apologize for them probably cost Mourdock – and the Republicans – the Senate seat. But he’s never seemed sorry.
It seems almost appropriate then that as Mourdock exists the Republican stage – at least for now – he did so with a bit of controversy. He didn’t hold back, even as he said goodbye.
Lesley Weidenbener is executive editor of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.