By Abdul Hakim-Shabazz
A couple weeks ago I spent time hanging out with Indiana Democrats in Indianapolis as they nominated their candidates for statewide office for the 2014 election. This past week it was the Republicans’ turn in Fort Wayne. Now I know some of you are expecting me to write nothing but flowery prose about the GOP, because of what you perceive my politics to be. Well, there is some of that.
Abdul Hakim-Shabazz is an attorney and the editor and publisher of IndyPoltics.Org.
Note, I said some.
For the first time that anyone can recall in a major election in Indiana, a political party has nominated three women for the top of the ticket: Connie Lawson for secretary of state, Suzanne Crouch for state auditor and Kelly Mitchell for state treasurer.
After three rounds of balloting, Mitchell beat out Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold and former financial planner Don Bates, Jr. The conventional wisdom was that Mitchell was a long-shot at best; Seybold had a lot of “establishment” support and Bates was the Tea Party darling. However, Mitchell had a great organization, good resume and endearing personality which enabled her to run right up the middle to victory.
When I saw her, along with Lawson and Crouch, all I could think of was “what war on women?” If nominating smart, qualified individuals who just happen to have an X chromosome constitutes a war on women, then we really need to talk. My Republican friends had made me proud of them.
And then there was Richard Mourdock.
In what was supposed to be his farewell address after serving eight years as state treasurer, Mourdock took a page out of his 2012 playbook and warned his fellow Republicans that America was on the road to turning into Nazi Germany because the country is steering toward bankruptcy because of its debt.
When I heard this, my jaw dropped to the floor. Nazi Germany? Seriously?! He then went on to say that because of the bankruptcy, the Nazis started dividing and scapegoating different segments of the population and the next thing you know, well, you know what happened.
Mourdock’s words went viral and within the hour it had made the national wires. You would think that someone would know better, especially after what happened in 2012 when he said that if a woman was raped and got pregnant it’s what God intended, or equating the Chrysler bailout to slavery. I am a firm believer that if you are a politician, particularly and older white male politician, there are three topics you should stay away from: rape, slavery and anything to do with Hitler. The only time you can bring these up is to say that they are bad. But unless you are reenacting a scene out of the Blues Brothers, Seinfeld or Blazing Saddles, you should just leave things be.
At a time when Republicans are fighting to rebrand themselves in a world that is becoming a lot more brown, young and female, the last thing my GOP friends need is a headline where one of their outgoing elected officials says America is turning into Nazi Germany. The only good thing that came out of that political escapade was it completely overshadowed the fight the GOP had over language regarding same-sex marriage in its party platform. Luckily, the only people who read that thing is someone like me who, instead of spending a nice Saturday afternoon with my lovely wife, is typing away on his laptop at a political convention in Fort Wayne.
But like the headline said, it was a classic tale of two GOPs, one where qualified candidates for public office are highlighted and one where the outgoing elected official who has made your life more difficult than it needs gives his final address and you give him a standing ovation because you will never have to hear from them again. It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.
Abdul is an attorney and the editor and publisher of IndyPoltics.Org. He is also a frequent contributor to numerous Indiana media outlets. He can be reached at email@example.com.