Losing doesn't mean having to say that you're sorry -- apparently, that's what Republican Richard Mourdock sees as his biggest takeaway from his loss on Tuesday to Democrat Joe Donnelly. But candidates reveal as much about themselves in defeat as they do in victory, and Mourdock's sour-noted concession speech proved to be no exception, as this nugget suggests:
"I will look back knowing I was attacked for standing on my principles, for coming into this public process with the idea that you ought to put forward something to offer the public so that they can make a clear choice."
Hoosier voters certainly had no trouble making a clear choice after the third debate, when Mourdock sealed his electoral doom with the now oft-quoted, infamous jaw-dropper: "‘I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen."
As bizarre and ugly as that statement reads, and sounds, it also wasn't the first time that Mourdock gave the whiff of someobody who'd just stumbled off the crazy truck, as this May 2011 MSNBC soundbite suggests:
“Bipartisanship ought to consist of Democrats coming to the Republican point of view. We entered this campaign wanting to be a voice and hoping to give more of a national voice to the idea that Republicans -- and more specifically conservatives -- would be in the majority of the United States Senate, and the House, and hopefully that we have a Republican in the White House. If we do that, bipartisanship means they have to come our way.”
And, of course, let's not forget this delightful bit of Mourdock backyard folk wisdom from a May 2012 MSNBC interview: “To me, the highlight of politics frankly is to inflict my opinion on someone else on the microphone or in front of a camera, to win them over to my point of view.”
Anyone who paid more than a shred of attention to this race, of course, would have heard the latter soundbite -- one that Donnelly's campaign gleefully highlighted and echoed into infinity during their TV ads.
It's hard to think of a national candidate who did as much recently to harm his own cause as Mourdock -- whose poll standings cratered by a full seven points overnight, after the smoke cleared. In fact, had he made his infamous rape comment a month or so ago, we'd have happily nominated him to Ramen Noodle Nation's Cognitive Dissonance Hall Of Fame -- right next to his Missouri counterpart, Todd Akin (he of the equally infamous, and odious, "legitimate rape" statement).
Back on the losing podium, though, such thoughts were far away from Mourdock's mind, as he offered this glimmer of insight into his gaffe-plagued, Not Ready For Prime Time Players-style candidacy: "I’ve said many times over the last few months this race wasn’t so much about Richard Mourdock versus Joe Donnelly or even Republican versus Democrat but about the direction of our nation as a whole."
Indeed, it was -- just not the direction that voters desired, apparently, which might explain why Tea Party faves like the now-former Congressman Allen West, of Florida -- whose own Bizarro World quotes deserve a post unto themselves -- will have plenty of time to finish those word search puzzles laying around his campaign office.
Lest anyone think that Mourdock made a mistake, he reasured his supporters that no such admissions would ever be forthcoming:
"To all of you who are Republicans of longstanding, I hope you appreciate that I always tried to stand for conservative values.
"For those of you who came to this process and God bless you – especially from the Tea Party who [sic] have never involved before, I hope you know that I stood and stand for the rule of law and the Constitution of the United States.
"And last but not least – and last but not least – though I was attacked for it as well – make no mistake, I stand that all life is precious in the eyes of God."
All in all, these closing words make amazing reading -- if not quite on the level of Richard Nixon's oft-quoted vow of 1962 ("You won't have to Dick Nixon to kick around anymore"). What's striking is the blind pettiness, the flinty-eyed petulance, and sheer scope of self-delusion that's on display. For someone whose background required him to deal with facts and figures on a regular basis, Indiana's chief bean counter seems to have an awfully slippery grasp of reality.
After all those long months on the campaign trail, all those days and nights spent shaking hands, sipping stale coffee and spouting platitudes aplenty, Richard Mourdock wants the world to believe that he lost because, well...there was some kind of conspiracy against him, doggone it, and all them "reveooners" and slick big city reporters and women's libbers just had it in for him.
It's a school of reasoning that owes more to "The Dukes Of Hazzard" than what really happened Tuesday night...and, certainly, a view that only Mr. Mourdock's hardcore cheering section may feel inclined to accept -- even as they wind up reaching for the comfort of a gas mask and a stomach pump. --The Reckoner