I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. Richard Mourdock (R-IN) was a bad candidate. But Senator-elect Joe Donnelly (D-IN) was also a bad candidate. He was picked by the IN Democrats to be the sacrificial lamb to Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN), because he wasn't going to hold his congressional seat (congrats to Congresswoman-elect Jackie Walorski (R-IN02)), and because they couldn't find anyone else to run.
That’s the God’s honest truth.
We are conservative in IN, with down home family values. But because of that, we like to think that we're above the partisan fray in Washington. We like to think that we can elect common sense folk who can work to get things done, regardless of party. That’s why our state house changes from red to blue so often and so does our governor’s mansion. It’s why we elect people like former Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN), and former Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN).
The difference between Donnelly and Mourdock was that Donnelly ran a terrific campaign right from the start and Mourdock ran an awful one right from the start. A lot of people will point to Mourdock’s comments about rape in the debate as the reason he lost. But he was in trouble long before then. Donnelly painted Mourdock as an extremist, before a lot of people in IN even knew who Mourdock was. And he continued to hammer that theme home right up until election day. It was a great strategy. It defined Mourdock as the opposite of a common sense person who would just work to get things done. Mourdock was never able to overcome that, and he was never able to turn it around on Donnelly either, who is just as much of an extremist as Mourdock (more so in my mind, but that’s just my opinion). Mourdock instead decided to attach Donnelly to President Obama (D-USA) and ObamaCare. The problem is that there are a lot of people in IN that still like Obama. And even more that still like ObamaCare. By sticking with that attack, Mourdock put a ceiling on his numbers, and never had a chance to break through it.
It’s easy for me to Wednesday morning quarterback, but Mourdock should have spent more time telling us a) what he would do for IN, b) what Donnelly would do for IN, c) that Donnelly was the extremist in the race, and d) that he wasn’t the extremist Donnelly claimed he was. I’m not sure he spent any significant time on ANY of those items. Certainly nothing he said or did to those ends sticks out in my mind. Instead it was just “Donnelly will vote in lockstep with Obama” over and over.
I know this blog has been quiet for a while. It will likely continue to remain so. What motivates me to blog is most anger and frustration, although sometimes it’s happiness. I’ve seen the writing on the wall here for months, and I’ve been resigned to the outcome. That emotion doesn’t inspire me to blog, but instead inspires me to work harder at my job and spend more time with my family. Take care of you and yours and peek in here from time to time. I’m sure I’ll continue to have things to say, just on an infrequent basis.