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By J SWYGART
The people have spoken.
And we’re not necessarily talking about Hoosier Republicans here, even the 61 percent of them who — for reasons difficult to fathom — voted for Richard Mourdock in Tuesday’s U.S. Senate race against Dick Lugar.
No, most of the “speaking” in the days and weeks leading up to Mourdock’s victory came not from Hoosiers at all, but from the wealthiest Californians and New Yorkers and Floridians who pumped money into Super PACS like the Club for Growth, the ultra-conservative, right-wing group bent on replacing any Republican seen as “moderate.” And it worked.
So Mourdock won the battle. But can he win the war? A post-election story in the Indianapolis Star featuring interviews with moderate Republicans — many of whom say they are either undecided or will vote this fall for Democrat Joe Donnelly — suggests it may be difficult.
Kate Snedeker, a 44-year-old Westfield communications consultant, told the Star she’s a moderate Republican who backed Lugar on Tuesday and isn’t sure now whom she’ll back in November. “One of the biggest stumbling blocks that I’ve had is the talk that we need less compromise,” she said. “That’s what’s been most troubling to me.”
Tea party Republicans embarrassed Indiana on a national stage Tuesday by ousting a respected statesman. Come November, it could be the state Republican party that finds itself red-faced.
And then there’s Mitt, the credit-grabber
If it comes as a surprise to anyone that Mitt Romney — “the presumptive Republican nominee for president,” as the saying goes — captured a mere 61 percent of the votes cast by Adams County Republicans during Tuesday’s primary and 64 percent of the GOP vote statewide ... well, it shouldn’t.
Even while running virtually opposed (two of the three other GOP candidates have officially quit the race, and Ron Paul’s campaign has been on life support since day one) four in 10 Republicans who went to the polls on Tuesday could not bring themselves to check the box next to Romney’s name.
The reasons for that reluctance are many and varied, and Romney did nothing to endear himself to Republicans with half a brain earlier this week when he — of all things — took “a lot of credit” and said he deserves “a big thank you” for the federal rescue of the auto industry.
“I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy, and finally when that was done, and help was given, the companies got back on their feet,” Romney told a TV reporter while visiting a Detroit auto plant Monday. “So, I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry has come back.”
The son of a former American Motors CEO and Michigan governor, Romney — before his recent mad dash to the safety of the political center — repeatedly bemoaned the $85 billion auto bailout, saying both former President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama were wrong to give General Motors and Chrysler billions in bailouts before they went through bankruptcy.
He had repeatedly called for private enterprise, not taxpayers, to provide the necessary help and support to the automakers, despite the fact that Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney helped found and shape, turned down just such an opportunity and elected not to invest in General Motors and Chrysler.
In 2008, Romney authored an op-ed piece in the New York Times entitled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” The trouble is that the people who helped craft the actual auto bailout — and not just on the Democratic side — have said Romney’s public position would likely have resulted in destruction of the industry. Experts say that without the tens of billions of dollars in federal loans, the companies would likely have been liquidated, as the private financial industry was in a meltdown of its own and completely unwilling to step in with loans.
Following Romney’s credit-grabbing statements Monday in Detroit, U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, D-MI, blasted the GOP candidate.
“Mitt Romney is on a hook of his own making because of his vocal opposition to the auto rescue, which saved General Motors and Chrysler from liquidation and prevented hundreds of thousands of job losses in a vital industry,” Levin said. “Governor Romney should have the courage and integrity to say he was wrong instead of trying to pull off another flip-flop.”
But why would he do that? It would be so out of character.