News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion

June 10, 2014

Editorial: Playing the Nazi card

Fortunately, Mourdock will soon be part of GOP’s past

TERRE HAUTE — There was good news to report from the Indiana Republican Party Convention conducted last weekend in Fort Wayne. The GOP nominated three women to top its general election ballot in November. There isn’t much gender equity in Hoosier politics, so seeing these three rise to the top of the Republican ballot this year is refreshing.

But perhaps the best news is that Richard Mourdock, two-term state treasurer and unsuccessful candidate for U.S. Senate in 2012, will no longer hold public office at the end of this year. He’s being retired from the treasurer’s office by term limits, and Hoosiers will have ample reason to bid him good riddance when his day of departure finally arrives.

Mourdock, of course, will long be known as the Indiana politician who took a guaranteed GOP U.S. Senate seat and threw it away. His extremist views allowed him to defeat longtime Sen. Richard Lugar in a tea-party-fueled Republican primary. But those same views, and his undisciplined answer to a simple social-issue question in a statewide debate two weeks before the election, led him to a humiliating loss at the hands of moderate Democrat Joe Donnelly.

Mourdock put his lack of grace and judgment on display again at the recent GOP convention when, during a farewell speech to delegates, he invoked the ghost of Adolph Hitler when critiquing current federal economic and budgetary policy. He first noted that the U.S. was observing the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Nazi-controlled Europe. Then, in a strange analogy, he compared the rise of the Nazis in the wake of Germany’s economic struggles of the 1930s to conditions in America today.

“The truth is,” Mourdock said, “70 years later we are drifting toward the tides of another beachhead with the bankruptcy of America.”

While his awkward comments don’t rise to the same level of offensiveness as those posters of President Obama sporting a Hitler mustache often seen at tea party rallies, they are in poor taste and insensitive nonetheless. Hitler and his Nazi regime perpetrated one of the most horrendous acts of genocide in the history of the world. Comparing anything to Hitler and the Nazis during political discourse is just plain dumb.

It is worthwhile to note that even Mourdock’s friends in the Republican Party voiced dismay at the comments. Kelli Mitchell, the woman who works for Mourdock in the treasurer’s office and was nominated by the GOP to replace him as treasurer, was quoted by columnist Brian Howey as denouncing them. “I don't think comments of that sort are appropriate at any time,” Mitchell was quoted as saying.

We applaud Mitchell for the courage to stand against her boss’s comments. And we wish her well in her upcoming campaign.

Mitchell now joins Secretary of State Connie Lawson and Auditor Suzanne Crouch on the Republicans’ statewide ticket this fall. We hope each has learned a valuable political lesson from Mourdock’s history of intemperate remarks. Thankfully, it is they, not Mourdock, who represent the future of the Indiana GOP.

Reader Poll results

Recently, the Reader Poll at Tribstar.com asked:

Is Gov. Mike Pence’s alternative health care proposal a step in the right direction for state compliance with the ACA?

Results: 256 votes were cast.

• Yes — 103 votes, 40.23 percent

• No — 109 votes, 42.58 percent

• Not sure — 44 votes, 17.19 percent

New Reader Poll

Was it appropriate for the Obama administration to swap five Taliban prisoners for captured U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl?

To vote, visit www.tribstar.com.

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