Today, I want to share an article from The Telegraph, a newspaper in the UK. I am more than pleased to see that our friends in the UK are aware of this topic and have taken a stand very similar to the one expressed in this blog. I think you will find it to be most interesting.
Mitt Romney can be a centrist,
or he can stand by Richard Mourdock
He can’t do both
By Dan Hodges US politics Last updated: October 25th, 2012
Richard Mourdock believes that if a women gets raped she should be forced to give birth to her rapist’s baby, because that is the will of God. “Life is a gift from God,” he said, “and I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something that God intended to happen.”
While that view may be abhorrent to most people, it is not an unusual one. There are plenty of cranks out there with extreme fundamentalist views, and normally we just ignore them and scurry on our way.
But Richard Mourdock isn’t any old crank. He’s the Republican candidate for the United States Senate seat of Indiana.
What’s more, he isn’t just any old Senate candidate. On Monday, a video started airing in Indiana. In it Mitt Romney looks directly at the camera and says “This fall, I’m supporting Richard Mourdock.”
Romney’s endorsement wasn’t just ritualistic support for a GOP candidate in a tight race. It was the only personal ad endorsement he has given any Republican senate hopeful in the entire campaign. And it spells big trouble for Romney.
I’m not a student of the “game-changer” school of politics. We’ve had lots of “gotcha” moments in this election campaign: Obama’s “not optimal” comment, Romney’s Gerald Ford moment on Libya, Donald Trump’s October surprise, Big Bird. None of them have stuck.
But Mourdock’s comment will. And that’s because it goes straight to the heart of all the old doubts about Mitt Romney and his candidature.
On Tuesday I wrote how the final debate had exposed the fundamental strategic weakness at the heart of the Romney campaign; that he is trying to position himself as a centrist while leading a party that has lurched to the political margins. Well, Richard Mourdock has just turned himself into a national poster boy for that particular strain of GOP fanaticism.
He believed that life was precious “to the marrow of my bones”, he told a hastily convened press conference yesterday. It was the most precious gift God could give, he added, and what’s more, he’d seen the polling to back it up. He hadn’t meant to claim God wanted people to be raped. But he stood by his comments that if people were raped, and that resulted in pregnancy, it was God’s will. They would have to carry their rapist’s baby to term.
That would have been bad enough for a Romney campaign desperately trying to give the impression his is a campaign with momentum. But having being given a stark reminder of the lunacy of senior members of the Republican party, the voters were then given a staggering reminder of the poor judgment of that party’s candidate for president.
Mitt Romney had one course of action; cut Mourdock loose. Instead, he tied himself to him. A statement issued by the Romney campaign said that while their man disavowed Mourdock’s comments, he was still endorsing him for the Senate, and would not be withdrawing the advert urging people to vote for him.
This could not have come at a worse time for Mitt Romney. Just at the point he was trying to sustain his faltering “surge” narrative up pops a very real, and self-inflicted, October surprise. “I don’t know how these guys come up with these ideas,” Barack Obama said on the Jay Leno show. “This is exactly why you don’t want a bunch of politicians, mostly male, making decisions about women’s health care decisions.” Cue thunderous applause.
Watching from the UK, it’s difficult to understand how someone who holds views such as Mourdock’s could actually be a candidate for high public office. And it’s even more difficult to understand how a candidate for the highest office of all could continue to endorse him once those views had been aired publicly.
Thankfully, large number of US voters won’t understand it either. Mitt Romney can try to can recast himself as one of the great American centrists. Or he can stand by Richard Mourdock. But he can’t do both.
Mourdock’s intervention is no game-changer. But with less than two weeks less to go before the polls close, it is a significant moment all the same.