A good friend of mine (a notorious Cardinal fan) recently asked, “Jim, what is rarer than a Chicago Cub World Series victory?” His answer: a Democrat in Carmel.
Well, I am a Democrat (and a Cub fan), and sometimes in the past I have felt like this is true. However, the times are a-changin’, as evidenced by President Obama getting 38.5% of the 2008 vote in Hamilton County.
Instead, what now seems rarer than a Democrat in Carmel is a Moderate Republican. Recently, Tea Party “Republican” Richard Mourdock beat long-time Senator Richard Lugar in the Republican primary. Lugar has served Hoosiers in the Senate since 1977 and had developed a national reputation for integrity and expertise, especially in foreign policy. Don’t tell my Democratic friends, but I even voted for him a few times.
Mourdock was able to pin Lugar with the horrible moniker of “Moderate,” because he had actually practiced bi-partisanship in the interest of governing. After his victory, Mourdock publicly stated that there was too much bi-partisanship in Congress and pledged not to compromise with Democrats until they adopted his view of governing the country. Of course, the inability to compromise is one of the major reasons Americans give Congress a favorable rating of less than 10%.
In 2011, newly elected Tea Party “Republicans” reportedly leaned heavily on Speaker of the House John Boehner to resist compromising with President Obama on a proposed multi-trillion dollar deficit reduction proposal. While a significant majority of the proposed reduction came from spending cuts, it also required a compromise. President Obama wanted to end the temporary Bush tax rate of 35% for couples on incomes over $250,000 and take it back to 39.6%. Tea Party “Republicans” like Mourdock believe that this balanced type of deficit reduction action, even when accompanied by predominant spending cuts, is just not acceptable. And, I’m sure “No-Tax-Increase-Ever” Sheriff Grover Norquist would certainly agree.
Has the Republican Party always held this view in order to avoid compromise in deriving bi-partisan solutions? And who was the last Republican president who achieved an annual surplus during a 12-month period during his term? For the Democrats, President Bill Clinton achieved three consecutive full years of surpluses with that 39.6% tax rate on income over $250,000.
The last Republican president who achieved budget surpluses was Dwight Eisenhower in 1956, 1957, and 1960. I noticed that a key factor in Eisenhower’s surpluses was that he resisted calls for tax cuts and kept the tax rate at 91% for income over $100,000. Gee, that makes a tax rate of 39.5% on income over $250,000 look pretty reasonable, doesn’t it? Also, President Eisenhower acted in a bi-partisan manner and signed a long-term “stimulus jobs program” that created the Interstate Highway System. Imagine Mourdock agreeing to bi-partisan compromises such as these!
My major point here is that Richard Mourdock is extreme in his uncompromising positions, which is exactly the kind of politician we don’t need more of in Washington. So, I invite any remaining Moderate Republicans to consider supporting Joe Donnelly, Mourdock’s Moderate Democratic opponent.
Mr. Donnelly pledges to bring common sense to Washington by supporting bi-partisan solutions. Recently, a former Lugar super PAC donor held a fund raiser to support Donnelly. Apparently, this gentleman must be one of those now-rare Moderate Republicans!