Soon after Richard Mourdock defeated Sen. Dick Lugar in a Republican primary in Indiana, the political world started coming to grips with just how right-wing the guy really is.
Late last week, the U.S. Senate hopeful offered another reminder, delivering a deeply strange speech to a FreedomWorks audience in Dallas.
Of particular interest was Mourdock’s take on the Obama administration rescuing the American auto industry – by saving Chrysler, the policy saved more than 100,000 jobs in the Hoosier state – which has become a key issue in Mourdock’s race against Rep. Joe Donnelly, his Democratic challenger.
About eight minutes into the clip, Mourdock argues there’s a parallel between Chrysler’s bankruptcy process, which he fought to stop in his capacity as Indiana state Treasurer, and slavery.
And as Mourdock sees it, he’s on the side of Abraham Lincoln.
The argument rests on the process as it relates to creditors. When the Obama administration intervened to prevent Chrysler from collapsing, it also took steps to force concessions from industry creditors. For Moudock, that puts the president in the role of … Stephen Douglas.
“[President Obama is] a man who does not understand this country. Because I don’t think anyone who truly understands those types of American who sacrifice, would ever be ripping away their assets, to take them from one group to give to another.
“You see, my friends, it is once again that message coming from Washington, D.C., that even people like those pensioners I represent can work and sweat and toil and earn and save, so that someone else can be given their assets.
“It is the same tyrannical principle as in 1858 – but now it’s 2012.”
I’ve gone over Mourdock’s argument a few times, and I still have a hard time wrapping my head around his intended point. Obama needed to rescue the auto industry, which meant forcing concessions from creditors. Mourdock not only sees this as an abuse of free-market principles – a debatable point, to be sure – he also sees a direct comparison to slavery, with the president as the slavemaster who steals others’ labor.
This guy might well be a U.S. senator in January. The Republican base sure knows how to pick ‘em.