The media and the Obama campaign are having a field day with Mitt Romney’s endorsement of Indiana Senatorial candidate Richard Mourdock, which can at best be called “ill-timed,” coming a day before Mourdock decided to call rape a “gift from God.”
OK technically, as Mourdock is loudly pointing out, he just called getting pregnant from rape a “gift from God.” Carrying your rapist’s baby to term is kind of like the treat you get for being assaulted and your body not “shutting that whole thing down.”
The Romney campaign has refused to back away from the endorsement, and this has opened the door to a barrage of attacks making him “own” the Mourdock comments. Republicans are trying to defend Romney by saying that he doesn’t have the same position on this particular issue with Mourdock (even if his running mate DOES have the exact same position as Mourdock on abortion)
And that’s true. Certainly political standard bearers endorse candidates even when they have some policy differences. But the bigger issue is how this situation should undermine the new “moderate” image Mitt Romney has unveiled in the final month of the campaign — not because he necessarily shares Mourdock’s views on rape and abortion, but because this episode evinces Romney’s lack of leadership in the face of the fringe right-wing of his party.
Richard Mourdock should not be the GOP nominee for Senate in Indiana. Six-term incumbent Senator Richard Lugar was once considered a stalwart of the conservative wing of the Republican Party. But then he started working with Democrats like Sam Nunn and crazy ole Barack Obama to control the nuclear arsenal of the former Soviet Union. Protecting the world from nuclear terrorism being a liberal issue these days, the Tea Party backed Mourdock to take out Lugar in the primary.
Mitt Romney doesn’t need to endorse every Republican running for office. Indeed, Romney has publicly disavowed Todd Akin in Missouri after he taught us all about “legitimate rape.” But Romney did endorse Mourdock…because he was told to. Mitt Romney is a puppet of the right-wing of the Republican Party. He understands that their approval is his only hope of becoming the President and he’s perfectly willing to give them whatever they want to earn that brass ring.
The odds that the Republicans will hold their majority in the House of Representatives means that this right-wing cadre will continue to drive the policy agenda of the United States. He can’t accomplish anything if the House refuses to play ball. So will Mitt Romney lead them or will he follow their lead to keep their support?
His Mourdock endorsement — obvious political suicide to any savvy politico — is chilling evidence that Romney has no capacity to say no to his own party.