By Rick Manning — The Indiana Senate general election has not received a lot of attention from the national media, but it is shaping up as perhaps the most important race for limited government Republicans in this cycle.
Republican nominee Richard Mourdock had the temerity to run against and defeat liberal Republican Senate icon Dick Lugar in the primary, and now is in a neck and neck struggle with Congressman Joe Donnelly.
Donnelly’s main distinction is that he voted in favor of the disastrous Obamacare law, which will begin to be implemented in earnest in 2013.
Mourdock is running on repealing Obamacare, while Donnelly not only voted for it but has voted against repealing it on a number of occasions.
Donnelly also voted in favor of the Orwellian-named Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), the attempt by big Labor to stop secret ballot union elections.
These far left votes demonstrate that Donnelly is no southern Indiana centrist Democrat, but instead is someone who will govern far to the left, in direct opposition to Indiana’s history and tradition.
However, Donnelly’s extreme positions in favor of Obamacare and big Labor’s EFCA are not why this Indiana seat should be so important to those who hope for a Senate that supports limited government.
This race is important because the establishment Republicans did not want it to happen.
Washington, D.C., establishment Republicans wanted another six years of Dick Lugar and then a chance to anoint their own successor, rather than leaving it up to the people of Indiana.
And if Mourdock does not win, those same establishment Republicans will hold up Indiana as the example of how the Tea Party and other limited government conservatives are responsible should Mitch McConnell not reach his holy grail of the Majority Leader spot.
A Mourdock victory not only puts another solid limited government Senator into the puzzle palace that is Capitol Hill, but a Mourdock victory has a psychological effect on every Republican Senator who thinks that they own the Senate seat that they temporarily hold.
Every time John Cornyn sees Mourdock, he will know that his hold on his seat in Texas is tenuous.
Every time Lamar Alexander sees Mourdock, he will wonder if he can survive a primary challenge in Tennessee.
A Richard Mourdock victory will create a counter balance against those Republican Senators who use their general elections as an excuse to accommodate the far left agenda. Because every single one of them will wish that good ole Dick Lugar was still around.
Politics as usual has to end in D.C. and the only people who don’t seem to know it are the denizens of Capitol Hill who seemingly stand for nothing while our nation teeters on the edge of fiscal destruction.
A victory by Richard Mourdock means more, because to those Republicans who are up for re-election in 2014, he is their worst nightmare.
Now, with the polls in Indiana stuck at about 40 percent for the far left Donnelly and about 40 percent for Richard Mourdock, the people of Indiana have the opportunity to stand up for changing the culture of D.C. by electing the outsider Republican.
On the other hand, if Donnelly wins, the Vichy Republicans will use it as a cudgel against conservatives seeking to defeat their brethren in primaries for either the House or Senate.
Ironically, it would be those moderate Republican Lugar voters in Indiana who will determine if Mourdock or Donnelly get elected.
Time after time, limited government and social conservative Republican voters are told to hold your nose and vote for the lesser of two evils, all in the interest of gaining a majority. Now, in Indiana the so-called moderates are getting a taste of that political pie. If they choose to elect the Democrat out of spite, it will reveal the one way street facing conservative voters.
A one way street that could lead to serious discussions of whether the Republican Party still represents small government values, or if it has become a me-too big government behemoth that is no longer part of the solution.
Sometimes politics is a game within a game, and Indiana voter’s decision in this year’s Senate race will mean more to the national political landscape over the next two years than any other individual election.
For those frustrated by the quagmire that is D.C., it could mean a swamp cleaning in 2014, or just more of the same.
Rick Manning is the Communications Director at Americans for Limited Government.