Howey on Mourdock v. Lugar

Brian Howey has a good column on the Mourdock v. Lugar Republican Senate primary race. He noted a number of ways in which Mourdock is stumbling in his race. My favorite, however, is that the pro-Mourdock “Club for Growth” led by former Representative Chris Chocola went on the attack against Lugar for his supposed lack of fortitude budget balancing matters.

As Marshall MacLuhan said, “The medium is the message.” In this case, Mourdock has chosen in Chris Chocola perhaps the worst possible medium for a balanced budget message.

With the Mourdock campaign flagging on all these fronts, he is hoping for national intervention. Former Hoosier Congressman Chris Chocola entered the picture when his Club for Growth began an 800 gross ratings point TV ad campaign assailing Lugar for being in Congress while U.S. debt exploded.

The ironic facts are that Chocola served in Congress from 2003 through 2007 when the U.S. deficit veered into the trillions and debt rose to epic proportions.

As a candidate, Chocola backed the unpaid for Bush tax cuts, supported the unpaid for Bush-era Iraq and Afghan wars. As a member of Congress, Chocola backed the unpaid for Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, the most massive entitlement expansion since LBJ’s Great Society. In 2004, he voted to increase the debt limit.



  1. Buzzcut says

    Howey is off the rails in his support of Lugar. Just like he was off the rails in support of Obamacare (which, he admitted, would help him personally, so he thought).

    I do not get why anybody like Lugar. What is so great about him? Why does Howey seem like he’s ready to do a Monica on the guy every time he writes about this issue?

    BTW, facts of not, come 2012, when we are in ANOTHER recession, guys like Lugar and Visclosky (who both have been in Congress for literally generations) are going to lose, big time. I don’t care what they poll now, how much money they’re raising, the coming recession changes everything.

    And, no, the recession has nothing to do with the debt ceiling.

  2. says

    I’m luke warm on Lugar. As Republican Senators go, he’s pretty good. In the whole universe of possible representation, we could do better, I suppose.

    Mainly, I don’t like Mourdock. And, I don’t like him specifically because of his crusade against Chrysler. He spent a bunch of money, and he was clearly wrong. Even if you don’t buy the court’s reasoning on why he was wrong about the creditor preference issue (which reasoning is sound — Mourdock never articulated a scenario in which he wins and secured creditors get paid more), he was party to a contract that waived his rights to make these arguments — Indiana turned over that authority to the steering committee governed by the secured creditors with a major stake in the company.

  3. says

    Frankly, the Howey piece comes across as advocacy, something written by a candidate’s media guru, and not objective analysis like Howey probably hopes it would be considered to be. An objectivie political analysist, would not have written the column like Howey did. Given that this piece appears to jettison objectivity for advocacy, I have to wonder whether Howey is working with the Lugar campaign or hoping to secure a position with Lugar after the election.

  4. says

    I mean, it reveals the whole business of hopping up and down and getting so mad about the debt and deficits as nothing more than a pretext. The fact of deficit spending or a national debt isn’t the motivating force behind these attacks; it’s the fact that Sen. Lugar kind of sort of cooperated with a Democrat. If John McCain had been elected President but everything else about Sen. Lugar’s record and the current fiscal situation was the same, I guarantee you, we wouldn’t be treated to the spectacle of Chris Chocola bemoaning the fiscal irresponsibility of Washington or Senator Lugar.

  5. says

    And, of course, there is the underlying problem revealed by Mourdock’s Chrysler challenge. He’s fiscally irresponsible. He spent a bunch of money pursuing the challenge and, had he won, Indiana would have gotten less money because a liquidated Chrysler was worth less than what the secured creditors got under the restructuring. The deal on the table was the best deal anywhere on the horizon, and Mourdock wanted it gone because the restructuring was an Obama administration initiative.

  6. Buzzcut says

    I happen to think that a liquidated Chrysler would be worth more than what we got now. Probably the Ram and the minivans go to Nissan, the full size cars go to Ford, the rest of the company is worth zilch and are simply shut down, and we are all better off.

    And with Chrysler (and GM) bankrupt, Ford and the REAL American car companies of Honda and Toyota would be cleaning up.

    And it would still be good for Indiana, because Honda and Toyota have such a strong presence here.

  7. Buzzcut says

    Paul, very good point, I feel the same way, that the piece is advocacy, which is exactly what his pieces on Obamacare were.

    I’m fine with most of what Howey writes about, but these two issue just rub me the wrong way. You hit the nail on the head, it is advocacy.

  8. Buzzcut says

    Says you. And why?

    Because the deficits pre-Obama can’t even be compared to the deficits post-Obama. The deficit was going down as recently as 2007 (despite the sub-prime crisis starting in ’06). Had we somehow avoided the post-Lehman meltdown, we would have had a balanced budget in ’09 (simple regression of the deficits from ’03 to ’07).

  9. says

    the deficits pre-Obama can’t even be compared to the deficits post-Obama.

    A fine article of faith; but it’s just not accurate.

    How Trillion Dollar Deficits Were Created.

    And your feeling that Chrysler would be worth more liquidated is contrary to the evidence actually presented to the bankruptcy court. The evidence presented to the bankruptcy court suggested that the value of Chrysler in liquidation was $800 million; compared to the, I think, $6 billion under the restructuring that happened.

  10. Joe says

    I’m all for a better alternative to Lugar and a campaign based on facts, but Mourdock hasn’t exactly explained why we’d be better off with him.

    Don’t tell me why the other guy stinks, tell me what you’re bringing to the party.

    I know, I’m a dreamer.

  11. Buzzcut says

    Doug, I stand by my statements. I wonder what you think that graph says, but it says to me that the vast majority of the deficit is Obama policies ($11B for Obama, $6.7B for Dubya).

    Not only that, but starting with those 2001 budget projections is retarded. The Clinton years were an unsustainable bubble, and tax revenues reflected that bubble.

    But regardless, all you have to do is graph the ’03 to ’07 deficits, which I’ve done for you before. Throw a trend line in there. Had we not gone into the mother of all recessions, we would have had a surplus in ’09. That means that we were growing out of the Bush deficits, just like we grew out of the Reagan deficits, just like we grew out of the Clinton deficits.

    The question is, why aren’t we growing out of the Obama deficits? Why, 2 years after the recession ended, two and a half years after the financial crisis ended, three years after the mortgage crisis ended, do we still have an unemployment crisis?

    Regarding Chrysler, you are being one sided. What about all the bailout bucks they received? I’d take the $800 million and not make the “investment” that Obama made in them. You are also failing to see the impact that Chrysler surviving has on the other automakers. There is no doubt in my mind that if Chrysler and GM were gone, Ford would now have all their market share. They would be rolling. Their economies of scale would be like no automaker has had since the fifties. Their profitability would be through the roof. They would be hiring like crazy. They would be in a much better position to fight off the Japanese and Korean carmakers.

  12. Buzzcut says

    Regarding what Mourdock stands for, do you really need the guy to spell it out for you? He has been our Treasurer for 5 years now. He is what he is (tea party conservative). He is exactly what we need to replace RINO, establishment Lugar with.

    My personal experience with Mourdock tells me that his strategery right now is to get individual party members behind him. Once he has the ground troops (which doesn’t cost a lot of money), he can outcall and outwalk and generally outhustle Lugar. Again, you don’t need a lot of money for that. It’s a guerrilla campaign.

  13. Joe says

    Sorry Buzz, I guess I don’t think Lugar is a Republican in name only.

    That he is now “too liberal” based on a couple votes in the last few years is rather telling as to the direction the Republican party has moved, away from Lugar and folks like me who grew up Republican but are repulsed at the current “tea party” leadership of the party, which is rather lacking in ideological depth but is pretty handy with a soundbite.

    (That may be the record for longest run-on sentence on Doug’s blog. Sorry about that.)

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