Richard Mourdock Just Kidding About That Whole Primary Thing, Now Totally Bipartisan

by evanmcmurry

Remember when super-conservative Richard Mourdock absolutely trounced  longtime Senator Dick Lugar in the Indiana Republican primary a few months ago by painting Lugar as a moderate RINO?* Here’s what I wrote at the time:

The results reanimate an almost dead tea party, and should reanimate the fears of the GOP, which saw similar establishment figures picked off in 2010 primaries only to have their more extreme substitutes lose in the general, potentially costing Republicans the Senate…Lugar, the third-longest serving senator, was a far more centrist and conciliatory lawmaker than the type the GOP has been sending to Washington lately, as evidenced by the fact that even Obama released a statement bemoaning his loss.

The problem with primarying your candidate is you then have to win the actual election, which, as we know from Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, and Joe Miller, is much easier said than done. Lugar would have handily defeated any Democratic opponent, but Mourdock has been treading water against Blue Dog-ish opponent Joe Donnelly. But at least conservative voters finally get a candidate who won’t compromise their principles, right? Right?

Today, via the New York Times:

Richard E. Mourdock of Indiana, whose Senate campaign has been most notable for his derision of legislative compromise as feckless, now says he would “work with anyone.”

[…] Mr. Mourdock, who defeated the longtime Senator Richard G. Lugar in the Republican primary in Indiana, in part by casting Mr. Lugar’s willingness to reach across the aisle as a personality flaw, is now working overtime to soften that position. In one of his campaign’s advertisements, the Indiana lieutenant governor, Becky Skillman, says Mr. Mourdock will “work with Republicans and Democrats.”

This message “has great appeal among independent voters,” said Brose McVey, Mr. Mourdock’s deputy campaign manager.

If you’re the RNC chairman, and you’re forced to devote time and resources to suddenly defend what should be a safe seat, only to watch your candidate try to campaign by aping the much more popular and electable incumbent he ousted, you gotta be pretty pissed right now.

* Lugar also ran a notoriously bad campaign.