Conservative versus Ultra-Conservative in the Hoosier State

Photo from South Bend Tribune.

The Indiana race features Joe Donnelly, a conservative Democrat, against Richard Mourdock, a Tea Party Republican.  Both are more conservative than their counterparts in other competitive Senate races.

I discussed Mourdock briefly in a post about Tea Party candidates.  He stands out for his endorsement of the view that climate change is a hoax. This claim goes well beyond both his party’s presidential candidate and Republican Senate candidates in other competitive states.  Most of them speak of “uncertainty” rather than using the “H” word.

He doesn’t repeat this claim on his campaign website, but he does endorse fossil fuel production and tout his scientific expertise:

As a geologist, Richard will bring a much-needed scientific perspective to a debate dominated by lawyers and politicians. Richard believes in creating jobs and economic opportunity by unleashing our Nation’s natural resource potential. He opposes any type of job killing “cap and trade” or other similar legislation as proposed by the Obama administration.

Mourdock has a Master of Arts in Geology from Ball State and considerable experience in oil and coal geology, including a somewhat mysterious spell as a consultant. (I emailed his campaign to ask for more information about the consulting firm. Although I never received an answer, the inquiry did get me added to his emailing list.)

Mourdock is also virulently anti-regulatory and says that to get the economy going we need to “get the jackboot of regulation off the throats of small businesses.”

Mourdock’s opponent, Joe Donnelly, endorses all forms of energy development.  He points out that “we already have coal in southwestern Indiana, oil in northwest Indiana, and wind in central Indiana; so we know what a job creator the energy industry can be.”  He also calls for more oil and gas leasing. His congressional website expresses concerns about how climate change legislation would impact Indiana, as a state that relies heavily on coal for electricity.  He has, however, strongly supported renewable energy initiatives. The website also says that “responsible resource management—especially soil and water—are critical to protecting environmental quality as well as preserving our ability to farm productively.”

Like the other competitive races, this one is significant in part because of its potential impact on control of the Senate, which in turn has implications for environmental issues.  In terms of specific votes, the big difference between Mourdock and Donnelly is probably their attitudes toward renewable energy.

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Reader Comments

6 Replies to “Conservative versus Ultra-Conservative in the Hoosier State”

  1. “…He stands out for his endorsement of the view that climate change is a hoax…”

    Dear Dan,
    On behalf of the Tea Party, we consider the “hoax” to be the lame, ridiculous and
    categorically unproven claims by climate-mongers that they can somehow control the global climate by regulating carbon dioxide. This is why President Obama was afraid to raise this issue during the recent debate and he will probably try to avoid it in the next debate. As the delightful Mr. Romney pointed out, the Obama administration spent over 90 billion dollars on “green” energy projects. These so-called “green” projects have no measurable effect on global climate and never will. Therein lies the real hoax.

  2. “…He stands out for his endorsement of the view that climate change is a hoax…”

    Dear Dan,
    On behalf of the Tea Party, we consider the “hoax” to be the lame, ridiculous and
    categorically unproven claims by climate-mongers that they can somehow control the global climate by regulating carbon dioxide. This is why President Obama was afraid to raise this issue during the recent debate and he will probably try to avoid it in the next debate. As the delightful Mr. Romney pointed out, the Obama administration spent over 90 billion dollars on “green” energy projects. These so-called “green” projects have no measurable effect on global climate and never will. Therein lies the real hoax.

  3. Dear bqrq,
    Are you king of the tea party? What authority do you have to speak upon that fringe group’s behalf. I thought that fossil fuel energy tycoons called the shots.

    I know your group is averse to facts about climate change, but you should really check out Ann Carlson’s post that corrects Romney’s inflated claim of $90B on green energy. It turns out that it’s much closer to $30B, and that the vast majority of the recipients have not gone under but are making good use of the funds. Also, you and your fact-averse group should really reconsider your ostrich-like positions on human-induced climate change — the effects a carbon-based economy are having on the climate are real, measurable and quite beyond any informed debate. Of course, it’s obvious to those of us who are informed that the Koch bros.-backed Tea Party has no interest in an infomed debate.

    When the weather becomes even more severe, when ecosystems collapse, when our food supplies are threatened, I hope that you and your fringe group realize what you’ve done by forcing the delay of meaningful restrictions on GHGs. I seriously doubt there will be any soul-searching by you or your fellow cavemen – that’s just not your style.

    BTW – President Obama should be outspoken on this — it’s a shame that he isn’t.

  4. Dear bqrq,
    Are you king of the tea party? What authority do you have to speak upon that fringe group’s behalf. I thought that fossil fuel energy tycoons called the shots.

    I know your group is averse to facts about climate change, but you should really check out Ann Carlson’s post that corrects Romney’s inflated claim of $90B on green energy. It turns out that it’s much closer to $30B, and that the vast majority of the recipients have not gone under but are making good use of the funds. Also, you and your fact-averse group should really reconsider your ostrich-like positions on human-induced climate change — the effects a carbon-based economy are having on the climate are real, measurable and quite beyond any informed debate. Of course, it’s obvious to those of us who are informed that the Koch bros.-backed Tea Party has no interest in an infomed debate.

    When the weather becomes even more severe, when ecosystems collapse, when our food supplies are threatened, I hope that you and your fringe group realize what you’ve done by forcing the delay of meaningful restrictions on GHGs. I seriously doubt there will be any soul-searching by you or your fellow cavemen – that’s just not your style.

    BTW – President Obama should be outspoken on this — it’s a shame that he isn’t.

  5. leftslogic said:

    “…BTW – President Obama should be outspoken on this — it’s a shame that he isn’t….”

    President Obama has been slowly backing away from the climate change issue because his experts have informed him of the perils that exist within the scientific debate, and the growing risk of political damage which could harm his chances for re-election. Should he be re-elected, then it is unlikely that will we see a return to the old days of climate hysteria and reckless spending. The climate-change political climate has changed for the better.

  6. leftslogic said:

    “…BTW – President Obama should be outspoken on this — it’s a shame that he isn’t….”

    President Obama has been slowly backing away from the climate change issue because his experts have informed him of the perils that exist within the scientific debate, and the growing risk of political damage which could harm his chances for re-election. Should he be re-elected, then it is unlikely that will we see a return to the old days of climate hysteria and reckless spending. The climate-change political climate has changed for the better.

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Dan Farber

Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…

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