It’s a shame that Ohio Rep. Steve LaTourette is retiring. The nine-term Congressman is a rarity in Congress. He is open to both Democrats and Republicans working together and even called his fellow Republicans “knuckledraggers” because of their reluctance to even consider an increase in non-tax revenue to fix the deficit. However, LaTourette has had enough of Washington. He’s tired of the partisan gridlock.
Finding Congressmembers like LaTourette is increasingly difficult in Washington. It is also a bad sign that those who want to work together to fix America’s problems are leaving Congress. LaTourette is one of many who have either voluntarily left or been defeated by extremists in their own party.
Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana is an example. Lugar has traditionally crossed the aisle to work with Democrats on issues. Richard Mourdock defeated him in the Republican primary by labeling Lugar as a RINO. Other Tea Partiers like Mourdock have gone onto the general election and been elected. In Mourdock’s case, he was defeated by Joe Donnelly this election. Whether Donnelly will cross the aisle like Lugar did remains to be seen, but it was clear that Mourdock would never even attempt such a radical idea as bipartisanship.
In this CNN interview, LaTourette makes an interesting comment about his wife that points to what may have been the turning point in the campaign for securing an Obama victory. While LaTourette is a Republican, his wife is a Democrat. That helps explain why LaTourette is willing to accept Democrats as people too, not sub-human destroyers of the Constitution.
Right after the last debate between Mitt Romney and Obama, Mourdock made his outrageous comment that a raped woman who becomes pregnant is part of God’s will. LaTourette noted that his wife was considering voting for Romney. After taking the likes of Mourdock and Todd Akin into account, LaTourette’s wife realized that the extremists of the Republican Party were a far greater risk to the betterment of America than an Obama reelection.
Mourdock’s comments followed Obama being perceived as the winner in the last debate on foreign policy. The debate may have had an impact on the election, but I tend to believe it was minor at best. Far more significant was Mourdock’s comments.
It is no surprise that after these two events, Obama began a rise in the polls. Romney’s momentum was halted. Women voters, who had begun to defect from Obama to Romney, returned to the Obama camp.
As LaTourette notes, women became convinced that the current makeup of the Republican Party is “nutty.”
Congress is going to miss people like LaTourette.