Richard Mourdock's raison d'etre, as the NY Times explained it, "is to cease the efforts at bipartisanship that defined the six-term tenure of Mr. Lugar and push for a more conservative agenda among Republicans on Capitol Hill." And so it would seem that Mourdock is in search of a preexisting fait accompli. I guess that's one way to fulfill one's campaign promises: swear to accomplish the already accomplished.
Mourdock, who also wants to abolish the departments of education, energy, commerce, and housing and urban development, detects an epidemic of Beltway bipartisanship that has escaped the rest of us--except, of course, Mourdock's ever-vigilant tea partiers. It certainly has escaped Sen. Lugar, who, in his concession speech last night, brooded that "We are experiencing deep political divisions in our society right now [which] have stalemated progress in critical areas."
Still, it further appears that Mourdock is about more than mere stalemate--George Will's political ideal of constantly opposing forces of roughly equal power whose legislative product is zero. In fact, Mourdock appears to detest stalemate, telling the Times: "This is a historic time, and the most powerful people in both parties are so opposed to one another that one side simply has to win out over the other."
Putting aside that all eras, in one way or another, are historic (the political paranoid, however, invariably interprets his own time as filled with especial import), Mourdock's statement can be read as containing either an Anglo-parliamentary temperament or a chilling, totalitarian wish.
In the former, separated powers are regarded as tedious filigree to be constitutionally avoided, so as to effect swift, decisive governance and unimpeded change. It is also a profoundly democratic system--more so than ours--in that it avails itself of swifter internal change; which, when one seems stuck with, say, a George W. Bush, is a pleasant option to have at one's disposal.
There's something final about Mourdock's phrasing, though--"one side simply has to win out over the other"--in addition to the unpleasant extremists who follow him, that leads one to think his desire leans more to the absolutism of mid-20th-century fanatics. Compare, for instance, the preceding quote to this justification of one-party rule:
[L]et it be understood, [our singular authority was] not against the will of the people, but only when the people, having in the course of time, and by means of a series of elections ... had expressed their wish to entrust their destiny to [us].... [W]e had lived long enough with opposition and we had had enough of it.... It was now time to have done with it and to start building up.
You might say those were rather famous last words, for they were spoken, in postwar Nuremberg, by the devout Hermann Goering. Their intense nihilism, grounded in the utopian instinct for a universal recreation, are eerily similar to the infantile squawkings of America's tea-party types who find bipartisanship detestable, compromise unendurable, and absolute control indispensable.
Such is the fanatic's creed. In the United States, its popularity erupts from time to time, but always remains within a minority and soon--very soon, in the historical relativity of time--vanishes into the diseased obscurity whence it came, but always lurks.