WASHINGTON -- Richard Mourdock, who is fond of comparing modern politics to the Civil War era, said Tuesday that he does it because he is a "history buff." And he also thinks it's an apt comparison.
During his victorious Republican primary fight against Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar, Mourdock, the state treasurer now seeking a Senate seat, argued that the modern-day battle over taxes reminded him of Abraham Lincoln's fears about slavery. Mourdock seemed to put the poor in the role of the slaveholders.
Just last week, Mourdock compared President Barack Obama's rescue of Chrysler to slavery, saying the deal stiffed creditors -- including Indiana's pension system -- and that it was like the slavery Lincoln opposed because it involved taking from one person and giving to another.
Mourdock joked during his victory speech about how often he brings up Lincoln.
Asked on Capitol Hill Tuesday about his penchant for making historic comparisons that some find objectionable, Mourdock stood by his habit, and elaborated about how he means it.
"I'm a big history buff," Mourdock said. "I just mean it in the sense that polarization -- Republicans see the only possible answer to this incredible economic mess we have is to reduce the size of govt, let people keep more of their resources and just live their own lives.
"The Democrats, obviously, believe the exact opposite is what's required to get the problem fixed," he added. "And in that sense the polarization makes it hard to find compromise. And that's not unlike the incredible polarization that took place during those periods of the 1860s."
The polarization of the 1860s led to the bloodiest war in American history.
But Mourdoch also has argued that he opposes bipartisanship and that Republicans should not compromise with Democrats.
"I certainly think bipartisanship ought to consist of Democrats coming to the Republican point of view," he said during the primary. "If we [win the House, Senate, and White House], bipartisanship means they have to come our way, and if we’re successful in getting the numbers, we’ll work towards that.
Tea Party insurgent Christine O'Donnell <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/14/delaware-election-results_n_715598.html" target="_hplink">defeated</a> GOP establishment candidate Mike Castle in Delaware's Republican Senate primary in 2010. O'Donnell <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/02/chris-coons-defeats-chris_n_765874.html" target="_hplink">lost</a> in the state's general election contest to Democratic Sen. Chris Coons.
After serving six terms in the Senate, Indiana Republican Richard Lugar <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/08/dick-lugar-richard-mourdock-lugar-loses-indiana-republican-senate-primary_n_1501416.html" target="_hplink">was defeated</a> by Tea Party-backed Richard Mourdock in a primary contest in the 2012 election season.
Former Sen. Bob Bennett was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/08/bob-bennett-utah-gop-senate_n_568988.html" target="_hplink">ousted from his post</a> at the 2010 Utah GOP Convention. Tea Party-backed Sen. Mike Lee currently holds Bennett's old seat.
Before winning another term in the 2010 midterm election, Sen. Lisa Murkowski was defeated by Tea Party-backed <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/26/joe-miller-alaska-candida_n_694559.html" target="_hplink">Joe Miller</a> in Alaska's race for the Republican Senate nomination. Murkowski mounted a successful <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/12/alaska-senate-race-write-in-ballots_n_782724.html" target="_hplink">write-in campaign</a> to keep her seat.
Tea Party-backed Sharron Angle <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/09/sharron-angle-wins-nevada_n_605366.html" target="_hplink">crushed</a> GOP establishment pick Sue Lowden's political ambitions in Nevada's GOP Senate primary in 2010. Angle <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/03/harry-reid-sharron-angle_n_765995.html" target="_hplink">proved unsuccessful</a> in her bid to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the general election.
GOP establishment candidate Jane Norton was defeated by Tea Party-backed Ken Buck in Colorado's 2010 Senate GOP primary. Buck ultimately <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/03/colorado-election-results_1_n_765865.html" target="_hplink">proved unsuccessful</a> in his bid to unseat Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.
Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who ran for Senate as an independent after beginning his campaign as a Republican in 2010, ultimately fell short in his political operation. Tea Party-backed Marco Rubio <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/02/marco-rubio-defeats-charlie-crist-kendrick-meek_n_765882.html" target="_hplink">defeated</a> Christ and Democrat Kendrick Meek in Florida's Senate general election match-up.