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Friends few, Morris likely to discover

State Rep. Bob Morris received his 15 minutes of fame last week with his over-the-top diatribe against the Girl Scouts. But repercussions could continue long past the late-night TV talk-show jokes.

Until last week, the freshman state rep wasn’t that well known in the city. But fellow Republicans and Democratic opponents in the state legislature already knew he is unpredictable. In 2010, for example, while a number of Republican candidates were talking about increasing teacher evaluations and reforming schools, Morris made clear he was against the teachers’ union, period. And with lawmakers needing to rescue the state’s unemployment fund, Morris said, “I’m not sure why unemployment insurance was ever put into effect.”

Now, with the Girl Scouts debacle, fellow lawmakers may well seek to distance themselves from the Fort Wayne legislator.

They certainly were last week, when Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma made light of Morris’ comments numerous times in numerous ways. While some of the comments were lighthearted, Morris may well find the repercussions much more serious when he seeks co-sponsors for legislation or help from Senate Republicans in getting legislation passed.

The e-mail

Morris clearly did not intend the e-mail he sent other members of the GOP House caucus explaining why he opposed a resolution honoring the Girl Scouts to become public.

“As I have mentioned, the letter was intended for only my colleagues in the Statehouse,” Morris said in a follow-up written statement. “That is not an excuse for the breadth of my letter – rather, it is the reason for the lack of research and evidence it contained. I was merely attempting to express my reasons for not signing the House Resolution honoring the Girl Scouts and challenging my colleagues to think about the issue.”

Two problems:

•No one should consider an email that goes to more than 50 people confidential.

•A freshman legislator must be careful in “challenging my colleagues” when those colleagues generally have much more experience and power.

Insider-outsider

State Treasurer Richard Mourdock is casting himself as the down-home Hoosier and U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar as the outsider in their GOP primary race for the Senate nomination. Jonathan Allen, writing for Politico.com, points out the irony when it comes to fundraising:

“It’s an ironic twist for a candidate running against a ‘Washington insider’: Lugar’s dominance of state fundraising networks has forced Mourdock to look outside the state for contributions to his campaign and ultimately to rely on Washington’s new incumbent-takedown industry to come to the rescue.”

Allen notes that Mourdock has the backing of the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks, both Washington-based groups.

Tracy Warner, editorial page editor, has worked at The Journal Gazette since 1981. He can be reached at 461-8113 or by email, twarner@jg.net.

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