TRI-STATE (WFIE) - Even after retirement, Richard Mourdock still stays busy.
He just published a novel. He wrote 480 pages in only three months.
“Until this, the longest thing I had written was my graduate thesis in invertebrate paleontology,” said Mourdock.
The book is set 20 years in the future. It describes how the US President handles a staggering financial crisis brought on by the national debt.
“The Dragon is about that nation that shows up and says you know, United States of American, you owe us a lot of money. And we are going to demand repayment," says Mourdock.
He says the novel is not a prediction. But he does say he’s always been worried about China and the national debt.
“I wanted to alert people to what the risk was and that’s what the story is about,” explained Mourdock.
It was never his dream to be a novelist, or a runner of marathons, or even a politician.
Mourdock graduated from high school in 1969.
“That was the summer when we watched men for the first time walk on the moon,” says Mourdock.
“And they were picking up rocks and they were talking about the origin of the universe and the planets and I found it absolutely fascinating. And I wanted to be an astronaut,” Mourdock explained.
As a graduate student in geology at Ball State, an advertisement from NASA caught his eye. They wanted geologists as mission specialists on what would become the Space Shuttle Program. Mourdock sent in an application.
“I’m still waiting to hear back, ha, ha,” said Mourdock.
So his fascination with moon rocks didn’t propel him into space, but it did ground him in a career as a geologist. Mourdock spent 16-years as a coal executive in Evansville.
While his novel isn’t auto-biographical, the U.S. President in his book is a business man and a geologist. And it’s a skill set the President uses to save the day.
“He finds a way to bring the natural heat, that’s in the earth, to surface to generate electricity. Perfectly clean. Someday that will happen. That part is a prediction,” says Mourdock.
For Mourdock, geology fracked into politics in the late 1980s. He said when 8th District Congressman, Frank McCloskey, who was once elected by four votes -- cast a deciding vote for a tax hike that passed by one vote -- he knew he had to jump in.
“And I decided if four votes in one district can make a difference and one vote in the U.S. House can make a difference, then I was going to get involved in politics. The first time I ever gave a speech in my life was the day I announced I was running for congress,” said Mourdock.
Three times he tried, unsuccessfully, to unseat McCloskey.
But, Mourdock regrouped, won two terms as Vanderburgh County Commissioner, and then got elected Indiana State Treasurer.
I asked him about his proudest accomplishment and he got emotional remembering the young people he brought to the process...
Mourdock said the one issue he’s most proud of was trying to protect the pensions of government employees in Indiana by suing the Federal Government in the Chrysler bailout.
“I knew the odds were going to be tough against us, but I knew it was the right thing to do. Again, does the law matter or does it not,” said Mourdock.
Mourdock’s lawsuit failed, but it gained him enough national recognition to run for the U.S. Senate in 2012.
He defeated six term Senator Richard Lugar in the Republican primary.
Two weeks before the general election, some polls had him leading Democrat Joe Donnelly.
Then came the topic of abortion during a debate.
“I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, it is something that God intended to happen,” Mourdock said during the 2012 debate.
Mourdock says of course he didn’t mean that God intended rape. He said he had rehearsed his answer. But, in front of the cameras and under the lights, the words came out wrong.
“When I said God intended for this to happen, what I was supposed to say was for this LIFE to happen. But that one four letter word didn’t show up,” explained Mourdock.
He lost the election.
Two years later, he resigned during his second term as State Treasurer.
But he hasn’t quit. He’s writing another novel, not even close to riding off into the sunset.