Normally, no one but a political junkie would pay much attention to a Missouri Republican candidate for the Senate has to say about abortion. What Todd Akin sad was far from normal. Even for experience campaign observers Akin’s candid response left their jaws crashing to the floor.
“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
“Legitimate rape?” Rape is an ugly crime of hate and violence. What’s almost as ugly is how pigs like Akin trivialize it to exert their moral authority over a woman’s body.
Akin’s ill-considered remarks set the race in Missouri on its ear and Republicans in full-blown panic mode as Democrats pounced on the gaffe. The Republican National Committee said it would not provide funds for Akin’s attempt to unseat Claire McCaskill, the vulnerable incumbent for control of a Senate seat the GOP desperately wants to wrest from the Democrats. The calls for Akin to quit the race began almost immediately.
Akin is telling anyone who will listen that he’s in the race, but he’s running out of listeners. Today, even Sean Hannity said he needs to quit.
The G.O.P. needs to pick up four seats to retake the Senate and Claire McCaskill in Missouri is one of the most vulnerable Democrats out there. She was losing to all the Republican challengers before Akin won the primary. They can find a replacement with no sweat, but if Akin hangs on, with the national money drying up, McCaskill could hang on.
That wouldn’t make Karl Rove or the Kochs very happy. The elephant stampede from Akin isn’t because he’s a stupid asshole, but because he might screw up Mitch McConnell’s wet dreams of becoming Senate Majority Leader. Politics trumps decency. Same as it always was.
Bad boy. He’s gotta go.
The Republicans are hoping Akin will drop out and allow them to replace him. Probably with someone not as stupidly insensitive about rape, but likely better at hiding it.
Which isn’t to say he doesn’t have his defenders “This is an effort to try to direct attention away from…Claire McCaskill, who has been supportive of Planned Parenthood – an organization that’s been under investigation for criminal activity,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said.
Akin’s candidacy got an unexpected boost from Democrats who poured a million dollars into ads attacking the GOP favorite, businessman John Brunner and a second challenger backed by Sarah Palin.
It was a political calculation to want the weakest and least electable Republican to run again a vulnerable Democrat. McCaskill was losing to all three of the Republicans in the primary and chose to boost the candidacy of Akin, the one she was losing to by the smallest margin.
If Akin wins the strategy will blow up in the face of McCaskill and the Democrats. If she wins because she suspected or hoped Akin would screw himself, then it was a brilliant move. Either way, she had to choose from the best of nothing but bad options. She chose the least worst one.
at the end of the day, Todd Akin is still a Republican. Akin’s idiocy gives McCaskill something she didn’t have a few weeks ago–an opening and a classic screw-up she can exploit. Akin’s repugnant views are being condemned by the GOP not because they find his view so repulsive. They don’t and his ignorant views aren’t out of the Republican mainstream, but they’re afraid Akin staying in will blow one of their best shots for a Senate pick-up.
You won’t find Mitt Romney or any other national GOP leader saying jack about that because that would mean they would have to accept blame for supporting this babbling fool in the first place–the way Paul Ryan did after Akin won the primary.
“Todd Akin has been a great asset to the House Budget Committee,” Ryan said in a joint press release last November with fellow House leaders, including NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions, and Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan. “His principled approach to fiscal responsibility is exactly the kind of leadership America needs and I appreciate his hard work.”
The Democrats may have given Akin a boost, but it was Republicans who gave him their support. He’s their boy and their problem.
- Todd Akin’s “Legitimate Rape” Comment Becoming Poison For the Whole GOP (elections.firedoglake.com)
- Huckabee: Rapes Create Some Amazing People (newser.com)
- Rep. Todd Akin Says It’s Rare Women Get Pregnant from ‘Legitimate Rape’ (theatlanticwire.com)