Now That Every One Else Has Had Their Say on Akin…

Dumb? Maybe. Evil?

I realize I am among the very last people on the planet to comment on the Todd Akin kerfuffle, but there’s a very good reason I’ve remained silent, watching all of this unfold with nary a word.  I’ve watched as the endless Republican pile-on brigades have pummeled this man relentlessly, and from this, I’ve drawn more conclusions about the critics than I have about Congressman Akin.  To say that I have been disappointed in a vast array of Republicans and conservatives is to understate severely my initial estimation, because while the man in question has apologized for his words, and while he’s run around bowing and capitulating in all ways but one, the vast body of the Republican party has been willing to flog him endlessly.  Obama and his team are eating this up, and if they could keep the Akin story going from now until Election Day, they surely would, but there are people who have added their own fuel to this fire, and whatever else I detest about politics, hypocrisy is chief among those things I find most foul.  To see Republicans behaving little different from Democrats makes me ill, and it’s about time, finally, as some of the din begins to die down, that we assess the real damage, and the performances of so many.

Akin himself should be ashamed, not so much for the controversial remark, but for his intractable responses in its wake.  His unwillingness to listen in the face of crippling attacks should give every person pause about his motives for seeking the Senate seat.  The irony in such a situation is that a man worthy of the seat would have stepped aside, while a candidate of questionable worthiness would almost certainly persist.  The only thing mitigating in his favor is that his opponent is Claire McCaskill, whose record is infinitely worse.  Despite his gaffe, he remains the better candidate of the two competing for the seat.  Still, Akin has been less awful than a number of his Republican critics, never mind the Democrats, and I think we owe ourselves a bit of honest discussion about that while we’re roasting Akin over an open fire.

Mitt Romney urged Akin to quit the race.  Here is a candidate who has over time accumulated his share of gaffes and verbal missteps, and yet he has the unmitigated gall to call on Akin to quit?  I call on Mitt Romney to quit, not that he will, again referencing my postulate above once more.  Mitt Romney should have quit when he said “I like being able to fire people,” or when he described himself as a “severe conservative,” or when he said he wanted to “maintain the progressivity of the tax code,” or any of a dozen things he ought not to have said, or ought to have said differently.  To me, the question of “legitimate rape” is no more preposterous than “severe conservatism,” and it should have offended no more of us.

Rush Limbaugh has called on Akin to quit.  I have two words for Limbaugh, and for those who agree with Limbaugh in this case, and yes, they are blunt:  “Sandra Fluke.”   Rush didn’t misspeak, and he didn’t state anything he hadn’t been trying to state, and yet while what he said in many ways was far worse, and far more damaging to conservatism,  it seems we’ve all forgotten that episode.  Well, most of us have.  On this basis, I suppose I ought to join the legion of leftists who have been agitating for Limbaugh’s banishment from the airwaves, but unlike Rush, whose apology I saw as sincere and heartfelt, I suppose he only sees one side of that coin.  Given how his audience supported him, and given also the way in which the fan base abandoned those sponsors who dumped him in the aftermath, one would think he could understand why it’s not a good idea to pull the rug from under an ally’s feet after one ill-considered sentence.  In the same way that his fans forgave him despite the media uproar created and rallied against him, most Republicans and conservatives in Missouri(and elsewhere) are willing to forgive Akin and carry him to victory against McCaskill if he’s their only choice.  Unless he quits, he is their only alternative to six more years of McCaskill.

Speaking of an “only choice,” let me get on to the Republican establishment, particularly the party apparatchiks who proclaim in bellicose words their intention to deny Akin any party funding in this cycle.  These are the same people who tell us now, and have told us for months, that Mitt Romney is our only choice, and we simply must defeat Barack Obama.  True enough, we must defeat Obama, and many conservatives have given grudging support to Romney over the last few months as they have seen Romney as the only remaining vehicle by which to remove  Barack Obama from the Oval Office.  While it’s a view I haven’t warmed to, I nevertheless understand it, and I fully sympathize with the implied threat of not voting for Romney.  What I don’t understand, and frankly cannot accept  is how this same party now tells Akin he must exit for the sake of the party, and for the sake of the country.  Shouldn’t they have exercised this same speech to Mitt Romney after the “I like to be able to fire people” remark?  No, instead they’ve told us how we must support Mitt, come what may, but that view doesn’t extend to Mr.Akin’s situation?  One could argue that Akin’s remarks were less severe in their damaging potential than some of Romney’s, and yet I hear no cries from RNC headquarters that it is time to “get over with this primary business” and “move on to the general election without further debate.”  Odd, isn’t it?  If it is so important to support Romney for the sake of ridding ourselves of Obama, isn’t it almost equally important to remove McCaskill who has been a water-carrier for Obama since day one?

As to the media at large, their response was predictable.  The famed coven of journ-o-listers and all their friends couldn’t wait to flog conservatives with Akin’s poorly chosen sentence.  What makes these things successful is when Republicans join in the game, adding fuel to the fire, and helping in all ways to further make a mountain of a mole-hill.  If Akin had simply said “I misspoke,” and thereafter refused to answer further questions about it, and had Republicans at large joined in so doing, this entire thing would have been quashed simply by disinterest.  It’s what the GOP establishment did over Boehner’s “knuckle-dragger” remarks, and that’s the tip-off.  It’s not that Republicans don’t know how to play this game, but that the GOP establishment is every bit as opportunist as the left.  Within hours of the comment, I was listening to a list of possible replacement candidates the GOP in Missouri might field in place of Akin if he would quit, and most of them hadn’t even been on the ballot in this year’s primary.  The establishment scrambled to try to seize the opportunity to get one of their own in, and when Akin refused to quit, they went ballistic.

This entire episode has been an eye-opener for me in many respects.  I’ve seen the media at its worst, and I’ve seen some in conservative media rush to imitate the left’s tactics.  From my point of view, while I supported another candidate in the Missouri Republican Senate primary and run-off, I was willing to fight for whomever the Republicans in Missouri nominated because all of them would be preferable to Claire McCaskill.  That’s still true.  What I’ve learned most from this Akin kerfuffle is that the GOP establishment can be far more scathing against fellow Republicans than even against Obama, and if that’s so, I must question their motives anew.  Whatever you think of Akin’s remarks, am I now to believe that the GOP establishment is interested in party unity for the sake of saving the country?  Beginning the day after this November’s elections, the Republican establishment will become my sole focus because I simply cannot tolerate their duplicity and hypocrisy any longer.  Akin’s sentence may have been ill-constructed, ill-considered, and malformed, but the GOP establishment is worse.  Take it from a “knuckle-dragger.”

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  • INCubbie

    Bravo. What I wrote about the Akin matter was admittedly harsh, but it has angered me to no end and still does.

  • JohnInFlorida

    The man said something stupid …
    The man apologized for his stupid statement …
    What I think the man MEANT to say was not an unreasonable position to hold …
    On MANY issues, I agree with the man …

    If the pundits and elites on the Republican side would just shut up and support their candidate, Claire McCaskill will go down based on her own political sins.

    But, promoting write-in campaigns and/or 3rd party runs by one or more of those who Akin defeated in the primary will do what Republican elites seem to be best at doing … splitting the vote and electing the Democrat.

    I’m embarrassed by my party and sincerely hope that come January we see a split in the party and the demise of the GOP-e. The progressives in both parties need to become just an historical footnote.

    • http://www.markamerica.com/ Mark America

      John, I agree with most of that. You’d be amazed at how many people don’t wish to see it in these terms.

  • Kathie

    This is general panic. Now that the GOP has persuaded them that Romney’s their only choice, they have to scramble to protect him, no matter who gets thrown under the bus. Once a person sacrifices principle to exigency, it becomes easier to sacrifice more and more on the same altar.

  • TENCOLE

    I swear Mark…..you must be reading my mind. I also can’t wait till November 7th…then the real fun begins.
    The gope are really showing their true colors thru out this debacle…..makes me wonder if this is how they treated Palin before Oct 5th.

  • http://joemiller.us/ William Peck

    sorry, if you can’t handle the abortion-rape/incest question without causing the whole political world to come crashing on your head, you don’t deserve to be Senator. “Strong as the weakest link” – while we were cruising to another shellacking, this idiot, with one sentence, has thrown a wicked monkey wrench into the spokes.

    Many people on this site and like-minded people might agree with everything in the Bible – but you wouldn’t get elected by answering a “values question” by talking about people going to hell. He SERIOUSLY harmed the team, and it is a team. HE is not the team.

    • Kathie

      I’m afraid that the weakest link is Romney himself.

      • http://joemiller.us/ William Peck

        Kathie, you can bitch and moan all day long about Mitt, and you can pine for Ronald Reagan, but Mitt is our quarterback. If you fight against the team, you’re helping the Communists. This is a long war we are in, and getting Mitt in the White House and gaining the Senate is key to winning this war – it’s a step in the right direction.

        • http://www.markamerica.com/ Mark America

          Language, William.

        • http://www.markamerica.com/ Mark America

          William, you’re attacking Kathie, but the truth is that you’re attacking every one who has significant doubts about Mitt Romney. Way to go! Sentiments like yours are far more destructive than anything Akin said. In fact, your attitude is pushing a further wedge between me and that ticket, if your attitude is representative of those on it. You see, the sword you’re swinging cuts both ways.

          • http://joemiller.us/ William Peck

            Getting Barack Hussein Obama out of office ought to be the top priority of any patriot in America. Winning the war (not the battle) is the end goal. So anyone who chips away at this goal I am going to give my two cents on the long war we are in. I’m sure you realize it’s a long war, and won’t be won in this election. But if Obama wins, then the war is way past your and my grave. If Romney wins, we might see America hold on before we kick.

            I don’t disagree that Romney should be challenged, etc. But right at the moment, the goal is to defeat Obama.

            • http://www.markamerica.com/ Mark America

              Actually William, I’ve nearly concluded that the war has been over for some years, and America lost. It had been a bloodless counter-revolution in which the American people slowly yielded every liberty their founders secured on their behalf.

              Levin may be right when he says we in a “post-constitutional nation.” If so, however, then the war is over, and we lost.

              • http://joemiller.us/ William Peck

                can’t really disagree. But if your on the God of the Bible team, which I assume you are, then we are already victors but in a fallen world. We have to keep throwing starfish back into the sea, even if there are thousands of them on shore – we can’t just go back to the hotel and fret.

              • http://www.markamerica.com/ Mark America

                The point of this blog is to chuck as many starfish as I can. ;-)

              • http://joemiller.us/ William Peck

                yes, that is an alternative approach worth considering . . .

    • http://www.markamerica.com/ Mark America

      William, I don’t see where this one guy has thrown a monkey wrench into the spokes of a shellacking, except for maybe his own. I don’t think you’ll find anybody here endorsing what Akin said, so I’m not sure why you’re responding as though some had.

      On the other hand, everything you’ve said about “harming the team” could also be said about others who have made remarks that could be said to have the same effect, and yet I do not notice you calling for their dismissal. See my point?

      • http://joemiller.us/ William Peck

        >>I don’t see where this one guy has thrown a monkey wrench into the spokes of a shellacking
        - Well, it gave ammunition to the left, and it put a serious dent in our momentum. Since the Senate is key to repealing Obamacare, every seat is critical, and now he’s down 10 in one poll ?

        >>everything you’ve said about “harming the team” could also be said about others who have made remarks that could be said to have the same effect,
        - no one has said anything even close to this bomb. Have you written an article about the others ? I doubt it. Yet here you devote a lengthy article to ‘splaining. When Rush, Michelle, Mark L, etc. say to get out – I would defer to them. Regardless of whether there’s a double standard, etc., this was a serious mistake that has had and will continue to have negative repercussions.

        • http://www.markamerica.com/ Mark America

          William, the guy misspoke, and then apologized. Again, when Romney said clumsily that “I like being able to fire people,” while I understand what he was saying, I will be the farm he wishes he had said it differently. And yes, it did give ammo to the left. They ran commercials based on that line in an out-of-context attempt to hit him, and I’m sure with some segment of voters, it was effective.

          Maybe you’d think about it differently if you viewed it through the lens of our continual willingness to throw people overboard for one dumb remark. The truth is that even when Republicans don’t make a dumb remark, the left still tries to turn every remark into something it hadn’t been. I think back on all of the ways the left has tried to make political hay over remarks of various conservatives, for instance Gov. Palin, whose every remark was seized-upon in order to recast her in some negative light. Of course, it hasn’t just been her, but she’s been a ceaseless target for the last four years.

          When George W. Bush was president, and he made his remarks about not wanting to be constrained by “some piece of paper,” (the constitution,) it did grievous harm to unity among the conservative wing of the party that was upset by GWB’s willingness to discount the constitution. Did conservatives recover? Yes. When the same president said with respect to the bail-outs and TARP that [he] “abandoned free market principles to save the free market system,” it did a great deal of damage to the prospects of the 2008 GOP ticket. I don’t seem to recall a bunch of Republicans marching out to demand Bush resign.

          The fact is that this elusive “team” you describe seems like it needs a new coach. (Where a coach provides guidance, vision, strategy, etc.) If the team can be derailed by one guy making an obtuse remark (for which he immediately apologized) then maybe the team isn’t so swift.

          • http://joemiller.us/ William Peck

            >>
            the guy misspoke
            - this question is one of the easier questions to answer, given that you know it’s coming. To botch this question to this magnitude shows he’s not fit to be a Senator ! and yes, he’s harming the team, because the left will (and has) use(d) this to great advantage.

            The team is conservatism / America / Constitution. Coaches are necessary, but so are qualified players. I agree what you say on Bush, Romney, Palin, but the left will do what they do. We shouldn’t be giving them ammunition.

            • http://www.markamerica.com/ Mark America

              William, I agree that we ought not give them ammunition. We do, all the time. The problem is that what is regarded as ammunition in this culture is the problem. Ammunition? Obama’s Czars ought to constitute real, unambiguous ammunition in an election season, but in our culture, few are moved by this, or even understand what the fuss is about. The state of the economy ought to be sufficient ammunition to eject Obama, but clearly, it isn’t. The state of the non-existent Federal Budget and the ballooning deficit and National Debt ought to be sufficient ammo to dump this turkey, but apparently, these things are no worrisome to some substantial number of the American people. Obamacare ought to have been cause to toss this jerk out of office, but how can you make an argument on that basis when your own guy actually put in place a system much like it in his own state?

              If we’re going to worry about everything that can be construed as “ammunition” to be used by the left, we should just quit and go home now. What’s the point?

  • http://joemiller.us/ William Peck

    Romney loses six-point lead in Missouri, now down by 1, after Akin remark, per Rasmussen. THAT is a monkey wrench in the spokes.
    http://hotair.com/archives/2012/08/24/rasmussen-romney-loses-mo-lead-after-akin-controversy/

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000115674819 Jeannie Clarke

    As a resident of MO, I was among many who voted for someone else in the primary, but would have backed any one of the three front runners – some more enthusiastically than others. I certainly share your feelings about the pundits and elite who are distancing themselves from Akin now. The funny thing is, he was the candidate most of them endorsed prior to the election. As I suspect you already know, MO has an open primary and dems crossed party lines and voted for Akin on August 7.

    This whole thing has me mad enough to spit nails. Most people who feel they must comment on this do so from a point of view of the liberals have done worse, or the RNC and Romney are throwing poor Akin under the bus. As a MO resident, I can tell you neither of those two things matter to me in the least.

    This story continues to lead my local news every single night. While McCaskill is criss crossing the state in full campaign mode, Akin is holed up somewhere asking for donations and running his apology ad. I can’t say I blame him much considering he is now getting death threats, but I want to send McCaskill packing and if Akin can’t get that accomplished, then I want him to step aside for someone who can. As I have stated more than once, it will do MO no good if Akin wins the battle but loses the war.

    • http://www.markamerica.com/ Mark America

      Jeannie, I understand completely. If I were in your state, I would find this entire thing discouraging too.

      • http://www.markamerica.com/ Mark America

        test

  • golfmann

    You lost me on the comments about Rush. He did NOT say for him to quit, just the opposite.

    Otherwise you are right on.
    I AM in Missouri and Akin wasn’t my choice but I’ll damn well vote for him over Claire.
    SAME goes for Mitt over Romney.

    It’s pretty simple really….:)

    • http://www.markamerica.com/ Mark America

      Golfmann, I assume you meant to say Mitt over Obama, and while Rush didn’t explicitly say for Akin to get out, well, he pretty much said it.