Political Animal


August 22, 2012 12:39 PM Missouri Progressives Encourage Todd Akin To Make a Spectacle of Himself

By Ed Kilgore

Now that it turns out our Missouri friend Blue Girl was (at least temporarily) wrong in predicting GOP Senate nominee Todd Akin would be forced off the ballot yesterday, she is full of joy at the development:

Akin’s decision to stay in and brazen it out, at least for now, is just about the best news I’ve had lately, and to put that in the proper perspective, I had major surgery and a benign pathology report last month. I don’t think I have ever been so overjoyed in my life - weddings and births in the immediate family and the day of Jesse Helmes’ funeral excepted. Good for Akin. I didn’t believe that I had lived a good enough life for the fates to smile on me so, but there it is. I don’t know if it was me or Claire McCaskill, but one of us has been living right, and in case it’s me I’m not changing a thing. Akin staying in - whether he stays in until November or gets out in September - is the best news Claire McCaskill (or the state’s political bloggers) could have dared to hope for. We’re all throwin’ pinches of salt over our left shoulders for luck, and then pinching ourselves to see if we’re dreaming.

We’re all familiar with the phenomenon of predicting one thing while hoping for another (a sure way to avoid total disappointment), but in Blue Girl’s case, the payoff for Akin’s persistence is immediate and tangible:

His decision to stay in widens the chasm between the business and religious wings of the Missouri Republican Party. It also means the state party is due for either a reckoning or a split, and there’s no getting around it any longer.
Akin won the primary, but he wasn’t the establishment choice. He horrifies the establishment because he really believes the nutty things he says, so losing the establishment support is a badge of honor to his die-hard, wingnut, base of support.
Losing the money, on the other hand, might could matter. Already the ten-point lead he had over Claire McCaskill last week has narrowed to one point. Part of it was his horrifying and pig-ignorant comment about rape and pregnancy, but part of it is the sudden cessation of vile, heinous attack ads that Karl Rove’s dark-money outfit has buried her under for the last year-and-a-half.
Whether he stays in all the way to election day or asks a court to remove him from the ballot by the drop-dead date of September 25th remains to be seen, but I suspect that he’s “in for a penny, in for a pound” and he is not only going to go down with his freak-flag flying, he is going to take some other state-wide candidates with him. If he stays in all the way to election day and if Democrats hold the Senate, the Democratic candidate wins the open Secretary of State contest and the Democratic challenger unseats the Lt. Governor, Todd Akin will be a bigger goat than all the 2010 wingnuts who wanted to be Senators - Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Ken Buck and Joe Miller combined.

I might add that if Akin wins, he will likely be a bigger pain in the butt to his Republican colleagues than a quieter and more beholden nominee with virtually identical voting inclinations in Congress, which describes anyone likely to be chosen by the state GOP to replace him if he folds. So all in all, there’s little to dislike in this strange development in the Show-Me State.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Ron Byers on August 22, 2012 12:49 PM:

    Blue Girl's post sums up the situation very nicely. This is the time for the DSCC and the DNC (and the rest of us) to put some money into the McCaskill campaign. If Akin doesn't sink soon, I anticipate Rove and the Koch Brothers holding their noses and restarting their vile campaigns.

    By the way recent polling show that while 47% of Missourians are pro-life, only 14% take the extreme Akin/Ryan view that there should be no exception for rape, incest or the life of the mother.

  • Rick B on August 22, 2012 12:54 PM:

    My guess is that Karl Rove stopped the anti-McCaskill ads as a short-term pressure tactic to get Akins to "come to Jesus" in the GOP. It hasn't worked, obviously, and a McCaskill win will be a major threat to the GOP effort to take the Senate.

    My bet is that Rove is going to throw in a losing hand (removing Akins) and start funding him again to try to save the GOP hopes for Senate control. Rove's goal is national control, which is much larger than removing a minor local irritant like Akins.

  • Ron Byers on August 22, 2012 1:01 PM:

    Rick you are probably right. In a sane world your thinking might lead Democrats to support McCaskill with everything they can afford. Can you imagine Mitch McConnell as Majority Leader? Scary isn't it? One thing is for sure McConnell will quickly do away with the filibuster.

  • c u n d gulag on August 22, 2012 1:21 PM:

    Akin has nothing to lose.

    He's effectively spit on a Wingnut Welfare lifetime scholarship that was just offered him, so he's going to go for the gusto.

    And if he fails, he'll made his fortune going to all of these uber-Christian colleges and universities, and lecturing the young Jesus-freaks for whom he'll be a hero.

    If he wins, if the D's can keep the Sentate, he'll just be another religious right-wing extremist - just more extreme than the 2nd biggest Jesus-freak loony-tune.

    And if he wins and the R's regain the Senate, how popular is he going to be there, since he'll have shown a template for other religious loony-tunes, the ones who may want to challenge a sitting REPUBLICAN Senator?

    No matter what happens, win or lose, he'll be a hero to the Evangelical Dominionists.

    Hell, maybe they'll run him 3rd party in 2016, and REALLY piss-off the rest of the Republican party.

  • boatboy_srq on August 22, 2012 1:22 PM:

    @Ron Byers: I agree that the DSCC and DNC should get behind McCaskill yesterday after this turn of events. Gift horses should be pampered.

    Now if we could only get McCaskill and the other Blue Dogs to understand that just because they got the majority of votes from their constituents that doesn't mean they need to pander to the segment that will never vote for them: otherwise it won't matter whether McConnell becomes Majority Leader or stays in the Minority, because he can count on their vacillation to maintain his obstructionism regardless of which seat he occupies.

  • Diane Rodriguez on August 22, 2012 1:22 PM:

    Agree with Rick. Rove has plenty of untraceable money to spare. The seat is too important to give up. Is anybody really buying the idea that an old white ignorant misogynist doesn't precisely represent the GOP?

    The GOP agenda / platform confirms that Akins never left Jesus' arms. He was just a shade to brutal about explaining the GOP position. Woman still have a vote in 2012 (stay tuned) and clearly Ann Romney, her 1K fish shirt and her supercilious attitude aren't bringing in the female vote.

  • TCinLA on August 22, 2012 1:40 PM:

    In case you want to know how crazy Missouri wingnuts are, here's this:

    The state of Missouri has been in the national spotlight recently because of comments made by Republican Congressman Todd Akin who claimed that raped women rarely get pregnant. After his statements hit the Internet, immediate outrage burned across the country. Akin later apologized, but his statements have rekindled a nationwide debate. One that republicans desperately do not want to have, lest they alienate a wide majority of female voters.

    Sharon Barnes, a high ranking state Republican, came to the defense of her conservative colleague who she believes only "phrased it (his statement) badly."

    Barnes was quoted by The New York Times saying, "abortion is never an option." Barnes went on to biblically claim that, "If God has chosen to bless this person [the rape victim] with a life, you donít kill it."

    Barnes did not elaborate on her views for post-pregnancy care, or costs.

    Barnes has been a figure in conservative St. Louis politics for years, and currently holds all of the following titles according to her Linkedin profile:

    President of The 2nd Congressional District Republican Women

    President of The Republican Women's Club of St. Louis

    Vice President, Membership Committee at National Federation Of Republican Women

    Vice President of The Missouri Federation of Republican Women

    Chairman of The St. Louis City Republican Central Committee

    State Committeewoman, 4th Senate District at Missouri Republican Party

    Committeewoman, 24th Ward at Missouri Republican Party

    Volunteer at GOP Missouri Republican Party

    As her comments become more known the GOP will attempt to spin Barnes' clout in the party as little, when in reality she is a big player behind the scenes.


  • Trenchpress on August 22, 2012 1:44 PM:

    Real rape getting raped for real, fake rape saying you were raped when it was consensual.

    1999 Journal of Medicine backs Todd Akin's claim that Rape Pregnancies Are Rare?

    "In an average population, the miscarriage rate is about 15 percent. In this case we have incredible emotional trauma. Her body is upset. Even if she conceives, the miscarriage rate will be higher than in a more normal pregnancy. If 20 percent of raped women miscarry, the figure drops to 450 (or 740).""

    ""Finally, factor in what is certainly one of the most important reasons why a rape victim rarely gets pregnant, and that's physical trauma. Every woman is aware that stress and emotional factors can alter her menstrual cycle. To get and stay pregnant a woman�s body must produce a very sophisticated mix of hormones.""

    ****RAPE: (transitive verb) "1 a archaic: to seize and take away by FORCE" Laws forced on you since others know best? Majority rule on what they want to force on you then that rape is ok?****
    Laws forced on you is good if others know best? If minority or even majority rule on what they want to force to do or follow on what they think is best then that rape is ok? Many have died and suffered far more in that kind of rape which many make light of it.

  • howard on August 22, 2012 1:49 PM:

    if akin wins - and it is a big if indeed! - i agree with our host: i think he will turn out to be as big a thorn in the side of mitch mcconnell and senate republicans that joe lieberman was to harry reid and the dems.

  • MuddyLee on August 22, 2012 2:40 PM:

    Akin at least told Karl Rove and Romney-Ryan to kiss his ass. I respect that - because he actually believes what he says, unlike Rove or Romney. Of course, he is crazy-conservative (not too far from Ryan). Win or lose, he's a problem for the republican party and somebody the democrats can demonize. Good for the republic, if not for the republicans. Claire needs to promise cooperation with the Obama administration in exchange for financial support - no more Liebermans, please. And please, get rid of this version of "captcha" - it looks like something the FBI would make people use when they file freedom of information act requests.

  • Joy on August 22, 2012 5:06 PM:

    Think Rand Paul. The nation's most deliberative body has Rand Paul in its midst. Need I say more?

  • Anonymous on August 22, 2012 5:23 PM:

    We are talking about Claire McCaskill, right?
    OK, she's not Joe Lieberman but it's hard for me to wrap my head around all this cheerleading for her. I know it's exciting to root for 'our team' but why don't we ever hear this level of enthusiasm and support for a real progressive.

  • Doug on August 22, 2012 8:39 PM:

    "...but why don't we ever hear this level of enthusiasm and support for a real progressive." Anon @ 5:23 PM

    Perhaps because most "real" progressives would rather be right, whatever THAT means, than be elected? There ARE places in this country, believe it not, where the very label "progressive" is poison at the ballot box. Or, at the very least, exponentially increases the difficulty of being elected.
    One of, if not the, most famous Missourians was Harry Truman, a fervent Democrat who most definitely DID NOT consider himself to be "progressive". Yet during his political career he continually, actively supported policies that could only be described as "progressive". I do not have a listing of every political action, every vote in the Senate and every act as President that Truman took but, should there be found somewhere in those three and half decades of public service some decision/vote that I don't agree with because it wasn't "progressive", I'll survive.
    Because "progressivism" certainly has...