The Akin Agony

Now that most of the known universe has chimed in on Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin, I’ve decided it’s my turn. My procedure for commenting on events is often to allow the dust to settle a little bit so I can get the true lay of the land. I’m always concerned about rushing to a judgment before I have a full grasp of the facts and fallout. Enough time has passed since Akin became a household name; it’s time to say something.

Akin, who is a current congressman from Missouri, has a solid conservative voting record, even on pro-life issues. His opponent, the incumbent senator Claire McCaskill, takes the opposite view on almost everything Akin stands for. On that basis alone, I would be only too happy to see her replaced by someone like Akin.

Yet Akin ruined his challenge to McCaskill in that TV interview when he used the term “legitimate rape” and then went on to say that a woman’s body had mechanisms to stop the rape from becoming a pregnancy. I don’t know if he was simply referring to the stress that a woman in that situation would undergo, which might prevent implantation, but the way he phrased it came across as unintelligent and indefensible. He has since apologized for the inappropriate use of the term “legitimate,” as if any rape could be called legitimate. He has also backtracked on the medical comment. Yet the damage done was substantial.

Nearly every Republican, from Romney and Ryan, to commentators like Sean Hannity, have urged him to drop out of the race. Their concern is that McCaskill, who was considered political toast before this blunder, might now be able to waltz back into the Senate for another six years. Akin, though, refused to step down. Here’s where it gets illogical. He claims it’s the liberal media that are trying to get him to call it quits, when in truth it’s the conservatives who are pressuring him. Not only are they concerned with the Missouri election, but they see this as a black mark for the pro-life cause. Conversely, the liberal media would love it if he stays in the race; he would then hand the seat to McCaskill. Akin says he’s standing on principle, yet his stand is going to hurt the principles he seeks to support. He has made it more of a personal redemption issue than one of greater principle.

Like most conservatives, I have critiqued how quickly Republicans seem to abandon people when they should be defending them. However, in this case, Akin’s presence on the ballot is a drag on all other Republicans. He needs to understand that.

This is sad because I believe Akin is probably a decent man who wants to do the right thing on the issues. His votes are needed. But he has lost his effectiveness for the causes he believes in. He should step down.

The most galling feature of this entire episode is that Joe Biden has said so many foolish things that he should be dumped as vice president. Yet he will remain on the Democrat ticket. And then there’s the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. who is the polar opposite of Akin on the issue of abortion. President Obama believes in abortion at any and all times. He even, as an Illinois state senator, fought against a bill that would have required doctors to provide life-sustaining treatment to any baby born alive during an abortion. Obama instead said those babies should be left alone to die.

Akin will now be sent to the land of political oblivion. Obama will remain in the White House [at least for a few more months]. While Akin brought on his own demise, he is not an evil man, but someone who wants to save innocent lives. Yet the one who seeks death for infants “accidentally” born alive is allowed to continue in the highest civil office our nation bestows upon a person. It’s a travesty.