Commentary Magazine


Akin and the Difference Between the Parties

This month two prominent politicians have said remarkably stupid things: Vice President Joe Biden warned that Republicans were going to put a largely black crowd “back into chains” and the Republican running for the Missouri Senate said that women who experienced “legitimate rape” could naturally prevent pregnancy. Both statements were incredibly stupid, even for politicians, and were the definition of offensive; but the responses of each party highlights their differences quite clearly.

After Vice President Joe Biden’s warning to a largely black audience about being put “back in chains” the liberal elite in the media called his remarks a “gaffe.” While there were questions put to the White House about his remaining on the ticket, there were no serious demands for his ouster. One would think the threat of slavery for voting the “wrong way” would have been accompanied with demands for his resignation. But there were none–not from the media and not from fellow Democrats. The White House and its surrogates defended and pushed aside Biden’s remarks, as they consistently have, no matter how offensive the statement. Biden himself refused to apologize, instead first trying to downplay it, and then disappearing to an undisclosed location somewhere far away from cameras and microphones.

Contrast this with Republicans’ response to the remarks on “legitimate rape” made by Rep. Todd Akin, running for the Missouri Senate seat currently held by Democrat Claire McCaskill. Immediately, highly regarded conservatives like our John PodhoretzMichelle MalkinS.E. CuppPhilip KleinRick Wilson, and the editorial board of National Review have all called for Akin to step aside. It appears that if Akin decides to run, he will now be doing so without the financial backing of Karl Rove’s group Crossroads GPS or the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), headed by Senator John Cornyn. During an interview on New Hampshire radio it appears that Romney echoed Cornyn’s pressure for Akin to step aside while the Missouri Republican party still has time to replace him. Prominent Congressional Republicans like Senators Scott Brown and Ron Johnson have called for Akin to drop out, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was severe in his criticism, and many others have harshly rebuked his comments.

While the comments made by Rep. Akin have jeopardized Republican chances at a majority in the U.S. Senate, many in the “establishment” and Tea Party are not allowing his remarks to pass. The outrage is equally felt across the aisle, despite what Democrats are fundraising on, and it appears Republicans are doing all they can to remove Akin from his race before the deadline. If he refuses to step down, it appears he will not receive any backing from the party, financial or otherwise. Despite the importance of the seat, Republicans refuse to help Akin win it.