Commentary Magazine


Topic: Todd Akin

Romney Needs to Sister Souljah Akin

Despite pleas from leading Republicans, Rep. Todd Akin announced today that he would not step down as Republican Senate nominee in Missouri. The statement, which came on former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s radio show, is very bad news for the Republican Party. As I noted earlier today, Akin’s staying in the race not only turns a likely GOP Senate pickup into a likely Democratic hold, it also places in jeopardy any chance Republicans might have of repealing ObamaCare next January. It will provide ready ammunition to the Democrats’ disingenuous attempt to convince the country that the GOP is waging a war on women.

All of which makes it imperative that Mitt Romney speak out personally on the matter. If there was ever a time for a Romney Sister Souljah moment, this is it. The Romney campaign has issued a statement disagreeing with Akin and reportedly vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan who serves with the Missourian in the House called him yesterday urging him to quit. But that is no longer enough. Romney has to come out in front of the cameras and the press and declare in no uncertain terms that Akin should end his Senate run and that he and all Republicans repudiate his views. An he must do it immediately in order to lessen the impact of the deluge of negative ads stemming from this fiasco that the Obama campaign will soon be issuing.

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Despite pleas from leading Republicans, Rep. Todd Akin announced today that he would not step down as Republican Senate nominee in Missouri. The statement, which came on former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s radio show, is very bad news for the Republican Party. As I noted earlier today, Akin’s staying in the race not only turns a likely GOP Senate pickup into a likely Democratic hold, it also places in jeopardy any chance Republicans might have of repealing ObamaCare next January. It will provide ready ammunition to the Democrats’ disingenuous attempt to convince the country that the GOP is waging a war on women.

All of which makes it imperative that Mitt Romney speak out personally on the matter. If there was ever a time for a Romney Sister Souljah moment, this is it. The Romney campaign has issued a statement disagreeing with Akin and reportedly vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan who serves with the Missourian in the House called him yesterday urging him to quit. But that is no longer enough. Romney has to come out in front of the cameras and the press and declare in no uncertain terms that Akin should end his Senate run and that he and all Republicans repudiate his views. An he must do it immediately in order to lessen the impact of the deluge of negative ads stemming from this fiasco that the Obama campaign will soon be issuing.

Romney doesn’t have the power to make Akin end his now quixotic quest for a Senate seat that seems destined to ensure that a faltering Claire McCaskill will be re-elected even though most of her state wants her out. But Romney does have the standing to put the congressman in rhetorical Coventry by declaring that he personally as well as the rest of the party believe Akin has forfeited his place in national politics.

It is true that the Democrats were going to keep playing the war on women card even if Akin had never said rape victims could not get pregnant. But by saying it, Akin not only fulfilled McCaskill’s hopes that he would self-destruct. He also became the living embodiment of the cartoon version of the GOP that the Obama campaign is selling the public. Nothing short of an outright condemnation and demand that Akin step down from Romney can ameliorate the damage that is about to be done to the GOP.

Republicans are worried that a hurricane might disrupt their Tampa convention next week. But though the weather there next week is worrisome, it’s a minor consideration when compared to the disaster that is unfolding in Missouri.

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Akin’s Problematic Poll Numbers

There are two polls out today, both with similar findings: Rep. Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comment has already done severe damage to his chances in the Missouri Senate race. According to Survey USA, 54 percent of statewide respondents say Akin should drop out of the race; 55 percent don’t buy his excuse that he “misspoke”; and 76 percent disagree with his comment.

Meanwhile, a Public Policy Polling flash survey last night found that Akin was still leading Claire McCaskill by 1 point in the state, which seems to be more of a reflection of McCaskill’s weakness as a candidate than a display of public support for Akin. A Survey USA poll from earlier this month showed Akin with an 11-point lead over McCaskill, so this appears to be a pretty significant drop.

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There are two polls out today, both with similar findings: Rep. Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comment has already done severe damage to his chances in the Missouri Senate race. According to Survey USA, 54 percent of statewide respondents say Akin should drop out of the race; 55 percent don’t buy his excuse that he “misspoke”; and 76 percent disagree with his comment.

Meanwhile, a Public Policy Polling flash survey last night found that Akin was still leading Claire McCaskill by 1 point in the state, which seems to be more of a reflection of McCaskill’s weakness as a candidate than a display of public support for Akin. A Survey USA poll from earlier this month showed Akin with an 11-point lead over McCaskill, so this appears to be a pretty significant drop.

Ed Morrissey also points out a problem with the PPP survey’s sample:

There’s another problem with this poll for Akin, one we don’t usually see from PPP — they significantly oversampled Republicans.  The D/R/I on this survey is R+9 at 30/39/32, but even the GOP-sweep 2010 election had exit polls for Missouri showing an R+3 advantage, 34/37/28. I’m not sure I’d trust that one-point margin lead in this poll.

So it looks like this poll is actually skewed in favor of Akin — interesting, since PPP is a Democratic polling firm. Though not entirely surprising, considering Democrats have a huge interest in keeping a sure loser like Akin in the race. McCaskill and supporting super PACs did reportedly spend around $1.5 million helping Akin secure the nomination, and I imagine they want to get their money’s worth.

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Akin’s Crime Against Pro-Lifers

So Todd Akin, the senatorial candidate in Missouri, has made a commercial apologizing for his remarks on rape and pregnancy on Sunday. “Rape is an evil act,” he says. “I used the wrong words in the wrong way and for that I apologize. As the father of two daughters, I want tough justice for predators. I have a compassionate heart for the victims of sexual assault. I pray for them. The fact is, rape can lead to pregnancy. The truth is, rape has many victims. The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold. I ask for your forgiveness.”

One has reason to think this apology is disingenuous. For one thing, it’s doubtful he would have issued it had the video of him discoursing on “legitimate rape” and the mystical ability of a woman’s body to repel a rapist’s seed not become a subject of controversy. For another, as always with politicians, what tells is the phrasing. “The mistake was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold” places the blame for his error on “the words,” as though the words were somehow separate from him. Whereas “the heart I hold” is intrinsic to him, and therefore to be taken more seriously  (and by the way, who exactly “holds” a heart?).

What strikes me, though, is the offense Todd Akin has given—not just to victims of rape, but to his fellow pro-lifers. The most difficult moral issue when it comes to abortion comes with cases of pregnancy due to rape and incest. (These are, relative to all live births, extraordinarily small in number.) The pregnancy in such circumstances is not only unwanted but the result of a barbaric and traumatic criminal attack. And yet consistent pro-lifers argue such pregnancies should not be ended by abortion. This is usually held up as an example of their fanaticism, or their cruelty, or their desire to punish women, or some other charge.

In fact, though, it is precisely when it comes to these most difficult cases that the underlying philosophy of the pro-life movement finds its moral strength. They argue that the unborn possess an independent right to life, that one would and should not do to them in the womb what would never be done to them one second after they were born alive. Wanted or unwanted, conceived in love or in violence, they are ensouled and they are people.

This is not a conviction I share, but it is a conviction for which I have enormous respect. Now comes along Todd Akin, and he has good news! No need to worry about those pesky hard cases, that pregnancy-by-rape stuff! Don’t bother yourself over that! He talked to a doctor, and the doctor said when a woman is legitimately raped, her body will act in ways to prevent that pregnancy from happening! So if there’s a pregnancy by rape, you can be pretty sure it’s not really rape, but something less…legitimate.

In one offhand stroke, then, Todd Akin not only offended all thinking people with his nonsense bilge—he was also selling snake oil to his own comrades in the pro-life battle. For that they should despise him.

So Todd Akin, the senatorial candidate in Missouri, has made a commercial apologizing for his remarks on rape and pregnancy on Sunday. “Rape is an evil act,” he says. “I used the wrong words in the wrong way and for that I apologize. As the father of two daughters, I want tough justice for predators. I have a compassionate heart for the victims of sexual assault. I pray for them. The fact is, rape can lead to pregnancy. The truth is, rape has many victims. The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold. I ask for your forgiveness.”

One has reason to think this apology is disingenuous. For one thing, it’s doubtful he would have issued it had the video of him discoursing on “legitimate rape” and the mystical ability of a woman’s body to repel a rapist’s seed not become a subject of controversy. For another, as always with politicians, what tells is the phrasing. “The mistake was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold” places the blame for his error on “the words,” as though the words were somehow separate from him. Whereas “the heart I hold” is intrinsic to him, and therefore to be taken more seriously  (and by the way, who exactly “holds” a heart?).

What strikes me, though, is the offense Todd Akin has given—not just to victims of rape, but to his fellow pro-lifers. The most difficult moral issue when it comes to abortion comes with cases of pregnancy due to rape and incest. (These are, relative to all live births, extraordinarily small in number.) The pregnancy in such circumstances is not only unwanted but the result of a barbaric and traumatic criminal attack. And yet consistent pro-lifers argue such pregnancies should not be ended by abortion. This is usually held up as an example of their fanaticism, or their cruelty, or their desire to punish women, or some other charge.

In fact, though, it is precisely when it comes to these most difficult cases that the underlying philosophy of the pro-life movement finds its moral strength. They argue that the unborn possess an independent right to life, that one would and should not do to them in the womb what would never be done to them one second after they were born alive. Wanted or unwanted, conceived in love or in violence, they are ensouled and they are people.

This is not a conviction I share, but it is a conviction for which I have enormous respect. Now comes along Todd Akin, and he has good news! No need to worry about those pesky hard cases, that pregnancy-by-rape stuff! Don’t bother yourself over that! He talked to a doctor, and the doctor said when a woman is legitimately raped, her body will act in ways to prevent that pregnancy from happening! So if there’s a pregnancy by rape, you can be pretty sure it’s not really rape, but something less…legitimate.

In one offhand stroke, then, Todd Akin not only offended all thinking people with his nonsense bilge—he was also selling snake oil to his own comrades in the pro-life battle. For that they should despise him.

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Akin “Forgiveness” Means ObamaCare Wins

The campaign of embattled Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin has responded to the furor created by his idiotic comments about rape with an ad asking voters to forgive him. In it a penitent-looking and sounding Akin apologizes for saying that women cannot be made pregnant when raped. Though a day late, it’s full-blown apology in which he walks back his offensive statement and seeks a fresh start from voters. That’s appropriate but it also misses the point. If Akin is still expecting conservatives to rally around him and claim he is a victim of media bias and double standards that allow liberals a pass on gaffes while conservatives are crucified, he’s mistaken. The stakes involved in this election are simply too high to allow right-wingers the luxury of sticking with the Missouri congressman.

The ad seems to signal that Akin is determined to stay in the Missouri Senate race. If so, that will set off a day of furious activity intended to convince him that he must pull out before the 6 p.m. (EST) deadline today that would allow Akin to be replaced on the ballot. The consensus on the right that Akin must go is based not just on revulsion against his stupid and insensitive crack. Conservatives understand that his determination to stay could allow the Democrats to hold onto the Senate this fall. Lest anyone forget, a Republican majority in the Senate next January is necessary if there is to be any chance that ObamaCare can be repealed before it goes into effect. Even if Mitt Romney wins the presidency and the GOP holds onto the House of Representatives, if Harry Reid is the majority leader when Congress reconvenes in 2013, ObamaCare will survive.

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The campaign of embattled Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin has responded to the furor created by his idiotic comments about rape with an ad asking voters to forgive him. In it a penitent-looking and sounding Akin apologizes for saying that women cannot be made pregnant when raped. Though a day late, it’s full-blown apology in which he walks back his offensive statement and seeks a fresh start from voters. That’s appropriate but it also misses the point. If Akin is still expecting conservatives to rally around him and claim he is a victim of media bias and double standards that allow liberals a pass on gaffes while conservatives are crucified, he’s mistaken. The stakes involved in this election are simply too high to allow right-wingers the luxury of sticking with the Missouri congressman.

The ad seems to signal that Akin is determined to stay in the Missouri Senate race. If so, that will set off a day of furious activity intended to convince him that he must pull out before the 6 p.m. (EST) deadline today that would allow Akin to be replaced on the ballot. The consensus on the right that Akin must go is based not just on revulsion against his stupid and insensitive crack. Conservatives understand that his determination to stay could allow the Democrats to hold onto the Senate this fall. Lest anyone forget, a Republican majority in the Senate next January is necessary if there is to be any chance that ObamaCare can be repealed before it goes into effect. Even if Mitt Romney wins the presidency and the GOP holds onto the House of Representatives, if Harry Reid is the majority leader when Congress reconvenes in 2013, ObamaCare will survive.

The math is that simple. The current RealClearPolitics map for the Senate shows 47 likely Democrat seats heading into the election and 44 for the Republicans with nine seats up for grabs rated as tossups. While theoretically the GOP can win a majority without Missouri, that is one seat they were already counting on to offset possible losses elsewhere. If McCaskill is left to run against the candidate of her choice, the chances of a Republican majority next year are dramatically reduced.

Just as important is the fact that if Akin hangs on, he will give Democrats a poster child for their effort to portray their opponents as waging a faux “war on women.” While they will do so whether Akin stays in or not, his withdrawal would be a strong statement of Republican intent and reduce the effectiveness of the effort to depict all members of the GOP as hostile to women. At this point, Akin’s resignation will mean as much to Mitt Romney’s chances of being elected president, as it will to Mitch McConnell’s hope to replace Reid as Majority Leader.

Akin may reason that if he hangs on his party will have no choice but to backtrack on their vows to starve him of funds especially if the race in Missouri stays close. But that would be colossal mistake for the party. No matter what he says, Akin’s candidacy is a lost cause and if they fail to isolate him, the taint of his stupidity will attach itself to every Republican in the country, including Romney.

Anybody can make a mistake but Akin’s belief that if he is sincere in his apologies, Missourians will forgive him and get back to focusing on McCaskill’s faults is wrong. Whether he knows it or not, he’s already lost his chance to sit in the Senate. The only question now is whether he is man enough to realize this in time and give some other Republican a chance. Republicans have only a few hours to remind Akin that this election is about more than his political future. If they can’t bring him to his senses, it will be bad news for Mitt Romney and those who understand that only a Republican sweep of the White House and both Houses of Congress can stop ObamaCare from becoming a permanent feature of American society.

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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.

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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.

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NRSC Pulls Support From Akin

Todd Akin’s campaign continues to undergo one of the fastest implosions on record. Not only is Mitt Romney pushing him toward the door, the National Republican Senatorial Committee said it will yank financial support for his Senate bid, CNN reports:

The National Republican Senatorial Committee will no longer support Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri in his U.S. Senate bid, a source from the group told CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash on Monday.

It was communicated to the congressman that the NRSC will be pulling out if he decides to stay in the race, the source said one day after the Senate candidate sparked a firestorm by claiming that “legitimate rape” rarely resulted in pregnancy.

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Todd Akin’s campaign continues to undergo one of the fastest implosions on record. Not only is Mitt Romney pushing him toward the door, the National Republican Senatorial Committee said it will yank financial support for his Senate bid, CNN reports:

The National Republican Senatorial Committee will no longer support Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri in his U.S. Senate bid, a source from the group told CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash on Monday.

It was communicated to the congressman that the NRSC will be pulling out if he decides to stay in the race, the source said one day after the Senate candidate sparked a firestorm by claiming that “legitimate rape” rarely resulted in pregnancy.

Akin sounded defiant on the Mike Huckabee show earlier today, saying that he had no plans to step aside. At this point, it doesn’t look like that’s possible anymore. Republican senators are calling on him to drop out, and without NRSC funding, Akin has no chance of fighting off the attacks Democrats will rightfully hit him with. GOP advisors say he’s already making preparations to exit the race, according to Richard Grenell.

What would be the point of staying in the race at this point, unless he’s actively seeking to damage the Republican Party? Akin has basically no chance of winning, few defenders in the conservative media, and zero support from his national committee. In that climate, bowing out and preventing further embarrassment for himself should seem pretty appealing.

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DNC Ties Romney to Akins

That didn’t take long. The DNC is already hanging Todd Akin’s idiotic “legitimate rape” comment around Romney’s neck in a fundraising blast today:

Now, Akin’s choice of words isn’t the real issue here. The real issue is a Republican party — led by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan — whose policies on women and their health are dangerously wrong.

I’m outraged at the Republicans trying to take women back to the dark ages — if you agree, join me in taking a stand for women.

Really, it’s deeply concerning that Republicans continue to support legislation that is, quite literally, dangerous for women.

Mitt Romney famously says he would “get rid of” federal funding for Planned Parenthood if he had the chance. His running mate, Paul Ryan, was one of more than 200 Republican cosponsors of a piece of legislation that would have narrowed the definition of rape.

Republicans have a major problem on their hands, and not just because this could destroy the possibility of a Republican majority in the Senate, as John and Jonathan explained earlier. If Akin steps down from the race but keeps his congressional seat, Democrats will continue to use him as an example of the House GOP’s alleged extremism on abortion. They’ll make him the face of the “war on women” they claim is taking place in congress — which they’re trying to tie to Paul Ryan.

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That didn’t take long. The DNC is already hanging Todd Akin’s idiotic “legitimate rape” comment around Romney’s neck in a fundraising blast today:

Now, Akin’s choice of words isn’t the real issue here. The real issue is a Republican party — led by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan — whose policies on women and their health are dangerously wrong.

I’m outraged at the Republicans trying to take women back to the dark ages — if you agree, join me in taking a stand for women.

Really, it’s deeply concerning that Republicans continue to support legislation that is, quite literally, dangerous for women.

Mitt Romney famously says he would “get rid of” federal funding for Planned Parenthood if he had the chance. His running mate, Paul Ryan, was one of more than 200 Republican cosponsors of a piece of legislation that would have narrowed the definition of rape.

Republicans have a major problem on their hands, and not just because this could destroy the possibility of a Republican majority in the Senate, as John and Jonathan explained earlier. If Akin steps down from the race but keeps his congressional seat, Democrats will continue to use him as an example of the House GOP’s alleged extremism on abortion. They’ll make him the face of the “war on women” they claim is taking place in congress — which they’re trying to tie to Paul Ryan.

This clearly has the Romney campaign spooked, since Mitt Romney issued a second repudiation of Akin’s comment today:

In a phone interview this morning, Mitt Romney told National Review Online that Representative Todd Akin’s recent comment on rape is “inexcusable.”

“Congressman’s Akin comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong,” Romney said. “Like millions of other Americans, we found them to be offensive.”

Romney’s doing the best he can under the circumstances. But the Democratic Party is anxious to run on anything other than Obama’s record, and it’s going to milk everything it can out of this scandal.

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Party of Distractions Gets Talking Point

For some reason, liberals want to make this an election about social issues. In their minds, it showcases a broad array of imagined Republican bigotry. What they don’t realize, as residents of the coasts, is that the American people aren’t with them. Most Americans know that being pro-life isn’t tantamount to waging a war on women — the majority of Americans are pro-life themselves. Every single time the issue of gay marriage has been put to public referendum, even in the deep blue state of California, it’s been voted down.

Liberals are happy to blame the failures of these ballot initiatives on almost anyone: Mormons, the owners and customers of Chick-fil-A, etc. What they won’t admit is the fact that Prop 8 was upheld in California because traditional, Church-going black voters, who already came out to the polls in droves to vote for Barack Obama, voted for it. The added benefit of making this an election about social issues for liberals is that the president has nothing else to run on. No record, no plans to save Medicare, Social Security, or the economy in general. It was determined at Obama HQ a long time ago that this would be an election of distractions, not ideas, not hope, and certainly not change.

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For some reason, liberals want to make this an election about social issues. In their minds, it showcases a broad array of imagined Republican bigotry. What they don’t realize, as residents of the coasts, is that the American people aren’t with them. Most Americans know that being pro-life isn’t tantamount to waging a war on women — the majority of Americans are pro-life themselves. Every single time the issue of gay marriage has been put to public referendum, even in the deep blue state of California, it’s been voted down.

Liberals are happy to blame the failures of these ballot initiatives on almost anyone: Mormons, the owners and customers of Chick-fil-A, etc. What they won’t admit is the fact that Prop 8 was upheld in California because traditional, Church-going black voters, who already came out to the polls in droves to vote for Barack Obama, voted for it. The added benefit of making this an election about social issues for liberals is that the president has nothing else to run on. No record, no plans to save Medicare, Social Security, or the economy in general. It was determined at Obama HQ a long time ago that this would be an election of distractions, not ideas, not hope, and certainly not change.

Yesterday’s comments by Rep. Todd Akin played right into Obama’s (and Claire McCaskill’s) hands. They gave the Obama camp talking points that they can focus on for days, if not weeks. They also ensured that Democrats would hold onto a Senate seat that was in very serious jeopardy just two days ago.

In no uncertain terms, it’s clear that Akin’s comments were insulting on several levels. They insinuate that women who become pregnant as a result of rape weren’t “legitimately” raped (i.e.: they’re lying about the rape). They also show just how ignorant of basic biology Akin is. According to his logic, if women’s bodies had the ability to “shut down” and prevent pregnancy, there would have never been an unplanned pregnancy in the history of humanity. He’s now claimed to have “misspoken” and as John wrote earlier, it’s time for him to step down so that Missouri Republicans have a prayer for winning the seat.

The liberal media orchestra will, no doubt, play whatever sheet music the left hands them, keeping the story alive for several news cycles. Vice President Biden’s comments about Republicans wanting to put a largely African American crowd “back in chains” will disappear, written off as a gaffe. A good deal more attention will be paid to the statements from Akin, a member of Congress running for a Senate seat in Missouri. His statements, unlike Biden’s, will not be deemed a gaffe, but will instead be described as a feeling shared by all Republicans in their ongoing War on Women. The media’s hypocrisy is on full display, as they are on one hand outraged over idiotic statements about rape, while they were silent about actual rapes and coverups that took place in Occupy Wall Street camps across the country during the movement’s heyday.

Many are worried that the comments will sink the stock of the whole Republican Party. If Republicans repudiate not just Akin’s comments and the misogyny behind them, Americans will realize that one House member does not speak for the entire GOP. As Alana reported this morning, the Romney camp has already and unequivocally rejected Akin’s comments flat out. If the liberal mainstream media continues to obsess about Akin’s remarks, ignoring the imminent bankruptcy of Europe, American persistent unemployment and mounting debt and a looming conflict with Iran, the American people will take notice of the distraction. They will realize that the media furor surrounding his remarks is crowding out an honest discussion on the real issues facing our country at a turning point in our history. While this may give Democrats a bump (outside of Missouri) in the short term, it will once again show them to be the party of distractions, not of ideas.

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Gaffes, Non-Stories and ObamaCare

At the top of today’s political news are two stories that are potentially damaging to Republicans. But the thing you might miss from the glaring headlines and breathless commentary (especially that coming from the left) is that one of the stories is a real problem and the other isn’t. The one that is the real problem is, as John and Alana have already written, Missouri Rep. Todd Akin’s bone-headed comment that rape victims can’t get pregnant. Akin, who recently won a tough Republican primary for the right to face embattled Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, was the foe the incumbent wanted and he has delivered for her turning a seat that was a sure GOP pick-up into a toss-up and perhaps allow ObamaCare to survive even in the event of a Romney victory in November.

The story that isn’t much of a real scandal is the one leading Politico’s morning playbook about the fact that members of a Republican Congressional delegation that visited Israel last summer went for a swim in the Sea of Galilee. One congressman, Kevin Yoder of Kansas, did so without a swimsuit while others in the group dove in fully clothed. Alcohol may have been consumed. We are supposed to be scandalized about this, but I’m not buying it.

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At the top of today’s political news are two stories that are potentially damaging to Republicans. But the thing you might miss from the glaring headlines and breathless commentary (especially that coming from the left) is that one of the stories is a real problem and the other isn’t. The one that is the real problem is, as John and Alana have already written, Missouri Rep. Todd Akin’s bone-headed comment that rape victims can’t get pregnant. Akin, who recently won a tough Republican primary for the right to face embattled Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, was the foe the incumbent wanted and he has delivered for her turning a seat that was a sure GOP pick-up into a toss-up and perhaps allow ObamaCare to survive even in the event of a Romney victory in November.

The story that isn’t much of a real scandal is the one leading Politico’s morning playbook about the fact that members of a Republican Congressional delegation that visited Israel last summer went for a swim in the Sea of Galilee. One congressman, Kevin Yoder of Kansas, did so without a swimsuit while others in the group dove in fully clothed. Alcohol may have been consumed. We are supposed to be scandalized about this, but I’m not buying it.

There are those who will be outraged about the fact that those members of Congress who go on foreign junkets attend parties and sometimes have a drink or two or three at said festivities. Don’t take this as an endorsement of Congressional misbehavior or abuse of travel privileges but so long as this was an after-hours affair and no laws were broken, what exactly are we complaining about? If the members of the delegation had a party after their official schedule was completed, this is nothing to get too upset about.

According to Politico, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor read the legislators the riot act. That’s his job since Congress’s reputation is bad enough without stories about members of the GOP caucus being branded as acting like frat boys while abroad. But the real juice to the story is the setting that makes it appear as if it wasn’t just high spirits, lubricated by alcohol but a sacrilege.

However, those ready to make Yoder and the rest of the partiers walk the plank need to remember something. The Galilee may be the setting for Bible stories but it is a lake, not a church chalice. There are places on its shores where people pray but most of it is a vacation spot for Israelis and tourists. People boat there, fish its waters and swim in it everyday and I daresay the Kansan isn’t the first in the last 2,000 years to do so without a Speedo. This is not a big deal. That is especially true when compared to Akin’s latest blunder.

Akin is threatening to be this year’s Christine O’Donnell or Sharon Angle. Both were Tea Partiers who upset establishment Republicans in Senate primaries in 2010. But unlike other Tea Party stalwarts such as Marco Rubio or Ron Johnson, who waltzed to victory in November, both were disasters who turned certain GOP pickups into Democratic victory. In particular Republicans have reason to rue Angle’s primary win since it prolonged the political life of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Akin’s statement is the sort of thing that many voters, even those who are Republicans, will say disqualifies him for high office. It’s not just that it’s highly offensive, it’s that it’s incredibly stupid. It’s hard to believe he actually thought it was true but to say it aloud shows a complete lack of judgment. Nobody wants an idiot representing them in the Senate even if they like their politics. Moreover, this isn’t the first time Akin has said something dumb or inflammatory, nor, as Democrats are telling themselves this morning, will it be the last. That is why McCaskill ran ads during the GOP primary seeking to help him.

While Akin’s backers may be arguing that since this happened in August before most people pay attention to elections, this also gives Missouri Republicans time to pressure him to drop out of the race and replace him with someone who isn’t an embarrassment. National party leaders ought to step in here too and insist on his quick exit. The alternative is to simply sit back and watch while McCaskill pulls victory from the jaws of defeat with Akin’s assistance.

Any Republicans inclined to sympathy for Akin need to remember that there is more riding on the outcome in November than his ego. If Republicans don’t capture the Senate this fall, ObamaCare will survive even if the GOP holds the House and Mitt Romney is elected president. Giving up a certain pickup will dramatically increase Reid’s chances of remaining Majority Leader next January. For the sake of ObamaCare and common sense, Akin has to go.

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Romney Camp Rejects Akin’s Abortion Comment

PJ Media’s Rick Moran had it right when he said this is one of the “most ignorant and damaging” comments he’s ever heard from a politician. Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin’s statement that women can’t get pregnant in cases of “legitimate rape” is beyond offensive, and it’s hard to see how Akin possibly survives this. The Romney campaign, to its credit, denounced it immediately:

“Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg wrote.

Earlier Sunday, Akin said he “misspoke” when he claimed “legitimate rape” rarely resulted in pregnancy.

Answering a question about whether or not he thought abortion should be legal in the case of rape, Akin explained his opposition by citing unnamed bodily responses he said prevented pregnancy. …

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Akin continued. He did not provide an explanation for what constituted “legitimate rape.”

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PJ Media’s Rick Moran had it right when he said this is one of the “most ignorant and damaging” comments he’s ever heard from a politician. Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin’s statement that women can’t get pregnant in cases of “legitimate rape” is beyond offensive, and it’s hard to see how Akin possibly survives this. The Romney campaign, to its credit, denounced it immediately:

“Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg wrote.

Earlier Sunday, Akin said he “misspoke” when he claimed “legitimate rape” rarely resulted in pregnancy.

Answering a question about whether or not he thought abortion should be legal in the case of rape, Akin explained his opposition by citing unnamed bodily responses he said prevented pregnancy. …

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Akin continued. He did not provide an explanation for what constituted “legitimate rape.”

There’s an ongoing dialogue within the pro-life community over whether or not abortion is acceptable in certain instances, but Akin’s argument is so medically ignorant and absurd that it doesn’t even warrant debate. Not only did Akin poison his own political campaign, he also gave Democrats ammunition to portray the entire Republican Party as anti-women. The Romney campaign denounced Akin immediately, but don’t be surprised if his remarks show up in a Planned Parenthood or super PAC general election ad anyway.

The entire dustup did, however, produce some substantive news. It forced the Romney campaign to clarify that it doesn’t support an abortion ban in cases of rape, contrary to what the Obama campaign has alleged.

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