by Austin Hess…
I’ve been surprised and disheartened by the number of Republicans (a minority, but sizable nonetheless) who have come to Todd Akin’s defense after his infamous (and inexcusable) “legitimate” rape comments and his (even more inexcusable and less “legitimate”) refusal to step aside in favor of a candidate who can, you know… win.
I am especially disgusted by Akin’s continued support by Mike Huckabee. I’ve always been fairly well disposed toward Huckabee, even though he and I come from very different sides of the Republican spectrum. I’m a hardcore fiscal conservative that is pretty libertarian about social issues (abortion is the only issue where Huckabee and I generally agree), while he’s a hardcore social conservative that seems pretty liberal (or doesn’t care) about anything else (he is often described as a “Christian Democrat”). I was floored by Huckabee’s reaction to the Akin controversy, though, and Huckabee should be ashamed of himself. After the deadline passed for Akin to step aside unilaterally (without court action), proving himself to be a selfish power-hungry narcissist, Huckabee sent out an email to his supporters defending Akin. Huckabee was virtually the only major politician to endorse Akin in the primary (besides the tacit support of Claire McCaskill as her weakest opponent), and he is now the only major politician continuing to support him (besides the tacit support of Claire McCaskill as her mortally wounded opponent):
The Republican establishment put unprecedented and intense pressure on Todd to quit, including five current and past Missouri Senators.
Yes. And Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin and virtually the entire conservative commentariat (including yours truly, though I wouldn’t put myself at that level). I’d hardly call them the Republican “establishment.” This is the same pathetic line Akin and his few remaining supporters are pushing, and it is beneath Huckabee.
Who ordered this “Code Red” on Akin? There were talking point memos sent from the National Republican Senatorial Committee suggesting language to urge Akin to drop out. Political consultants were ordered to stay away from Akin or lose future business with GOP committees. Operatives were recruited to set up a network of pastors to call Akin to urge him to get out. Money has changed hands to push him off the plank. It is disgraceful.
What is disgraceful is putting personal ambition before the causes you claim to champion, which is exactly what Akin is doing, and Huckabee is enabling.
Huckabee goes on to acknowledge that Akin made a “mistake,” and seems to reveal that he thinks Akin will probably use. He also reveals his motivation in his continued support of Akin:
If Todd Akin loses the Senate seat, I will not blame Todd Akin. He made his mistake, but was man enough to admit it and apologize. I’m waiting for the apology from whoever the genius was on the high pedestals of our party who thought it wise to not only shoot our wounded, but run over him with tanks and trucks and then feed his body to the liberal wolves. It wasn’t just Todd Akin that was treated with contempt by the thinly veiled attack on Todd Akin. It was all the people who have faithfully knocked doors, made calls, and made sacrificial contributions to elect Republicans because we thought we were welcome in the party. Todd Akin owned his mistake. Who will step up and admit the effort being made to discredit Akin and apologize for the sleazy way it’s been handled?
It appears that Huckabee is less concerned about Akin’s idiocy, but the long term fear that he has about the GOP’s strident social conservative voices being marginalized given the party’s fiscal focus in the age of the Tea Party. He asks:
If this can happen to Todd Akin, who is next?
I’ve heard the talk of new deadlines and the nonsense about the Republican Party running a 3rd party candidate, but I am no longer listening to that noise. The idea that our Party would continue to play games behind the scenes and feed the Democrats make-believe narrative of the GOP’s fictional war on women is equally ridiculous.
No, Huckster, it is idiots like Akin that are “feeding the make-believe narrative of the GOP’s war on women.” And, to quote Obiwan Kenobi, “Who’s the more foolish? The fool, or the fool who follows him?” That you continue to support him is the real ridiculous game being played.
Huckabee could have and should have used his influence as Akin’s only prominent supporter to talk him into resigning before last Tuesday’s deadine, and (failing that) he should be pressuring him to withdraw now before he can no longer legally do so. He is doing the exact opposite, regardless of the impact on the country.
Claire McCaskill deserves to lose, and she must lose. Romney cannot win the election without Missouri, and we very well might not take the Senate without Missouri. If either of those fail to happen, Obamacare WILL. NOT. BE. REPEALED. Akin’s idiocy and selfish clinging to the prospect of power has directly jeopardized our prospect for taking the Senate, and has damaged the Romney campaign (and Senatorial and House candidates) across the board, in addition to undermining the credibility of the pro-ife movement that Akin claims to champion. Rasmussen has confirmed that the Missouri Senate seat has moved from an easy pickup for Republicans to a sure loss if Akin remains the candidate. He is polling behind McCaskill, 48% to 38%. Worse, in the wake of this needless controversy, Romney is now trailing Obama 47% to 46%. Missouri should be an easy pickup in the Senate, and a gimme for Romney in the electoral college. Endangering that is inexcusable.
The stakes are too high. We cannot afford to lose. This is bigger than one person. I care far more about repealing Obamacare and undoing the damage that Obama and his minions in Congress have done over the last several years than I do about a single person’s hurt feelings. And that applies equally to Akin and Huckabee.
Of course, Akin’s campaign (true to form), won’t let the facts get in his way:
“The fact that Claire McCaskill is only polling at 48% after 72 hours of constant negative attacks on Todd Akin shows just how weak she is. If she can’t break fifty percent after a week like this, Democrats should ask Claire to step down. Todd is in this race to win; we will close this gap and win in November with the support of the grassroots in Missouri and across America.”
Jim Geraghty gives some sound advice:
No matter how much you love him, do not select your son to run your campaign. He may have a hard time acknowledging difficult truths when the candidate is someone so close to him.
Akin’s son could perhaps be forgiven for his “epic denial,” and I can even understand Akin’s hesitancy as he watches his dreams slip through his fingers. Huckabee has no such excuse. It is past time for Akin to step aside for the good of his professed causes, and Huckabee is preventing that from happening.
Even if I agreed with Akin’s lunacy 100%, I would want him gone, because of the implications on the future of this country if we lose. Huckabee should consider those implications. The RNC should also (re)consider allowing Governor Huckabee to speak at the convention, considering he (in his misguided loyalty to Akin) is perhaps the biggest obstacle standing in the way of taking over the Senate and White House and repealing Obamacare.
Of course, that won’t happen. Romney’s bona fides with social conservatives are already weak, and he wouldn’t want to antagonize them (or give fodder to the media) by feuding with a social conservative icon with as much clout as Governor Huckabee. Huckabee should consider using his clout for good rather than foolishness, though. I don’t want to be stuck in the unenviable position of making the losing argument: “Yeah, Akin is an idiot… but he’s OUR idiot!”