Wednesday, August 22, 2012

When Keepin' It Rape Goes Wrong...

Keep right on diggin' that hole, buddy.
Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin has recorded a television ad asking for "forgiveness" from the voters of his state and acknowledging that he used "the wrong words in the wrong way" when he suggested last weekend that rape rarely leads to pregnancy.

The Republican congressman has come under heavy fire from national Republicans for his comments and has been urged by some to drop his candidacy before the no-penalty withdrawal deadline of 5 p.m. today. Akin has said he will move ahead with his bid against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and the spot is an indication that he plans to follow through.

The commercial, which was shared with POLITICO, shows Akin speaking directly to the camera and explaining that he has compassion for the victims of rape.

The spot was produced by the Strategy Group for Media, which guided Akin to an upset victory in a multicandidate Republican primary. For Akin to move ahead, he'll have to apologize profusely (as in this ad) and move on from his problematic comments, return the focus of his campaign to McCaskill and her record in Congress, and win back support from the national Republicans who have condemned him when it becomes clear that he's going to remain the party's nominee for Senate. He'll have to run an insurgent race and bet either that the GOP establishment eventually comes back on board -- or that he won't need them in the general election any more than he needed them in the primary.

That's no small task, but at least the first poll released this week shows the Senate seat is not out of Akin's reach: he had 44 percent support in PPP's latest survey, versus 43 percent for McCaskill.
Here's the ad.[1]

One thing I find interesting is the number of Conservatives who've bend over backward asking Akin to step down, although his "no exceptions for rape or incest" stance (however poorly worded) is nothing new. Heck, it has more or less the default party stance for several decades. Which is why these calls to step down seem a wee bit too "convenient". Would there be such calls if Akin wasn't in a tight race to unseat the (laughably inept) incumbent? If he was 20 points behind, would this be equally insulting? Ionno.

I do think this guy (and his ilk) bring a level of discourse to the political debate that's unwelcome, outdated, and shamelessly paternalistic. I'd be glad to see him step down, but I don't see it happening.

Question: Should Akin just quit for the good of the party?

[1] Is that his wife, or his mother with him in that freeze frame at the beginning? I honestly can't tell, it's like a Barbara Bush sorta thing.

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