By Tim Dunkin
By now, pretty much everybody who is politically engaged to any extent has heard about Todd Akin’s recent gaffe. While speaking about abortion, the Missouri Representative, who is now running for the Senate, essentially said that unwanted pregnancies caused by rape are not an issue, since a woman’s body “has ways to shut that whole thing down.” In other words, when a woman is raped, her body throws up some sort of magic shield to prevent pregnancy from ever happening. Even though this was not likely his intention, the remark came across as grossly insensitive to those women who have had to endure the terrible trauma of “legitimate” rape, as downplaying the horror of what these women suffer. Medically, the statement is inane, as both experience and basic biology show it not to be true. Politically, however, the comment was centrifugally-refined weapons grade stupidity – one which Akin should have had enough sense to know would be played over and over and over again until it was burned into the eternal consciousness of the nation.
Naturally, the Democrats – who never let a crisis go to waste, remember – have jumped at the chance to further advance their nonsensical “war on women” theme that they have adopted for this campaign, with a willingly complicity mainstream media in the vanguard. They are also, unsurprisingly, trying to prevent the very thing most Republicans and conservatives want right now, which is for Akin to do something else besides continue his Senate candidacy. As you might expect, the calls for Akin to drop out and allow the state GOP to appoint someone else to the candidacy (which is how this works in Missouri) have been loud and long. The state and national GOP have called on him to leave. The Tea Partiers want him gone. The right side of the blogosphere wants him to pack it in and call it a day. Rush today softly and gently suggested that it’s for the best for Akin to yield the field to another candidate. Even a reliably stalwart Republican hack such as Sean Hannity has decided that obstinately standing by the GOPer through thick and thin isn’t such a good idea in this case.
I agree with these calls, and for much the same reasons as those held by others. While I am not a fan of Republicans and conservatives bending whichever way the Left and the Democrats push them in their apoplectic fits of outrage, nevertheless in this case, Akin must go. For the good of the nation. The upcoming election will see a tight race for control of the Senate. Several Democrat incumbents are seen as very vulnerable – including Akin’s opponent Claire McCaskill, a far-Left radical who was almost certain to lose prior to this latest flap. Her seat could make the difference between whether Harry Reid gets to keep his place as the Senate majority leader or not – and Akin staying in the race makes that all the more likely to happen. So yes, for the good of the nation, for the good of the people of this country, we need Akin to gracefully bow out and to have somebody else with a better grasp of biology take his place and beat McCaskill. While I typically am not sympathetic to attacks on conservatives who “embarrass” the Party leadership, in this case, the stakes are just too high, and Akin himself has demonstrated that he doesn’t have much more sense than Joe Biden when it comes to guarding his tongue. We’re all better off if he would just retire to the private sector.
However, all of this brings to my mind a question.
Since we’re all so hot to void the results of a primary election, and install a candidate who is more amenable to what we would like to see, then why don’t Republicans and conservatives get serious about doing this at the presidential level as well?
After all, nobody in their right mind really thinks that Mitt Romney is the best candidate the GOP could field against Obama and the Democrats. Despite his reputation as a “fighter” (like many RINOs, he only seems to fight against conservative primary opponents), he’s a milquetoast who is handing Obama issue after issue, while falling for traps like the “issue” of his tax returns. Any decent Republican candidate would be mauling Obama in the polls right now – but Romney is struggling to keep his head above the breakeven point. Romney is like wet ashes on a campfire to the conservative base: they don’t really like him, he doesn’t really motivate them, and in many cases he seems like he’s trying to antagonize them. While most conservatives have resigned themselves to voting for him for “Anybody but Obama” reasons, there are very few out there who genuinely like Romney or are excited about his nomination. He divides the Party, rather than uniting it.
And don’t bother trying to argue that Romney won the majority of the primaries. Todd Akin won his primary fair and square, too. Further – and let’s be bluntly honest here – Romney didn’t really “win” most of the primaries, or at least his early ones. He just ended up being the last man standing while the numerous conservatives in the race ate each other alive, destroying themselves one by one. In the early primaries, Romney was squeaking through with, what, 25-30% in most of his early “wins”? Even later, when even Ron Paul had packed it in, Romney was still only getting 60-70% in states where he had no effective opposition at all. This is not the formula of a Party uniter who is going to run a strong race and send Obama packing.
And that’s what we’re seeing now. Romney mouths the right words, but conservatives can see that there’s not a whole lot of conviction behind them. People know he’s a phony. It’s not just that he’s no Reagan – he’s not even a passable copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of Reagan. More than one Republican has mused to me that they are convinced that the wrong guy is at the top of the ticket, that Ryan or someone like him should have been the choice. Hindsight is always 20-20.
So why can’t Republicans simply work to convince Romney to drop out and hand his campaign financing over to a more worthy candidate?
After all, if Todd Akin should be out on his ear because of an insanely stupid comment, why shouldn’t Romney be out because of an insanely liberal political career? If Akin can be replaced with another candidate who won’t make comments that look like he’s downplaying the seriousness of rape, why can’t Romney be replaced by someone who isn’t pro-abortion, pro-gay agenda, anti-gun, a tax-raiser, and the spiritual grandfather of ObamaCare?
Sure, it most likely won’t happen, and Romney will most likely trundle along to a narrow defeat to Obama in November, while conservatives look wistfully back on what could have been. But I think it’s at least worth floating the idea for consideration. I’d be ecstatic if Paul Ryan ended up with the top spot through some of that cigar-smokin’, back-slappin’ backroom wheelin’-and-dealin’ at the convention, were the GOP powers that be decide that they’d have a better chance with a fighter like Ryan who unites and energizes the base than with a guy like Romney who demoralizes and annoys them. Sure, I’m probably not going to see this happen, but a guy can dream, can’t he?