Obviously I understand why the GOP would prefer it if Todd Akin would make himself scarce, but I don't understand why Republicans are as desperate as they seem right now to have him out of the Missouri Senate race.
I'm looking at this from the point of view of the persuadable voters the GOP wants in order to win other races in the fall. In my experience, the GOP has never had to pay a particularly high price with these voters for the craziness in its midst. Yes, yes, I know that extremism probably cost the party Senate seats in Nevada, Delaware, and Colorado in 2010, and thus Senate control -- but the party cleaned up in House, gubernatorial, and state legislative races, because liberals and moderates never, ever vote against the GOP as a whole, and Democrats never make any election cycle a referendum on Republican nutjobbery and extremism.
So what gives? Why are all the big GOP kahunas so worked up about Akin? Why is even Mitt Romney has begging Akin to quit?
Because Akin is drawing attention to the GOP platform? Give me a break. Nobody ever pays attention to GOP platforms -- the party platform has called for a constitutional ban on abortion since 1980, for crissakes, and the GOP has won five out of the eight elections since then.
My guess is that it's because the Romney campaign wants to pivot to "values" issues going into the fall. See, for instance, Paul Ryan today:
Ryan on Tuesday told Pennsylvania voters that he is a Catholic deer hunter. Ryan says, in his words, "I am happy to be clinging to my guns and my religion."
See also yesterday's New York Times story about plans for the Republican convention:
And rather than shy away from Mr. Romney's faith, as some campaign aides have argued he should, they have decided to embrace it. On the night Mr. Romney will address the convention, a member of the Mormon Church will deliver the invocation. On Sunday, this new approach was apparent as Mr. Romney invited reporters to join him at church services.I think Republican bigwigs would be overreacting if they were concerned that one remark by one Senate candidate in one state far from the national media could have a huge ripple effect throughout the election all on its own. My hunch is that they don't think that. My hunch is that they want to pivot to a campaign that, surprisingly to some, will be run largely on "values," and Akin's remarks threaten to screw that up by linking Republicans to religion in a way actively engaged liberals think about all the time, but most Americans don't unless they're reminded. This is the reminder.
This is just a hunch -- and remember that, if I'm right, the GOP's "values" campaign won't just be about social conservatism versus social liberalism -- it will be about saying Democrats are multiculti freaks who rut in the streets and want abortions and birth control and child support on your tax dollars, because they're European/Kenyan/communist/homosexual, and therefore they hate God. That sounds like a campaign they really might run, doesn't it?