Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I know I'm completely out of step with, well, everyone across the political spectrum, but I just don't see why the Republican mainstream has gone into overdrive to banish Todd Akin from the Missouri Senate race. The latest is Paul Ryan phoning Akin personally to ask him to quit; Ryan also gave an interview to a TV station in Pittsburgh distancing himself from Akin.

Don't Republicans realize that this looks like the Wizard of Oz saying, "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain"? Don't they see that it just alerts voters that they should be linking Akin to the rest of the GOP, mainly because every day the Akin story stays at the top of the news cycle is another day that, say, The New York Times can publish something like this?
In an anti-abortion measure once sponsored by Mr. Akin, Mr. Ryan and scores of other Republican lawmakers, an exemption was made for victims of "forcible" rape, though that word was later removed....

Mr. Ryan's more conservative views, which have been reflected in votes that would restrict family planning financing overseas, cut off all federal funds to Planned Parenthood and repeal President Obama's health care law, have come into sharp relief as Mr. Akin struggles for his political life. Mr. Akin and Mr. Ryan each have voted in this Congress for 10 abortion-restricting measures as well as those that limited other family planning services.

Here's what I'd do with regard to Akin if I were the GOP: harrumph in outrage, disavow, repudiate, cut off funds, then move on -- and I'd be well into the moving-on part by now. I'd also be well into the process of having campaign and party operatives gently but firmly informing mainstream campaign reporters that it's really, really not cricket to link any other Republican, and certainly not Romney and Ryan, to what that awful, awful Todd Akin said -- any attempt to insinuate a linkage is nothing more than liberal media bias! That's always worked in the past, right?

Why aren't Republicans doing that now? Why are they acting to ensure that this remains the lead political story in America for news cycle after news cycle?

Do they simply find it impossible to believe that Akin won't cave under pressure? (I essentially agree with Ed Kilgore that this controversy makes Akin a superstar in the religious right's eyes, so it's no surprise he's hanging in.) Do they really not understand that their panic makes them seem as if they have something to hide? Are they (as I theorized last night) planning to run a social-conservative campaign against Obama but in a somewhat lighter vein, and they're worried that this brings up what swing voters hate about that sort of thing?

I don't get it. I really don't. Just drop the subject and wait for something to replace Akin on the front pages. Why not?


Jack said...

I don't really think you're out of step with everyone on the political spectrum. You're perfectly in step with me, and with a fair number of good bloggers, e.g., Doug J, John Cole, ABL, Ed from Gin and Tacos, and many others. In particular, you remind me of Driftglass - at least the podcast version of Driftglass, which comes across quite differently than the blog version of Driftglass.

Anyway, your efforts and analysis are enormously appreciated and of great value. I'm glad you have the energy and the willingness to spend the time at it that you do. We're all probably screwed anyway, but I'd rather go down fighting that just curl up in a ball like most of the rest of the non-conservatives in this country.

Victor said...

For years, when the Republican leaders tell their politicians to draw within the lines, they draw WITHIN the lines - lest the they have their crayons taken from them, or get one in the eye.

It's the Democratic leaders who ask their politicians to draw within the lines, and when they don't, the leaders say, 'Ok, well, as long as you draw within the lines a few times, we don't care what you do the rest of the times. If you draw on the walls, we'll work on cleaning it up - just draw within the lines when we beg and bribe you. Pretty please!'

Republican leaders, particularly on political matters, are used to everyone getting in lock-step.

On matters involving sexual picadillo's, they sometimes ask that politicians do the "right thing," like quit, but if they don't, like Larry Craig and others, they drop it, and look the other way - as long as they vote WITH the leaders, which the always do. Otherwise, there goes their lifetime scholarship at Wingnut Welfare.

So, why are they continuing to badger Akin to quit?
I think it's that they're not used to threatening someone with cutting off RNC and PAC money, and having the politician tell them to kiss his/her ass.

Democrats do that ALL the time to their leaders.

I think the Republicans are in shock.

Once Akin turned down the Wingnut Welfare, he's got NOTHING to lose!

No "think tank" will think of hiring him.
But, if he loses, he can count on being a rock-star lecturer on the Evangelical college cirquit, where he'll treated like a hero by the students and administration.

The Republicans never met a politican with nothing to lose before.
Or, not within living institutional memory.

Tom Hilton said...

Watching the Republicans this cycle, I keep asking Casey Stengel's question: "can't anybody here play this game?"

Dark Avenger said...

If I was to compare the situation to a movie scene, it would have to be this one:

[Han answers the intercom after comandeering an attack station]

Han Solo: [sounding official] Uh, everything's under control. Situation normal.

Voice: What happened?

Han Solo: [getting nervous] Uh, we had a slight weapons malfunction, but uh... everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

Voice: We're sending a squad up.

Han Solo: Uh, uh... negative, negative. We had a reactor leak here now. Give us a few minutes to lock it down. Large leak, very dangerous.

Voice: Who is this? What's your operating number?

Han Solo: Uh...
[Han shoots the intercom]

Han Solo: [muttering] Boring conversation, anyway. LUKE, WE'RE GONNA HAVE COMPANY!

BH said...

I would guess that the GOP's thinking on Akin is that so long as he remains the candidate, the D's will do their damndest to remind the electorate in and out of Mo of his existence & views, and to tie him to the GOP in general - and in Akin's case, given the blatant, undeniable idiocy of his remarks, the media might help for a change. By making this big noise now about getting him off the ticket, they can, they hope/calculate, distance themselves from him to some extent in the public mind come the fall, even if he stays on the ticket.

The sadly amusing part of all this is that Akin merely said out loud what the lumpenright GOP base, and not a few of their current big-name heroes, in fact believes. He's not at all outside the prevailing R mainstream; he's just an iota or two dumber, hence his lippiness.

Mark said...

Staying in is the only "upside" for Rep. Akin.

If he quits, then he quit on the folks who are his base.

If he stays in and loses, he's a martyr. I understand that one can make a good living as a conservative martyr.

And then, of course, if he wins - well, let's just enjoy the rest of the day and not talk about that right now.

Steve M. said...

I think he'll win. I also think Rove and the GOp will change their minds and fund that win.

Kathy said...

Steve.of course they will, and they probably won't be subtle about it.

BH said...

Yeah, unless Akin manages to commit enough of a blunder to shake up even the Branson electorate - i.e., caught with a live man/dead woman in flagrante delicto - I think he'll win too. And have plenty of dinero to do it with.