Two weeks ago, if you’d asked me my prediction for the Missouri Senate race between Todd Akin and incumbent Claire McCaskill, I would’ve predicted an Akin victory by a landslide. But after Akin’s incredibly ignorant and cringe-worthy comments, the case regarding the statement, “legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” embarrasses me. I am disappointed in his decision to stay in the race, and not as hopeful for a Republican Senate victory in November (but I’m taking some degree of solace in the fact that I didn’t vote for Akin in the primary).
Akin’s interview on The Jaco Report last Sunday, when he made the controversial remarks, is one of those things that’s just painful to watch. But let’s move past the awkwardness and examine what he said. In Akin’s own words:
“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape is] really rare…If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let‘s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something — you know, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”
Regardless of your opinion of Akin, I think it’s clearly evident that this comment wasn’t intentionally offensive or inflammatory. It was miscommunicated and ignorant, and he lost a great deal of credibility as an elected official within twenty seconds. However, across the spectrum of politicians, this statement was mild compared to the intentionally inflammatory actions and words of his liberal counterparts. Akin didn’t say that the opposing candidate wants to put an entire demographic of people “back in chains” as our illustrious Vice President did. Nor was he involved in a sex scandal with a teenage boy, as Minnesota Democrat Kerry Gauthier was this past week. And he didn’t belittle a religious demographic of Americans by saying that they cling to guns or religion out of bitterness, as did our Commander in Chief. The dramatic impact Akin’s comment has made on the political scene is partly thanks to the mainstream media that used this to fuel the supposed “war on women” and the liberal double standard; conservatives are lambasted for mistakes, but when liberal counterparts are the guilty party, the media looks the other way. Akin’s comment was incredibly stupid and ignorant—I don’t even know where he came up with that whole “legitimate rape” line, but what he said wasn’t, in my opinion, intentionally vicious or offensive in nature.
That said, I forgive Akin for misspeaking. We all miscommunicate an idea once in awhile, or simply have moments in which we say things we never intended to say. However, that doesn’t change my strong belief that if he truly cared for the best interests of Missourians and the future of this country as a whole, he would drop out of the Senate race.
I didn’t vote for Todd Akin in the primary because he struck me as the “career politician” type. And now, with his decision to stay in the race, that reasoning is proving to be true. The Missouri Senate race is one of the most crucial in the country if conservatives are to take back a majority in the Senate. Akin needs to realize that, whether Americans on both sides of the political spectrum overreacted to his comment or not, his electability is in serious jeopardy, as is a Republican majority in the Senate. He needs to put this race and the cause before Todd Akin and drop out.
But, as was made apparent in a news conference last Friday, that’s not looking promising. If Akin insists on staying in the race, I have just a few words of advice I hope he takes to heart:
Stop apologizing and start campaigning. If you think you’re still the candidate Missourians want and need in the Senate, start acting like it and run on your impeccably strong conservative record. Acknowledge you misspoke, and then move on. You cannot run a campaign on apologies. Turn the narrative around and focus on running against McCaskill’s dismal record and agenda.
And I have a comparable plea for my fellow Missourians who plan to vote this November. Last weekend I was listening to Dana Loesch’s radio show and heard, with unbelieving ears, a conservative caller state that because of Akin’s comments, she plans to vote for Claire McCaskill in November.
Please, Missouri, no.
Claire McCaskill is not what Missouri needs; she’s your typical pro-choice, stimulus-package supporting progressive who has, time and again, proven that her words do not match up with her actions. In June, despite her website stating her efforts to fight against EPA regulations, McCaskill voted down a resolution to curb “the EPA’s new regulations aimed at cutting mercury and other toxic emissions from coal fired plants” (also known as the MACT rule). These regulations are predicted to cause mass closings of coal plants and the EPA predicts they will cost at least $10 billion. Missouri is a coal-powered state: 82 percent of our electric power generation comes from coal. It’s estimated the “cost of compliance” with these regulations could raise electricity bills by at least 23 percent. Plant closings will also cost our state thousands of jobs that Missourians desperately need. Further, McCaskill championed for Obamacare in Missouri. Even after a 2010 ballot measure in which 71% of Missourians voted to prohibit the federal government’s enforcement of the individual mandate, McCaskill says: “I understand that parts of it are not popular, but I don’t think most Missourians understand what’s all in it because it hasn’t gone into effect yet. I think if they give it a chance, they might be surprised how much they like it.” Apparently, McCaskill knows better than the Missourians she was elected to represent.
Todd Akin isn’t perfect, and I’d rather vote for a different conservative candidate in November. But Akin’s record speaks volumes about what fiscal and social conservative representation he could bring to the United States Senate. Though his comments on “legitimate rape” are annoying in their ignorance, he still has my vote in November. Missourians, if you aren’t thrilled about voting for Akin, vote against McCaskill; consider whether one misspoken remark is worth subjecting the state of Missouri to more faulty representation and job-killing policy from our current Democratic Senator.