Let’s get past the first step and admit we have a problem. Just when you thought Vice President Biden couldn’t be outdone, Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin came in and upped the ante. With Akin refusing to get out of the race, it creates a considerable liability and distraction for all Republican candidates on the ballot this November. Immediately following his “legitimate rape” remark, many Republican congressional candidates were forced to issue statements distancing themselves from Akin’s comments and calling for him to withdraw from the race.
As a strong pro-life voter, I don’t think Akin is a terrible human being, I think he’s just completely clueless, inept, and unqualified to be a US Senator. In an extremely close election year, we can’t afford to make unforced errors. This Missouri Senate race wasn’t even supposed to be close. Senator McCaskill is a weak candidate who the DNC had thrown to the wolves. It was a simple, “Obama Sucks, I’m Conservative, Vote for Me” campaign where our candidate won by 8 or 10 percentage points. Now it will take a miracle for Akin to win. Even though he is still tied in the polls, he is going to lose a significant amount of funding and the Democrats are going to go all in.
Regardless of what happens in Missouri, our candidates running in less socially conservative areas of the country have a new problem to deal with that takes them off message from the economy and jobs. In New England, we have several close congressional races where Republican candidates don’t want to talk about social issues – because they lose. We win races by uniting voters on the issues of job creation and our economic vision for growth. In states such as Massachusetts and Rhode Island where the overwhelming majority of voters are liberal pro-choice Democrats, it is not helpful to have Akin making ridiculous comments.
For a quick case study, consider Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown. He is an outstanding Reaganesque candidate in a very close race with Elizabeth Warren who is the early architect of the “you didn’t build that” campaign with President Obama. Senator Brown now has to fight back against the ultra liberal pro-choice groups that will try to rally women against the “extremists” in the Republican Party. Having lived in New England my whole life I can tell you this rhetoric works rather well in turning voters against our party.
This is my biggest concern with Akin’s comments and the widespread consequences they can have in the Northeast and other less socially conservative congressional districts across America. Akin is being extremely selfish in putting his own personal campaign ahead of our potential majority in the US Senate.