It’s time to go all-in for Akin
Representative Todd Akin, the Republican Senate candidate in Missouri, made a single foolish remark for which he has apologized profusely.
His opponent, Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill, has spent her entire political career making foolish votes and establishing a record about which she is unapologetic.
That should have been reason enough for Republicans to line up behind Akin in a close race that will help decide whether Republicans retake control of the U.S. Senate next year. Sadly, it was not.
Akin’s misguided comment about “legitimate rape” prompted what The Washington Post aptly described as a “stampede” of Republicans denouncing the remarks and distancing themselves from Akin.
Much pressure was placed on Akin to leave the race and never be heard from again. But the deadline for Akin to exit the race passed last week. His name will be on the ballot on Election Day as the Republican nominee. It’s time for the entire Republican Party to support his bid.
Akin is a Reagan Republican, a conservative on foreign policy, economic policy and social issues. He also personifies Missouri’s common sense conservative values and represents real change from the failed Obama/McCaskill agenda.
To take just two examples, 71% of Missouri voters rejected Obamacare’s individual mandate. McCaskill voted for it. Seventy-one percent of Missouri voters supported a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage. McCaskill opposed it.
Akin is an Army veteran. And three of his sons attended the Naval Academy and became officers in the Marines. One served during the brutal fighting in Fallujah, Iraq.
Akin has served Missouri’s 2nd congressional district for nearly 12 years. The closest margin of his six House election victories was 13 percentage points. In 2010, he cruised to a 39-point win.
Akin still has the support of plenty of Missouri women. A recent event organized by Women Standing with Todd Akin drew more than 300 people, mostly women.
The Democrats have exploited Akin’s comments, highlighting them as more proof of a Republican “war on women,” the campaign theme that the Democratic Party made a centerpiece of its national convention last month.
But the real war on women is being waged in the Democratic Party, whose members prevented passage of a law to outlaw abortions that target unborn girls.
Akin has a real chance of winning. Some polls show McCastkill up by single digits. Others have the race as a virtual dead heat. This despite little support from the GOP establishment and despite the influx of money McCaskill has received.
The media and some in the GOP establishment are suggesting that Akin’s mistake was to talk about the sanctity of life. That’s wrong. In fact, too many in the party establishment are making an even greater mistake by saying too little about values issues in this campaign.
Todd Akin’s mistake was that he addressed one of the most difficult questions related to the sanctity of life in an inartful way that was insensitive to victims of rape. But Akin’s mistake was compounded when the party establishment came down on him with more passion and disgust than they have ever come down on Barack Obama or Claire McCaskill.
If Akin loses in November, some in the Republican Party will take it as proof that the party should steer clear of social issues—that values issues have caused the party to lose yet another election.
But since the Reagan revolution, social issues, when discussed in a factual and empathetic way, have almost always been a net benefit to Republican candidates. It’s no coincidence that the Republicans who advise abandoning social issues are almost always those who do not support the conservative position on those issues.
I’m glad to stand among a group of conservative leaders who are lining up behind Akin’s candidacy. Mike Huckabee, Texas Governor Rick Perry, Rick Santorum (who won Missouri’s Republican presidential primary), Senator Jim DeMint, Newt Gingrich and Phyllis Schlafly have all announced their support. My political action committee, Campaign for Working Families, has just announced a six figure investment starting this week.
After Akin’s remark, the National Republican Senatorial Committee said it would cut off funding to his campaign. But it recently partially reversed course, announcing that it will now support Akin’s candidacy.
But so far it has no plans to support Akin financially. “We have no plans to do so,” John Cornyn, chairman of the NRSC, said last week when he was asked by The Courier-Journal whether he’d be putting money into the Akin-McCaskill race. “I just think that this is not a winnable race.”
But it clearly is a winnable race. Social conservatives are making the election of Todd Akin to the Senate a top priority. It’s time for the Republican Party to do the same.