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Akin Digs In, Refuses to Quit

Despite the pleadings of the Republican party leadership, many prominent conservatives and even some of the leading anti-abortion activists, Todd Akin has refused to pull out of the race in time to let the GOP to easily name a replacement.

He had until 6 pm Tuesday to withdraw from the race and let the party name a replacement without a very cumbersome process. If he were to pull out now, he’d have to petition a court to let him do so — and his name would appear on the ballot regardless, potentially splitting the Republican vote and making it far less likely that they could unseat Sen. Claire McCaskill in November. But here’s the real question: Will he get the money necessary to mount a serious campaign? The biggest third-party sources of ad spending pulled their support of him in the wake of his comments about rape and pregnancy:

But the biggest blow to Akin’s floundering campaign came when the Republican Party and a big-spending super PAC threatened to pull away their cash.

Amid the firestorm Monday over Akin’s comments that victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant, a GOP official said the National Republican Senatorial Committee would scrap the $5 million it planned to spend on the race unless Akin quit. And the Karl Rove-backed conservative spending juggernaut Crossroads GPS announced it was pulling ads slated to start Wednesday in Missouri.

For Akin, who eked out a come-from-behind victory in the hotly contested GOP primary and hasn’t been a fundraising star, a win over incumbent Claire McCaskill will be tough, if not impossible, without the help of heavily funded party committees and conservative groups.

But I’ll make a prediction: If he stays in, that money will come back. The party and Rove don’t really give a damn how vile Akin is on this or any other issue, they care only about winning the election. And they’ll put all that money back in, and then some, if they can’t talk him into withdrawing from the race.

Comments

  1. Artor says

    So, since Akin refused to pull out when the GOP asked him to, does this count as “legitimate” rape? I hope the GOP carries this baby to term and receives all the blessings they deserve.

  2. azportsider says

    Besides, the GOPers and their benefactors largely agree with this obnoxious twit (cf. the GOPer platform). They only don’t like that he stated it so baldly and publicly.

  3. jeremydiamond says

    But I’ll make a prediction: If he stays in, that money will come back. The party and Rove don’t really give a damn how vile Akin is on this or any other issue, they care only about winning the election. And they’ll put all that money back in, and then some, if they can’t talk him into withdrawing from the race.

    I’ve read this theory elsewhere and I don’t buy it at all. If they return with support after all this, they will be handing the Democrats a huge weapon. They’re trying to distance themselves from Akin to minimize the damage in other races. If they got back in, they are basically admitting that the GOP’s national position is in line with what he said and that it’s all about politics, not principal (which is true, but they’re still pretending it isn’t). It will be like tying an anvil to everyone who has an R next to them on the ballot.

  4. TGAP Dad says

    Interesting title, considering the old saying “if you’re already in a hole, stop digging.”

    The more interesting point for me is that his poll numbers haven’t budged. Apparently the troglodytes in Missouri, including some of my own relatives, are perfectly OK with this caveman.

  5. TxSkeptic says

    From the GOP leaders perspective, it’s not that Akin said anything wrong or against party dogma, it’s just that he said it in mixed company, as in not a crowd of just rethuglicans.

    It’s hilarious that what he thinks was his big mis-speek, was saying “legitimate rape” instead of “forcible rape”.

    Anyway, his staying in is a win for the Dems!

  6. thalwen says

    @2 – brilliant!

    I’m sure the money will come back, they want the Senate more than they care about yet another loon in the party. Like azportsider said, it’s not that they disagree with his position – that some or all rapes aren’t “legitimate” and that whatever, sluts need to be punished with babies.

  7. Michael Heath says

    Last evening on AC360 Anderson Cooper did one of the finest jobs of journalism on this story I’ve ever encountered by a daily TV news moderator when it comes to this type of story – a breaking story with little time to do an in-depth report. I hope his reporting from last evening is used as a case study for TV News moderators on how to commit journalism*. Mr. Cooper informed his audience within the context of what’s important and how this story is also being falsely spun.

    Mr. Cooper committed journalism* by reporting the source of the false meme Adkins repeated (raped women disproportionately don’t get pregnant). Cooper then demonstrated this false meme was created and originally distributed by a mainstream leader of the anti-abortion rights movement; that this leader was a mere general practioner falsely posing as a scientist which was revealed by an actual scientific expert who was a guest on the show. Mr. Cooper’s expert also reported that Mr. Willke’s claims, which Cooper presented on the show, are all absurdly false.

    Cooper also had two guests who provided a political perspective. The Republican partisan lied about a Guttmacher study she was using as a red herring (Sex Selection on the rise in America!!!). Cooper was skeptical because he was prepared for this red herring. After the show returned after a commercial break, Cooper reported exactly what I found when this lady lied, which was there was no compelling evidence of sex selection abortions where Cooper cited the Guttmacher Institute. [The report's findings however is disingenuous because it didn't note a change in the U.S. population when the claim being asserted is instead for a subset of the U.S. population, which is some Asian-American enclaves.]

    I think one has to watch three segments to capture all that I report here; all of those segments are currently linked at the show’s front homepage: http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/ . I don’t link to here since three links would have my post held-up in moderation.

    *I realize this term is a cliche, I only wish it was one that everyone used to death to the point it was no longer needed to distinguish one news article/broadcast from another, because all journalists were actually producing only competent content.

  8. Ben P says

    The CNN article on this has another point which I found interesting.

    Akin operates in “an insular environment,” with his wife and son serving as his top advisers, a senior Republican source told CNN. Republican leaders have concluded that Akin “lives in a parallel universe,” the source added.

    I’ve not seriously worked for a political campaign but I’ve been on the fringes of a few. I’ve done enough to know that a senate campaign is usually a big deal. To be in the senate in a competitive district you have to expect to raise a couple million dollars and have party support. You won’t have a large staff but at a minimum you’ll have a couple paid political professionals, probably a polling/research person, a communications person, an operations person/campaign manager etc.

    It’s not the kind of thing you usually even have a hope of winning on a wing and a prayer with your wife and son as your campaign managers.

  9. Michael Heath says

    Otocump writes:

    Via Twitter “Todd Akin ‏@ToddAkin
    I apologized but the liberal media is trying to make me drop out. Please stand w/ me tonight by signing my petition at http://www.akin.org/still-standing”

    Bowahahahahahahahahahah…

    Re my last post about the excellent job Anderson Cooper did reporting this story:
    Cooper reported on this tweet and then reported how this wasn’t true, it was the Republican establishment, both inside party leaders and influence peddlers with a national forum, that were pressuring Mr. Adkin to resign. That liberals were loving Adkins squirming and hoped he’d stay-in the race; this per Paul Begala, a the Democratic partisan who was on this segment of the show.

  10. Cunning Pam says

    His Twitter feed is a riot. He keeps banging on about how the “liberal elite” is still attacking him, even after he’s apologized…when it’s his own party that wants him to drop out of the race. That parallel universe theory is sounding pretty plausible at this point.

  11. loren says

    Meanwhile, Akin’s Democratic opponent Claire McCaskill is encouraging him to stay in the race.

    Which makes sense, as McCaskill spent over a million dollars trying to help Akin WIN his primary, running not-very-negative ads before the Republican primary like this one:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ec4t_3vaBMc

    It’s a relatively cheery little ad, talking about Akin’s “pro-family agenda” and calling him “Missouri’s true conservative.” And it was paid for by McCaskill.

  12. harold says

    But I’ll make a prediction: If he stays in, that money will come back.

    Strong agreement.

    The party and Rove don’t really give a damn how vile Akin is on this or any other issue, they care only about winning the election.

    You’re overestimating them – an easy thing to do.

    They support him because he’s vile.

    His comment sounds blunt, but it’s still actually code. The real meaning of his comment is…

    “No woman can have an abortion, unless she is rich enough to fly to another country to get one, and many women lie about being raped”.

    From the Rove/Limbaugh/Fox/Tea party point of view, he is guilty only of saying the right thing the wrong way.

    The true meaning of his comment is quite popular with Republicans. He is getting plenty of support. There is some evidence that he still has a very good chance of winning the general election.

    This is how it works. It’s not that 40-50% of Americans were born thinking that raped women should be called liars and forced to bring pregnancy to term, that a high proportion of children should be malnourished, that people with treatable diseases should die if they can’t pay the full cost of treatment, that the very wealthy should pay almost nothing in taxes, and so on. A fair number held these cultural values twenty years ago, but not 40% plus.

    People see the Republican party as a respectable institution of authority, “on their side” against “the other” (blacks, gays, independent women, etc). Therefore, the Republican party is able to tell many people what is reasonable, not the other way around. And the party is driven by the “purest”, i.e. most extreme and cynical, ideologues.

    Not everybody can think independently. Many look to the institutions they trust to tell them what to think. One such institution is the Republican party.

    This is why it is so dangerous.

    It may actually hurt him less to have made this statement in 2012, that it would have in 1912. A substantial proportion of Americans are totally committed to the bizarre, reality-denying, harsh, dystopian ideology peddled by the Republicans, in many cases because it is peddled by the Republicans. If the Republicans say it, it must be what the other “real Americans” are saying, so it must be reasonable.

  13. wscott says

    But I’ll make a prediction: If he stays in, that money will come back. The party and Rove don’t really give a damn how vile Akin is on this or any other issue, they care only about winning the election.

    Well, the 2nd sentence is certainly true. But it probably depends more on what the post-gaffe polls look like. If his numbers take a dive, they’ll go pour that money into some other race that’s still competitive. If it looks like this hasn’t significantly hurt him with Missouri voters, the money may come back – carefully laundered through a Super PAC so the party can pretend to be keeping their distance. But in reality, the election is only 78 days away. If the money goes away for even a month, it could be too late to make a difference.

    He keeps banging on about how the “liberal elite” is still attacking him, even after he’s apologized…when it’s his own party that wants him to drop out of the race.

    The liberal elite is so powerful, they even control the GOP!

  14. says

    They’re trying to push him out for a stance (“legitimate” v “illegitimate” rape) that’s less wingnutty than their stance is going to be (witness: draft GOP’s platform, with push for Constitutional Personhood Amendment*). He’s redefining rape, saying “Yes, there’s legitimate rape, which doesn’t need abortion because the Fetal Carrier won’t get pregnant”, which is wrong. They were already there (with the Protect Life Act, which in draft form also redefined rape), and now they’re saying “We don’t care. No abortion.”, which is also wrong, but in a different, worse, way).
    But there’s no War on Women. I’m waiting for them to reframe it as a blastocyst’s “Religious Liberty” issue.

    * h/t Digby’s blog

  15. Reginald Selkirk says

    I am disappointed that some in the media are facilitating Akin’s attempt to portray his batshit insane comments are merely an unfortunate word choice. Here’s Hendrik Hertzberg at the New Yorker:

    Todd Akin’s Bad Word
    “Legitimate rape.” Wow. That’s got to be the worst Republican coinage since “severely conservative.

    But this is one of those rare instances in which the mistake that pushes a politician’s trouble over the line from routine flap to possibly fatal fiasco is, indeed, “a poor choice of words”—one word in particular…

  16. jimmiraybob says

    The Alaskan wilderness Snow Grifter backed Sarah Steelman* in the R primary and, since the Akin disaster, has made noise encouraging Steeman to mount an independent run. Fingers crossed. I also encourage a Steelman write-in campaign.

    Akin seems to think that he accidentally used the wrong word and doesn’t realize that he accidentally spilled the beans on his abhorrent ignorance and abominable position on women and their health issues. McCaskill is nobody’s dream of an uber-progressive liberal but, when compared to the leading contenders from the other party, she appears quite sane.

    Earlier, during the primaries, he said “at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God.” Oddly enough this created ill will among liberals, secular and religious, including moderate to liberal clergy.

    Akin’s a walking talking disaster except to the religious right.

    *possibly as wingnutty as Akin but a smother politician.

  17. jimmiraybob says

    wscott @ 18

    The liberal elite is so powerful, they even control the GOP!

    I believe that is the Tea Party* line.

    *Or, as “some people” say, the TeaVangelicalBircherNeoconfederateSecessionistNewRevolutionary Party.

  18. jimmiraybob says

    And when I said, “women and their health issues,” I should clarify that “their” health issues are family health issues and, therefore, a men’s issue too.

  19. d cwilson says

    jeremydiamond says:

    I’ve read this theory elsewhere and I don’t buy it at all. If they return with support after all this, they will be handing the Democrats a huge weapon. They’re trying to distance themselves from Akin to minimize the damage in other races. If they got back in, they are basically admitting that the GOP’s national position is in line with what he said and that it’s all about politics, not principal (which is true, but they’re still pretending it isn’t). It will be like tying an anvil to everyone who has an R next to them on the ballot.

    You’re forgetting about Rove’s ace-in-the-hole: Citizens United. Thanks to that ruling, all they have to do is create a new superpac to funnel the money back into ads supporting Akin. File a couple of papers, and viola! Piles and piles of untraceable and completely anonymous cash is once again available to help his campaign out.

    That’s the beauty of our new system of elections for the highest bidder. They can still support Akin without leaving any fingerprints behind.

  20. kermit. says

    jimmyraybob: Akin seems to think that he accidentally used the wrong word and doesn’t realize that he accidentally spilled the beans on his abhorrent ignorance and abominable position on women and their health issues.

    This. The Tea Baggers, the Religious Right, and the sociopathic politicians in the GOP really don’t get it. If they follow any moral code at all, it’s the list of required and forbidden behaviors from their imaginary god. Consent and compassion are irrelevant to issues of right and wrong. Fundamentalist Christianity is not based on the teachings of Jesus (“Suffer the little children…”) but rather the misogyny and homophobia and general intolerance of Paul.

    If they are sociopaths, they have spent most of their adult life trying to anticipate how emotionally normal people will react to this behavior or that one, and often misunderstand after the fact. They’re like that guy we’ve all met at a party who says “Hey, are you Jewish? No? Well, there was this Jew, see, who…” and then is baffled why you still get offended at his racist joke.

    No, Aiken still has no clue about what was offensive in what he said – because nobody he listens to can explain it to him.

  21. jimmiraybob says

    Kermit,

    Charles R. Pearce wrote a post the other day (Here) that discussed how we have become two countries of the mind, which deals with the parallel movement-conservative mindset that divides the nation into Us vs. Them.

    In the 1850′s, two countries of the mind existed long before the United States actually was divided into two separate nations. They had no common history, not even a common language with which to discuss the differences between them. Resolution was impossible in a country in which even the word “freedom” didn’t mean the same thing. Each had their own history, and laws, and language, and religion, and even a rudimentary mass media through which to amplify all of these. Those circumstances exist again today, far deeper divisions than simple “polarization” or even “tribalism.” There are two countries of the mind. One of them, the conservative one, is the far better organized whole. It is round. It is complete. It has a wild frontier, which is also more round and whole and organized. The cops in Louisiana wandered into that frontier and didn’t come back.

    and

    There is already a civil war raging between us in the way we think about our country and ourselves. It is time to find a peaceful spot by the river and sue for decent terms.

    I don’t agree that we should sue for decent terms. No sense ceding the fight by surrendering to the insane.

  22. harold says

    Kermit said –

    If they follow any moral code at all, it’s the list of required and forbidden behaviors from their imaginary god.

    I envy the beings on your planet, Kermit. Your bizarro world right wingers are much nicer than the ones we have here.

    Here on Earth, their imaginary god is associated with some very unequivocal commandments. Which they violate day and night. Their obsessing over some ambivalent minor passage that may or may not say that male homosexuality is every bit as bad as eating cheeseburgers does not change the fact that they violate all the major stuff. This statement is not intended to endorse religious beliefs, it is merely a statement of fact.

    Naturally I vehemently oppose unconstitutional displays of the Ten Commandments in courtrooms and so on, but I’ve often noted that if the Ten Commandments were the law of the land, at least the silver lining would be that all the Republicans would be in prison.

  23. says

    Harold “Naturally I vehemently oppose unconstitutional displays of the Ten Commandments in courtrooms and so on, but I’ve often noted that if the Ten Commandments were the law of the land, at least the silver lining would be that all the Republicans would be in prison.”
    Oh, come on! Everybody knows that, with proper Biblical hermeneutics, the inconvenient or unjust rules of the bible only apply to other people. That’s why they’re all about The Gays, headstrong broads, swarthy-skinned foreigners, and poor people.

  24. lpetrich says

    jimmiraybob, it’s not just two nations that can’t see eye to eye, it’s more like 11: American Nations: The Official Homepage at colinwoodard.com.

    Much of US politics has been dominated between conflicts between two of the nations: Yankeedom and the Deep South, with whatever allies they’ve been able to make.

    Shortly before the US Civil War, several states wanted to avoid the conflict between Yankeedom and the Deep South by forming a “Central Confederacy”, with parts of the Midlands, New Netherland, Greater Appalachia, and Tidewater.

    But after Deep Southerners attacked Ft. Sumter, that was the end of such plans, and Yankeedom was joined by New Netherland, the Midlands, and parts of Greater Appalachia, like those who split West Virginia off from the Virginia Tidewaterites. They fought the Deep South, Tidewater, and some of Greater Appalachia.

    After the war, however, Appalachians resented Yankeedom meddling, and they joined Tidewater and the Deep South.

    The present alignment:
    - The Northern Alliance: Yankeedom, New Netherland, The Left Coast.
    - The Dixie Bloc: Greater Appalachia, Tidewater, The Deep South, The Far West.
    - In between: The Midlands

    A lot of the Presidential-election swing states have lots of Midlanders in them, so the Midlands are a swing bloc.

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