Charles Krauthammer said, “He’s gotta’ leave; he’s toxic.” The conservative columnist also said Akin’s remarks were “unbelievably stupid.”
Fred Barnes (The Weekly Standard) chimed in: “Doomed.”
The L.A. Times covered Akin’s remarks more fully than most other publications. Here’s the part that ignited the firestorm:
"If abortion could be considered in case of, say, a tubal pregnancy [which threatens the mother’s life], what about in the case of rape?" asked KTVI host Charles Jaco, in a clip that was disseminated by Talking Points Memo. "Should it be legal or not?"
"It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare,” Akin said, referring to conception following a rape. "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, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child."
As soon as Akin used the term “legitimate rape,” he should’ve corrected. There is no such action as “legitimate rape” in the real world. By the time he got to the statement about how the “female body has ways to shut that whole thing down,” he had drowned himself politically. There is no other way to describe his statement other than to call it bizarre.
I don’t believe this was “misspeak.”
The statement was, as Krauthammer said, “unbelievably stupid.”
Furthermore, the longer Akin stays in the U.S. Senate race, the more ripples flow from his medieval reasoning. Akin’s words will be used against every Republican candidate in the field and for that we cannot blame Democrats one bit.
Had a Democrat made that statement, we would be searing the blogosphere.
Too much is at stake, too much to permit a single candidate to impact the critical General Election of 2012.
Predictably, Akin’s Democrat opponent, incumbent U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, isn’t urging him to drop out. Commenting on his decision to remain in the race, McCaskill went populist, saying:
“I really think that for the national party to try to come in here and dictate to the Republican primary voters that they’re going to invalidate their decision, that would be pretty radical. I think there could be a backlash for the Republicans if they did that.” [Washington Examiner]
McCaskill has been behind in the polls; if the race continues as is, she will gain. Akin insulted every female in the world, and that is a hard thing to do. McCaskill recognizes opportunity, as her supporters did even before Akin fell flat on his face.
Two viable candidates are in the wings—John Brunner who got 30 percent of the vote and Sarah Steelman who got 29.2 percent.
The top three GOP candidates brought out 574,370 votes while McCaskill drew 289,237. Theoretically, the race is the GOP’s to lose.
There is still time to mount an effective campaign against McCaskill, and this is a valuable seat. Other seats, such as the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrats like Bill Nelson (Fla.) will be a far greater challenge.
Some conservatives put forth a semi-defense of Akin by analyzing his comments from a prochoice stance. Choice on abortion has nothing to do with Akin’s uninformed remarks about rape and the biology of a woman’s body.
The GOP should make every effort to see that Akin withdraws from this race—the sooner, the better.
Akin released a video apology; he asked for forgiveness. Voters may well forgive him, but none will forget what he said. This candidate has lost all party support and PACs are fleeing as well.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/August 21, 2012)