Akin gets by with a little help from his friends in DC

Akin gets by with a little help from his friends in DC
Akin gets by with a little help from his friends in DC
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After his “forcible rape” remarks turned Missouri’s Senate race upside down, Republican Todd Akin quickly lost the support of his party establishment. Perhaps most notably, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, hoping to persuade Akin to quit, cut him off and vowed to not spend a penny on his behalf.

In September, Rachel noted on the show that the NRSC started singing a different tune, at least rhetorically, by saying it wants Akin to win, but there’s reason to believe the Republican campaign committee is going further, abandoning its earlier promises altogether.

Rep. Todd Akin and the Missouri Republican Party are launching a nearly $700,000 TV ad blitz in the closing days of his challenge to Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, but the source of the funds for the effort is unclear.

These are the first ads run by the Missouri GOP in conjunction with Akin’s campaign. Of the total, $386,000 will come from the Missouri GOP to pay for the ad run, with the remaining supplied by Akin’s committee.

Is there clear proof that the National Republican Senatorial Committee gave the Missouri GOP the money for this? No, but the circumstantial evidence is pretty compelling. For one thing, the Missouri Republican party, as of a couple of weeks ago, only had $375,000 in the bank, so it couldn’t afford this kind of ad buy, even if it wanted to.

For another, when asked if the National Republican Senatorial Committee had anything to do with this, NRSC officials refused to talk about it. They weren’t nearly so reluctant to speak freely in August when the party vowed not to support Akin’s candidacy.

Maybe some far-right zillionaire intervened? Nope: “[O]nly national committees – the NRSC or the Republican National Committee – or individual campaign committees that raise money in compliance with federal limits are permitted to shift funds to a state party for a coordinated ad buy.”

Given what we know, this looks like a dramatic reversal. Republican leaders, most notably NRSC Chairman John Cornyn, swore up and down that they were “done” with Akin and he wouldn’t see a dime from D.C. But when given a choice between their promises and their fleeting hopes of a Senate majority, it certainly looks like Cornyn & Co. abandoned the former and prioritized the latter.

To reiterate a point from September, the Republican establishment was almost certainly bluffing. GOP leaders wanted Akin to quit, so they said they’d withhold any and all financial support for his campaign, but they simply didn’t mean it.

Tactics aside, this once again puts the Republican Party on record in support of a Senate candidate who, among other things, opposes Medicare and Social Security, wants to abolish the minimum wage, considers student loans cancerous socialism, has a troubling criminal record, and seems to be waging a one-man war on women.

It was easier for the GOP to distance itself from such extremism when it was disavowing Akin. But if he’s back in his party’s good graces, it’s probably time to renew questions about Republican support for his radical vision.