After Rep. Todd Akin, the Republicans’ U.S. Senate candidate in Missouri, said women can magically “shut down” unwanted pregnancies that result from “legitimate” rapes, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said Todd “needs to get out of this race.”
That was a month ago. Yesterday, Blunt said something very different; “Congressman Akin and I don’t agree on everything, but he and I agree the Senate majority must change.” In other words, Akin may be delusional, but he has an “R” after his name, and that’s what really matters.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee issued a statement Wednesday clarifying its support for Rep. Todd Akin in the Missouri Senate race and suggesting it might spend money to help elect him, after saying a month ago that it would not do so.
“There is no question that for Missourians who believe we need to stop the reckless Washington spending, rein-in the role of government in people’s lives, and finally focus on growing jobs in this country, that Todd Akin is a far more preferable candidate than liberal Sen. Claire McCaskill,” NRSC executive director Rob Jesmer said. “As with every Republican Senate candidate, we hope Todd Akin wins in November, and we will continue to monitor this race closely in the days ahead.”
Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Republican establishment was 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. When the final withdrawal deadline came and went on Tuesday, Republicans were forced to accept the circumstances: they desperately want to win a Senate majority; their odds of doing so are dwindling; and Akin’s race is competitive.
Ergo, never mind all that stuff they said in August.
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, and considers student loans cancerous socialism.
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.