Rep. Todd Akin, the right-wing U.S. Senate candidate in Missouri, made matters worse for himself last week when he complained about Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D) capacity to be “ladylike.” It led the usually understated Chris Cillizza to marvel at Akin’s “devastatingly bad candidacy.”
It can, however, get worse.
In this undated clip, we see Akin fielding a question from a voter who asked about the congressman’s vote against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. “Why do you think it is okay for a woman to be paid less for doing the same work as a man?” the audience member asked.
Ordinarily, the standard line from far-right officials is that women aren’t paid less than men, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. Akin, however, seemed to suggest wage discrimination simply isn’t a problem for government to address.
“I believe in free enterprise,” Akin said. “I don’t think the government should be telling people what you pay and what you don’t pay. I think it’s about freedom. If someone wants to hire somebody and they agree on a salary, that’s fine, however it wants to work. So, the government sticking its nose into all kinds of things has gotten us into huge trouble.”
In other words, we don’t need anti-discrimination laws at all. As far as this U.S. Senate candidate is concerned, if a woman takes a job and gets paid less than men doing the same work, it’s her fault – laws just aren’t necessary.
Unless Missouri Republicans have a plan to disenfranchise women between now and Election Day, I suspect there will be quite a gender gap in this race.
Incidentally, an Akin campaign consultant last week also compared Akin to cult leader David Koresh. It was apparently intended to be complimentary.
Update: How tarnished is Akin’s reputation at this point? Democrats have begun using him against other Republicans as far away from Missouri as New York.