Phillip Klein: Why Todd Akin should step aside; Updated: Akin vows to stay in race; Upate II: Hannity interviews Akin, Audio added

Mary Beth and Steve have an excellent post on this and if you haven’t read it it yet, I urge you to do so. Phillip Klein makes some additional points today in a piece at the Washington Examiner. First Klein focuses on the sheer stupidity of Akin’s comments:

By now, anybody who follows politics enough to be reading this post has likely heard Missouri Republican U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin’s idiotic and offensive statement when asked about whether abortion should be allowed in the case of rape. In case you need a refresher, Akin said, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Michelle Malkin has a good post ripping into Akin, deservedly so. A lot of the focus has been on the phrase “legitimate rape.” Was he trying to differentiate between violent/forcible rape and statutory rape? Was he suggesting marital rape or date rape aren’t legitimately rape? Was he trying to suggest that a lot of rapes are faked? His attempt to make such distinctions, to this observer, is offensive, but at the very minimum it’s unclear.

The second part of the statement, “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down” is sheer idiocy with no basis in science.

Excellent points. I’m still trying to wrap my arms around his use of the term “legitimate rape”. What’s that mean? When is rape legitimate? As Mary Beth and Steve noted, there are growing calls from Republicans for Akin to step aside. Most of these calls have centered on electability issues: if Akin stays in the race, Claire McCaskill will pound Akin over his comments for the next 10 weeks, turning what was once a winnable election for the GOP into a referendum on when rape is or is not legitimate. Fantastic. This is how a golden opportunity to flip a Democrat Senate seat is lost. And let’s not forget that prior to the August 7 primary, polling data consistently indicated Akin was the weakest of the three potential candidates the Republicans could field against McCaskill. In addition to the electability issue, though, Klein also notes another big problem with Akin: what happens in the unlikely event he someone holds on to beat McCaskill:

Politically, a lot of the analysis as to whether Akin should drop out of the race has focused on whether he could still recover from this horrendous statement and win. A more important question is what kind of senator Republicans would be getting if he could hang on and they could gain a majority in the Senate. Anybody capable of making a statement as simultaneously offensive and moronic as Akin’s is likely to make more such statements. That means, even if Akin wins, he’s likely to embarrass his party for six years and undermine the pro-life cause.

Exactly.  Not only will the cause be undermined, but the Democrat Party will have been given more ammo in their ceaseless “the GOP hates women” campaign”. Indeed Akin’s comments have the potential to negatively impact other GOP races in this crucial election year. The Democrat Party is desperate to change the subject from their disastrous stewardship of the economy, and Akin’s continued presence in the race will doubtless be viewed by them as the gift that keeps on giving. The only recourse for Republicans is for Akin to drop out, and do so immediately. Klein adds his name to that chorus:

Missouri Republicans have other choices. Both Sarah Steelman and John Brunner led troubled Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill in polls taken during the GOP primary, and both were closer to the Tea Party than Akin (Steelman was endorsed by Sarah Palin). If Akin drops out of the race by tomorrow, the Missouri GOP could still pick another candidate. Akin has caused enough damage already. He should do the right thing and step aside and make room for somebody else while there’s still time.

Obviously Sarah Steelman is my choice, but even Brunner is preferable to Akin. Will he drop out? I hope so, but I think that’s a long shot at best. Most politicians are in the game for their own self-aggrandizement, and I’ve seen no indication that Akin is an exception. He’ll likely stay in ’till the bitter end, and help Democrats keep Dingy Harry in charge of the Senate calendar. I hope I’m wrong.

Update: Big surprise. Akin just told the Huckster (who, naturally, endorsed Akin) that he will remain in the race ’till the aforementioned bitter end. And bitter it will be. For all of us. Via the Washington Post:

Rep. Todd Akin said Monday that he will not give in to calls for him to end his Missouri Senate campaign after his controversial comments about “legitimate rape.”

“I’m not a quitter. My belief is we’re going to move this thing forward,” he said during an appearance Monday afternoon on Mike Huckabee’s radio show. “To quote my friend John Paul Jones, I’ve not yet begun to fight.”

Akin also said he still sees himself as the right candidate to take on Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), even as many Republicans have begun to doubt it. He apologized for his remarks but said it doesn’t mean he should end his campaign.

I hate when I’m right. Sometimes.

Update II: I just listened to Sean Hannity interview Todd Akin on his radio show. Akin reiterated his intention to remain in the race. Although Hannity didn’t explicitly tell Akin he should drop out, he strongly hinted that he should.  Hannity pointed out that Akin’s comments not only put the Missouri Senate race in play, but also threaten the top of the ticket in the key state.  And forget about repealing Obamacare. Akin’s justification for remaining in the race: he’ll vote the opposite of Claire McCaskill or something.  Well fine, but so would Sarah Steelman and John Brunner. The difference is that either of those two will be able to effectively make that case since, unlike Akin, neither will have to spend every minute of the remaining 78 days defending Akin’s idiotic comment. Hit the road, Todd.

Update III: Here’s audio of Hannity’s interview with Akin

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