As a conservative blogger focused on Arkansas politics, I doubt seriously that Missouri candidates or voters care much what may opinion is. Nevertheless, I feel like weighing in a little on the horrible comments Republican Missouri candidate Todd Akin made over the weekend.
My first reaction when I heard Democratic operatives pouncing on it was an urge to defend a fellow pro-lifer who is fighting in the arena.
Then, I saw the tape of the interview.
“From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it is a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down,” said Akin in the interview with local St. Louis TV station KPLR when asked about his opposition to abortion in the case of rape.
And then, I heard him try to salvage his campaign with half-heartened apologies on friendly-media programs.
Akin’s reaction was that of a typical political campaign trying to do damage control. He canceled his local media appearance and instead first appeared on Mike Huckabee’s radio show. Huckabee was one of the most high-profile endorsers of Akin’s primary campaign. I don’t know of a greater example of choosing a friendly media source to interview him.
On the show, Akin said that he “made that statement in error” and that “rape is never legitimate.” With some coaching from Huckabee in his questions, Akin said that he “was talking about forcible rape and I misspoke.”
But he vowed to stay in the race quoting Patrick Henry saying “I have not yet begun to fight.”
Those outraged by this are completely correct. As more people actually see the video, Republicans began to denounce the comments with some even calling for him to drop out.
The whole thing is deplorable — both the statement and reaction. Akin was likely on his way to defeating incumbent Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill a couple of days ago, but he now has little to no chance. The only thing for him to do is hold a press conference with local media where he apologizes, drops out, and takes every question the local press wants to throw at him.
I will also add that Republicans in Arkansas who are sitting pretty right now should take notes at how quickly a winning campaign can self-destruct.