Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My Take on Todd Akin: If a Guy's Gonna Get Beat, At Least Let Him Get Beat for the Right Reason

My take on the Todd Akin flap in Missouri is this:  I'm a libertarian, and he's not, so why should I care?  Well I do care.  That's all.  I just do.  The guy misspoke in an interview.  He said two dumb things.  1)  He used the phrase "legitimate rape" and 2) He said something stupid and unscientific about a woman's body rejecting a pregnancy if the sex is not consensual.  He's promptly acknowledged both were wrong, and he has asked the public's forgiveness.  1)  No fair minded, sensible person thinks Akin believes there is such a thing as "legitimate rape"  Just a poor choice of words.  Anybody demagoguing that point is insincere.  Put away the silly "war on women" meme.  2) I'm a health care provider.  Dentist, not physician, but whatever.  You'd be amazed at what otherwise well informed and educated people don't understand about anatomy and physiology.  I hear crazy stuff all the time from my patients.  So the guy doesn't know reproductive science.  Disqualifier for public office?  I don't think so.

The guy's a major religious conservative.  Like it or don't like it, his stance on abortion is principled.  He's asking what about the rights of the fetus.  I know a lot of libertarians who wrestle over abortion because they weigh the rights of the mother over the rights of the fetus and who's doing violence to whom.

But now it gets interesting.  All the big wigs in the Republican party are distancing themselves from this guy.  Romney/Ryan are badmouthing the guy.  Mitch McConnell is badmouthing the guy.  Five current and former Missouri senators are badmouthing the guy.  Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS group is badmouthing the guy and pulling major funding.  John Cornyn, leader of the National Republican Senatorial Committee is pulling $5 million in campaign financing over the remark.  All the "responsible" Republicans are disowning the poor guy.  Why?  Because he's a Tea Party guy,  that's why.  They never liked him in the first place.  Too extreme to beat McCaskill they'll say.  Hell, they might even be right about that.  Think Sharon Angle in Nevada.  But here's the real story.  What they really don't like about him is they know that Tea Party guys don't do what they're told.  They don't "play the game".  At least not until their second term if they get one.  The establishment GOP likes "moderates" because they do what's expected of them once they get elected. They obey the leadership like good Republicans.

Missouri will do what Missouri is gonna do.  I'd love to see Claire McCaskill "retire" from the Senate.  I don't know if Todd Akin can pull that off, especially after this unfortunate unforced error.  But this is a tempest in a teapot.  Akin is no libertarian.  Of that I'm pretty sure.  In fact, the Libertarians actually have a candidate in the race. Jonathan Dine.   So I shouldn't really care.  But I do.  When the media machinery gets ginned up and starts in on the character assassination, I get pissed off.  When every establishment voice in the venerable GOP starts to weigh in against the guy, I really start to smell a rat.  Even if the guy's not my kind of candidate I feel a kinship with him.  And hey GOP.  How stupid are you?  If he refuses to quit the race, you just transformed a race you might lose because you have too extreme a candidate into one you're sure to lose because his own party threw him under the bus.  If somebody's gonna get beat, let 'em get beat for the right reason.