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It took Todd Akin’s infelicitous choice of words and his apalling biological ignorance to shine a great big flood-light on Republican anti-abortion zealotry. Yesterday, The Huffington Post pointed out that there are numerous congressional Republicans who share Akin’s anti-abortion fanaticism:

Each election cycle, the political action committee Republican National Coalition for Life submits questionnaires to GOP candidates about their positions on choice issues and then endorses candidates who advocate a strict no-abortion platform. Selected candidates must be “unconditionally pro-life” and “recognize the inherent right to life of every innocent human being, from conception until natural death, without discrimination.”

Prominent among the 40 congressional candidates that RNC For Life has endorsed this year is Missouri’s Vicky Hartzler (R-4). I suspect that there would be more names here, but the organization doesn’t necessarily endorse in every race – nor are their endorsements for 2012 necessarily yet complete.

In 2010 the Missourians earned the RNC For Life’s imprimatur were: Roy Blunt, Todd Akin, Ed Martin, Vicky Hartzler, Jacob Turk, and Blaine Luetkemeyer. Most of these folks are still around, some safely in office, some up for reelection, and others running yet again for office. Jacob Turk, after failing to take Emanuel Cleaver’s 5th district seat in 2010 is trying again. Mr. Ed Martin, the perennial candidate, is, of course, running for something or the other – I believe that he eventually chose to try for Attorney General, just the place to put a radical anti-abortion zealot.

FiredUp! Missouri also tells us that the usually fairly circumspect (or at least quiet) Sam Graves has indicated his support for Brother Todd:

“It comes down to a decision between a rubber stamp for Obama and an independent thinker,” Graves said. “If he stays in the race, I’ll vote for him.”

Independent thinker, indeed! I guess you could think of many of the characters in Jackass films as “independent” thinkers – but would you really vote for any of them to represent you in Congress? Especially in preference to a solid, centrist Democrat who actually voted against Administration policies as often as she voted for them? (Not that that trait has endeared her to folks like me – but I’m tired of hearing idiots try to claim that poor, moderate-to-a-fault Claire McCaskill is some type of screaming liberal. We disowned her years ago. Her opponents ought to at least try to be honest.)

What this list of fellow travelers suggests is that Todd Akin’s beliefs aren’t really the issue. The real problem is that he has embarrassed the GOP establishment by putting the crazy on display at an inopportune time – and then he defied their efforts to sweep him under the rug. After all, any state where folks routinely vote radical GOP extremists into more than half of their elective offices probably isn’t going to be too finicky about one more whackaloon.