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Over the past few years I’ve written many posts here at SMP about Rep. Todd Akin, detailing his bizarre pronoucements and what I often assumed was his typical GOP mendacity. Akin’s behavior during his current campaign for the Senate, however, has convinced me that he actually believes his own BS, or, in the few cases when he doesn’t, he thinks he’s serving a higher purpose. He’s really just that dumb – but, by the same measure, Akin is clearly a more principled man than his party’s much more intelligent presidential candidate. For the most part what you see with Akin is what you get. Last night’s presidential debate, however, showed us that Mitt Romney’s campaign is an empty facade, and that, with Romney, there’s no way to know what you’re getting.

Most viewers concede that Romney “won” the evening. Today, though, some are realizing that he did so by using a rhetorical strategy that is the equivalent of cable-news shouting matches. There was no thoughtful way to counter Romney’s incessant, high-speed spewing. A blogger at DailyKos identified the strategy as something he called a Gish Gallop:

Named for the debate tactic created by creationist shill Duane Gish, a Gish Gallop involves spewing so much bullshit in such a short span on that your opponent can’t address let alone counter all of it. To make matters worse a Gish Gallop will often have one or more ‘talking points’ that has a tiny core of truth to it, making the person rebutting it spend even more time debunking it in order to explain that, yes, it’s not totally false but the Galloper is distorting/misusing/misstating the actual situation. …

In a time-limited performance like last-night’s, there’s almost no way to respond to such a strategy, to both debunk and present one’s own message, although the President managed to stay calm, focused, polite and made several key points very effectively. And, thinking strategically, his campaign has decided to continue the debate, using Romney’s misstatements, lies, evasions and double-talking to fuel the ongoing dialogue.

Obama shows how it’s done at a campaign rally today (at about 2:05 min. in):

And here’s the way it’s going down in ads:

The Obama camp’s take on Romney’s debate performance gets at an essential issue: trustworthiness. Meanwhile, here in Missouri, Todd Akin, dim-witted and mean-minded though he may be, can be trusted to do just what he says he’ll do – and we voters are forewarned that he means business. Mitt Romney? No way – although given the folks who’re forking out the greenbacks to support him, we may have our suspicions. Ironic, isn’t it, that Romney still finds it inexpedient to endorse Brother Todd?  Of the two, Akin is clearly the better man.