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Rep. Todd Akin (R-2nd) could relax and have an easy life – when it comes to legislative policy, his ostensible job,  all he really has to do is continue to support the party line and mouth the supplied talking points. But Todd is not one to take the easy path – he wants to be deeply involved in the Really Big Issues.  That’s why he’s joined the charge to admonish the president for referring to the wrong national motto.  Apparently, while visiting Indonesia, Obama, in order to make a point about strength in diversity, identified the national motto as “E Pluribus Unum,” which means one from many – you can see the appeal. Akin’s preferred “In God We Trust” would, of course, have done nothing as a rhetorical trope to further that point.

In fact, “E pluribus Unum” was actually the original national motto that was established by the founders. “In God We Trust,” which is preferred by Akin and some of the other members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, kicked around for a while and only became the official national motto in the 1950s, as an offshoot of the hysterical response to “godless” communism that was prevalent at that time.  

“In God We Trust,” along with the “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, though, have been the lynch pins of Akin’s legislative career. He campaigned hard to have them reaffirmed a few years ago – and, in spite of their less venerable origin, he works hard to present them as if the founders, whom he often pretends to channel, found them engraved in stone out back in the revolutionary cabbage patch :

A bill to reaffirm “In God We Trust” as the national motto, and the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance was passed with a 99% vote in the House, and unanimously in the Senate. Rep. Todd Akin, (R-MO) voted for the measure. Apparently he is unaware that the “Under God” phrase is a relatively recent addition to the Pledge. He said: “I think the Congress was expressing the fact that they support the recitation of the pledge as it has always been supported.

Actually, concern with “In God We Trust” is just one more thing that Akin has in common with Sarah Palin. Last March Palin regaled an anti-abortion fundrasing dinner with her concerns that the godless socialists in Washington had moved the the phrase from the center of our coins to the edge. Fortunately, a Fox news anchor was able to reassure her that the change had been made under President Bush, and we have, consequently, heard no more of her angst about sidelining God on our coins. And you thought no one on Fox ever told the truth – too bad the same anchor can’t do a number on Akin and pals.