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For a long time whenever Rep. Todd Akin (R-2) was mentioned it was almost obligatory to (wink, nudge) note that he is truly way out there on the rightmost feather of the far-right wing. Now, however, as last night’s GOP primary debates have demonstrated, he has lots of company on the far side. According to reports, the GOP field outdid themselves vying to see who could outdo the others’ radical pronouncements. The upshot is that as the Grand Old Party has morphed into the Mad Hatters Tea Party, Akin, once a somewhat ridiculous peripheral figure, is now right smack dab in the middle of an equally ridiculous GOP mainstream.

Social Security? Akin’s agin’ it. Thinks it’s unconstitutional. Current GOP frontrunner, Rick Perry, thinks Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and unconstitutional to boot. Mitt Romney claims he wants to protect Social Security, but his plans involve privatizing it – a position Akin has supported in the past.

Medicare? Akin’s agin’ it. Thinks it’s unconstitutional. So does Rick Perry. Michele Bachman openly advocated doing away with Medicare before she decided it was wiser, politically, to hold her tongue on the topic.

Climate change? Akin thinks global warming is “highly suspect.” Rick Perry says the “science isn’t settled,” and compares climate change deniers to, believe it or not, Galileo.

Akin wants to abolish the  Department of Education and the EPA. So does Michelle Bachman; she thinks the Department of Education is unconstitutional and calls for eliminating the “job-killing” EPA. Ditto Rick Perry. Ditto Ron Paul.

Akin really dislikes Obama and the “God-hating” liberals who elected him. Why? Because they’re all socialists. After lamenting the descent of the U.S. into socialism under Obama, Akin recently asked some Tea Partiers in Branson if their ministers had ever told them that “socialism is institutionalized theft” (about 58 minutes into this video). Last night, Michele Bachmann called our tepid, centrist health care reform “socialized medicine,” while Newt Gingrich joined Akin in decrying Obama’s commitment to “bureaucratic socialism.”

There are numerous other similarities, but these examples should be adequate to convey the sense that radical right-wingers like Todd Akin are now pulling the Republican Party’s strings. There is, though, one more similarity between Akin and the majority of the GOP primary field that bears mention – what one can only describe as either the mendacity or the intellectual infirmity that most of the candidates exhibited. Jonathan Bernstein, rather too generously, summarized their mastery of policy specifics as follows:

You can see why Republicans think that Paul Ryan is a serious substance guy. Romney knows his stuff, and I suppose Ron Paul knows whatever it is that Ron Paul knows, but the other six were just a jumbled mass of garbage rhetoric. Of course, you can be a pretty good politician and even perhaps a decent president without actually being particularly expert on substance, and it’s always possible they know more than they let on, but yikes … .

As you process all this, stop and think for a moment. These folks, no more than a hop-and-a-skip from perennial joke Todd Akin in their general intellectual outlook, want to be president. And Todd Akin wants us to unseat a thoughtful and serious senate incumbent and send him to Washington so he can support their idiocy.