Conventional wisdom has it that Claire McCaskill was the real winner of the GOP primary yeterday since its putative winner, Rep. Todd Akin, will present an easier target in the general election race. For example, today Steve Benen outlines some of Akin’s more outlandish pronouncements, and The Plum Line‘s Greg Sargent spells out some of the ways that McCaskill can go after Akin.
Sargent shares the belief that the McCaskill is overjoyed to have an opponent who is so far out on the right-wing fringe that he will, rightly, scare any sane person to the left of Barry Goldwater, but he also points out that she will be able to make excellent, well-seasoned hay out of Akin’s voting record:
But Dems believe Akin may have another serious vulnerability – not just what he has said, but how he has voted. Akin has repeatedly voted against measures that passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support, votes that Dems will point to as evidence of how far Akin is out of the mainstream, even among Republicans: …
It’s always been my contention that lots of GOPers who voted for Akin were not aware of how extreme his positions really are, so I’m delighted at the optimism everyone expresses about McCaskill’s ability to enlighten Missourians on the topic. And, indeed, she’s getting to work post haste. Already, she’s got a website ready to go, TruthAboutAkin.com, that offers some examples of Akin’s worst rhetorical offenses and backs up her claims that he opposes such crucial pillars of middle class life as Social Security and Medicare.
I’m still, however, a little worried that Akin survived the primary, given the way that Missourians seem to have tolerated inexcusable antics on the part of state-level GOP legislators who have rendered Jefferson City ineffectual. Could it be that they’re so blinded by Tea Partyish ebullience that they no longer have the type of intellectual depth-perception that would permit them to detect political BS? Just think of being stuck with the colossal embarrassment of Senator Todd Akin – not to even mention the practical consequences for Missouri and the country.
This level of instinctive revulsion that Akin excites in liberals, though, is probably just another ace in the hole for McCaskill, who hasn’t exactly been a beacon for progressives. Even those of us who abhor what we think of as her tendency to pander to the center-right, understand just how important her survival will be if we want to keep Akin out of the Senate – and keep it from falling into Republican control. According to Markos Moulitsas at The Daily Kos, “if McCaskill can hang on, the math [for Republicans] becomes all but impossible.” All I can say is that she’d better know what she’s doing.
* Edited for clarity.