Heaven knows my record isn’t perfect, and I have more than seven years of archives to attest to the veracity of that statement. Some of my classic “D’oh!” moments include voting for Dukakis in the primary in ’88, and more recently I was one of the loudest voices calling for former KC Mayor Mark Funkhouser to run for the job he lost four years later in a humiliating primary defeat. A quick “google” will show anyone who doubts it that I was even more “wrong” than I was “loud” in that instance. Funk was so unpopular when he left office that when he left town for a job back east somewhere no one noticed he was gone for months, until his house went on the market. I got that one so wrong that I was exactly 180-degrees from right. Yesterday when I predicted Akin would drop out of the race a couple of minutes before five, I was utterly and completely wrong. Like I said, I’ve been wrong before and will be again, probably before lunch.
Akin’s decision to stay in and brazen it out, at least for now, is just about the best news I’ve had lately, and to put that in the proper perspective, I had major surgery and a benign pathology report last month. I don’t think I have ever been so overjoyed in my life – weddings and births in the immediate family and the day of Jesse Helmes’ funeral excepted. Good for Akin. I didn’t believe that I had lived a good enough life for the fates to smile on me so, but there it is. I don’t know if it was me or Claire McCaskill, but one of us has been living right, and in case it’s me I’m not changing a thing. Akin staying in – whether he stays in until November or gets out in September – is the best news Claire McCaskill (or the state’s political bloggers) could have dared to hope for. We’re all throwin’ pinches of salt over our left shoulders for luck, and then pinching ourselves to see if we’re dreaming.
I really went back and forth on whether he would hang tough or bow out. Certainly bowing out wouldn’t have solved the problems the MOGOP has to deal with that are coming down the pike, it would have just switched them out for a different set in a basic “remove and replace” operation. If Akin had dropped out, the tea-folk and the evangelical right would have been in open revolt, and they are far more important to GOP electoral success than the establishment Republicans in the state like to admit. There would have been no GOTV on the GOP side, because that is church-driven, not party driven. An Akin exit might even have delivered the state to Obama. The only prayer Romney has here (PPP had us a one-point toss-up a week ago) is for the evangelicals who don’t believe he’s a Christian or a conservative to show up at the polls to vote against Obama in sufficient numbers to put him over the top.
So what we are left with is a GOP candidate that isn’t sweating his pariah status with the establishment Republicans or the “libruls” in the cities. Making both groups mad is a feature, not a bug, with the 30-percenters and bible-bangers who make up Akin’s base of support.
His decision to stay in widens the chasm between the business and religious wings of the Missouri Republican Party. It also means the state party is due for either a reckoning or a split, and there’s no getting around it any longer.
Akin won the primary, but he wasn’t the establishment choice. He horrifies the establishment because he really believes the nutty things he says, so losing the establishment support is a badge of honor to his die-hard, wingnut, base of support.
Losing the money, on the other hand, might could matter. Already the ten-point lead he had over Claire McCaskill last week has narrowed to one point. Part of it was his horrifying and pig-ignorant comment about rape and pregnancy, but part of it is the sudden cessation of vile, heinous attack ads that Karl Rove’s dark-money outfit has buried her under for the last year-and-a-half.
Whether he stays in all the way to election day or asks a court to remove him from the ballot by the drop-dead date of September 25th remains to be seen, but I suspect that he’s “in for a penny, in for a pound” and he is not only going to go down with his freak-flag flying, he is going to take some other state-wide candidates with him. If he stays in all the way to election day and if Democrats hold the Senate, the Democratic candidate wins the open Secretary of State contest and the Democratic challenger unseats the Lt. Governor, Todd Akin will be a bigger goat than all the 2010 wingnuts who wanted to be Senators – Sharon Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Ken Buck and Joe Miller combined. And it couldn’t happen to a more vile and reprehensible guy.