Opinion: Republicans Endorse Todd Akin As Senate Chances Slip Away

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U.S. Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) (Photo credit: akin.org)

U.S. Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) (Photo credit: akin.org)

The Buck Starts Here

The Republican Party has flip-flopped of Congressman Todd Akin of Missouri.

In August they were demanding that he leave the Senate race. Today, the same people are embracing the national embarrassment that is Todd Akin. The Republican Senate Campaign Committee has decided to support Akin after saying they would not at the height of his controversy.

Akin is the Member of Congress running for Senate in Missouri who told an interviewer that women who are victims of “legitimate rape” cannot get pregnant because their bodies have a way of “shutting the whole thing down.”

I guess when your view of science comes from the Middle Ages then you adopt a belief system consistent with that of centuries ago.

Akin became an inconvenience, because his remarks were insane and because it reminded Americans that the Tea Party House had tried to distinguish between forcible and non-forcible rape.

But Akin refused to answer the timid reprimands from the party and has been rewarded with its endorsement once more.

The GOP is forced to back Akin because not only is Mitt Romney losing, he is taking Senate races down the tubes as well.

Of course that is not all Romney’s fault.

The GOP is running a slate of candidates that reflect the Tea Party view of America. And those beliefs are turning voters off.

In Virginia, George Allen has avoided being taped using racial slurs this year, but his “macaca moment” has not been forgotten and polls show he is badly trailing former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine.

But the cycle is not without its moments of caught-on-tape racism. In Massachusetts, Senator Scott Brown is trying to keep the stench of former Governor Mitt Romney’s impending loss in the Bay State off of him. While Romney trails by 20+ points in the state he once governed, Brown’s race against Elizabeth Warren has been one of the closest in the nation.

Following the Democratic Convention, Warren has been rising in the polls. In desperate move during last week’s debate, Scott Brown attacked Warren’s Native American heritage because she doesn’t “look” like a native American.

His staff, including a number of tax-payer employed Senate staffers were caught on tape making Indian war chants and insulting arm gestures. Native American leaders condemned the tape and accurately described it as racist.

As a result Scott Brown’s reelection prospects look as dim as his racist staff.

Other tape has surfaced that has candidates calling for the end of Social Security and Medicare.

In the past week video surfaced of former Governor Tommy Thompson promising to end Medicare and Medicaid. As he put it: “who better than me?”

In Connecticut, the wife of the WWE wrestling mogul, Linda McMahon, has suggested a sunset provision on the law that created Social Security. Such a provision would put an end date on Social Security, something that has never been done in the history of the program meant to alleviate the problem of senior poverty.

Tom Smith, the Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate, equated a pregnancy as a result of rape with pregnancy outside of marriage if you think about it from the father’s prospective.

Despite an unprecedented level of outside spending on his behalf in Ohio, Tea Party darling Josh Mandell has been at the center of the state’s voter suppression controversy. That coupled with other scandals has left Mandell trailing Brown as both Obama and Brown extend their advantages in the state.

Indiana, where Tea Party extremist Richard Murdock knocked off long time Senator Richard Lugar, a safe Republican seat has turned into a Democratic opportunity. Murdock’s contention that bipartisanship consists of Democrats doing what Republicans want is hurting him in state.

When you combine Murdock’s bullying attitude with Mandell’s voter suppression and scandal, Tom Smith and Todd Akin’s bizarre attitude towards rape, Scott Brown’s racism and Thompson and McMahon’s desire to end Social Security, Medicare and Medicare you get a pretty good picture of why voters are rejecting Republicans.

Based on current public polling, Democrats would hold a minimum of 52 seats on election day with between three and five races to close to call.

After Mitt Romney’s 47% don’t pay taxes remark, Conservative columnist Peggy Noonan dubbed the Romney campaign a “rolling calamity” for all its problems and continuing self-inflicted wounds. At this point, she might have to extend that label to Republican efforts to take the majority in the Senate as they flounder and flip flop.

The GOP and its SuperPACs will try to resuscitate Mitt Romney and the Republican Senate candidates with tens of millions in ads over the next six weeks. But by adding a pariah like Todd Akin to their camp they may end up bring down more of their candidates.

If that happens there will be a mad scramble to control the House of Representatives in the closing weeks of the campaign.

About Bill Buck

Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP. He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.

 

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