Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gasp! The GOP's Fringe is Showing


Not just Todd Akin's comments about rape.  But his Republican party's vehement about-face regarding his campaign for one of Missouri's seats in the US Senate.

OK, so what Akin said was more than just politically incorrect.  But was it a crime for him to put voice to something some right-wingers believe?  The "legitimate" rape urban legend is not new.  Akin was simply foolish enough to say it on camera.

How many more dippy theories of the far right can conservative candidates for office commiserate about behind closed doors, but risk sudden political death if they breathe a word of it in public?  What about rape insurance, the astoundingly bizarre suggestion espoused by Kansas House Republican Pete DeGraaf which somehow escaped broad public attention?

For the National Republican Senatorial Committee to announce that it's suspending its multi-million-dollar marketing support for Akin's campaign because he won't step down - after being duly elected in a sanctioned primary - smacks of "you let too much out of the bag."

It's little secret that Democrats wanted Akin to win the Republican primary this year.  Drudge Report even featured an article today saying liberals donated $1.5 million to Akin's campaign, because they figured he'd be the easiest candidate for incumbent Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill to defeat this fall in the general election.


Who's really in trouble here?  Not just victims of sex violence who might have hoped for some rational dialog about combating sex crimes.  Not even pro-choice advocates, whose message Akin was trying to endorse has gotten lost in all of the hysteria over whether Akin should withdraw from the race.

If Republicans aren't careful, it could be their party that finds itself in trouble.  The party left-wingers already gleefully paint as full of out-of-touch WASPS buzzing with half-baked ideas about science.  True, the GOP may think they're in a no-win situation here, with Akin adamantly refusing to withdraw (maybe he should), and his wince-inducing comments continuing to dominate the media.

But the GOP should be careful for what it demands of Akin, and how they demand it.  Yes, Republican control of the Senate in DC may be jeopardized if the party doesn't win Missouri this November, but what else might they jeopardize by taking this inopportune time to blast fringe opinions within their ranks that they've been content to let fester for years?

Moderate conservatism doesn't look so evil now, does it?

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