I was challenged to come up with solutions rather than 'whining' about Todd Akin's prideful refusal to bend to political reality and let a better candidate take his place as Republican nominee for Missouri Senate. Since our goal is winning the White House and the Senate, the desire to see Akin withdraw is a simple calculus: Todd Akin in the race is a loss, anyone else as GOP nominee and McCaskill loses by 10 points. Akin also hurts the party image nationwide, has become a lightning rod and is energizing the left's various distraction memes (the Democrats' trope "war on women" gets a new lease on life with Akin's medically ignorant blunder).
Great, but Akin said he's in it. NRSC says if Akin is in they are out. Meaning a weak Akin will get outspent massively by McCaskill and be a sitting duck as she paints him as an extremist, using his own words.And we lose that seat.
Should we throw up our hands because Akin was a stubborn fool and let him waste the opportunity to win this seat? No! Giving up on salvaging the seat could make the difference between repealing Obamacare and being saddled with it forever. In fact, Todd Akin can STILL withdraw, he has until 9/25, he just needs a court order. Missouri GOP can cover whatever printing costs or other costs are incurred by any change, that is not the issue. The issue will be to convince Todd Akin to see the light.
There is hope. AKIN ADMITS HE'LL QUIT IF HE DOESNT GET NEEDED SUPPORT, so the idea that he cant or wont quit is false:
But, says Andrews, “Two sources tell CBS News Aiken’s real strategy here is to hang tough — for now — and see if that wins enough money and support to stay in the race. In others words– his final decision to stay in–may not be final.”
Todd Akin is far from giving up now: He thinks he is "fighting the party bosses" and is attempting to raise money off it. One hopes supporters aren't this stupid to buy this argument: "I screwed up so bad, the evil party bosses want to take away my right to represent the party in a flailing FAIL of a campaign. Support my stubborn right to lose this election!" But spending decisions are getting locked in, ballot deadlines approach ...
All of which adds to a continued sense of urgency among party officials worried that Akin’s blunder could wash away their chances of a Senate majority in the fall.
We have to make sure Akin gets a clear picture NOW of the lack of support he has, the unity of calls to get him to withdraw, and his own sense of prospects. The Democrats know this too, so are going easy on Akin NOW, and will go for the kill after 9/25. Akin is the Daily Kos pick.
So how can we get Akin's attention? Here is how:
1. CONTINUE TO CALL ON AKIN TO WITHDRAW. It's not too late. It still can be done. If it was the right thing Tuesday, it will be right thing every day until the late September real deadline.
2. Akin will withdraw if he doesnt get that support he needs. If he raised $25,000 in 3 days, that's a miniscule amount compared to what he needs. So deny him support and tell others the same. So PUT THE SQUEEZE ON DONORS, not just to not donate, but to lean on Akin to withdraw. Call them up, get the Akin donors to sign on to calling on Akin to withdraw. NRSC is playing hardball.
3. PUT FORTH A WRITE-IN CANDIDATE: Palin had the right idea, but suggested Steelman, who at this point can only be a stand-in on the Republican ticket. We need to find a Republican who was not in the primary for the write-in. There is one name that is well-known, beloved in Missouri and easy to write: KIT BOND. Ann Coulter and others have floated that possibility. Talent has been floated to, but he has said "no thanks" to running. Ideally, this would not end up being a 3-way race, but Akin would wake up and smell the coffee and pull out entirely rather than be a spoiler.
4. MAKE TODD AKIN AN OFFER HE CANT REFUSE: An Ann Wagner ballot switch. The offer would be a switcheroo - Akin runs in his old house seat CD-2 in Missouri, and nominee for that House seat, Ann Wagner, is promoted to the Senate race. Think of it as sending Akin back to the minor leagues, so to speak.
5. GET A CANDIDATE LINED UP IN THE WINGS: Ann Wagner (as in #4 above), Brunner, Steelman, etc. Mo GOP party should be circling the wagons to get a 'unity' position together, a public statement to call on Akin to step aside, and get grassroots input to determine who the best replacement candidate is, get unified behind whoever it is, and put their own call for Akin to withdraw out. My view simple: The Primary Runnerup - John Brunner - should be the stand-in candidate (unless that is prevented by a need to do a #3 strategy).
6. GET HUCKABEE ON BOARD TALKING AKIN OFF THE LEDGE. Huckebee has done a Yuckabee, not only endorsing Akin but encouraging him to defy the good advice of others and stay in. Akin is relying the on the coterie of social conservative supporters, FRC, and a few others. They are NOT enough to win a Senate seat! They need to be convinced to change their minds.
7. GET TO AKIN'S CONSULTANTS. More hardball. They need to know that future business is at stake if they screw up. Polling needs to be done to have an honest assessment of Akin's (NON)viability. Candidate polling almost alway has a bias towards that candidate, so this only confirms that Akin is likely behind by 5-10 points:
Embattled Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin commissioned an automated-telephone poll Monday, which showed him in a statistical dead heat with Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo, according to a source close to the congressman. That finding, along with a separate Public Policy Polling survey showing the race competitive, played a large role in convincing him not to withdraw from the race before Tuesday’s deadline.
I suspect his internal poll has the same biased sample as the PPP poll. So get a new poll done, one not slanted to make AKin look better, and show him what is really up.
These 7 items show that the Missouri race is salvageable, by making it crystal clear to Todd Akin withdrawal is his best option. But time is short. The worst thing we could do now is throw up our hands and assume that Akin is in this until November. So let's continue to make it clear that Akin must go if we are to win this Senate seat, and work to make that a reality.