I'll bet a bunch of you have received the same e-mail I did this morning, from the Senate Conservative's Fund. "Need Your Input On the Missouri Senate Race." Matt Hoskins, the fund's executive director, is asking people if the fund should support Akin's reelection bid.
I find it mildly troubling that the Senate Conservatives Fund is asking people that it doesn't know whether the FUnd itself should support Todd Akin. Does the Fund normally make decisions based on the results of Internet polls? If so, if I were a Democrat, I'd have all my people sign up as Fund members. But anyhoo...
Here's my answer to the FUnd. Yes, support Akin, as we would support any other nominee. But, ONLY give him money if you (the Fund) has money to spare.
Why? According to the polls I'm seeing, the GOP hasn't locked up the Senate yet.
- Nate Silver at the NYT puts the GOP's chances of taking the Senate at 20%
- John Fund just ran a National Review article, asking if the GOP could still take the Senate. In that article, he points out that, not too long ago, it was accepted conventional wisdom that the GOP's capturing the Senate was a foregone conclusion.
If the Senate isn't locked up for the GOP yet, then the GOP leadership and major money sources have to target their funds wisely. I.e., they have to do "triage." Assess all the patients and prioritize care to the patients most likely to pull through. (Or, in this case, most likely win).
Here's part of the Senate Conservative Fund's rationale for (potentially) supporting Akin at this point in the race:
The race in Missouri appears to still be winnable. The most recent Rasmussen poll shows Todd Akin trailing McCaskill by just 6 points. Congressman Akin may still be able to win this race even after all of the attacks from the liberal media and the Republican establishment.
The race in Missouri appears to still be winnable. If you're a patient lying outside the MASH operating room, and you "appear to still have a chance of surviving," you're not winning the triage game.
Akin supporters have had more than a month to crank up their ground game, work their voter and fundraising networks and kick things in gear for Todd Akin...and they're still six points behind to Claire McCaskill! Forgive me for pointing out that the patient doesn't seem to be pulling through. Meanwhile, we have other patients we CAN save, by giving them the medicines and medical resources we DO have.
If people want to engage in a pity party, blaming the "Republican establishment" for Todd Akin's woes, they have every right to do that. But, I don't feel obligated to waste precious resources---resources that will probably give us better payoff if they're applied elsewhere---simply to salve some bruised feelings. Especially if the people whose feelings are bruised refused to acknowledge that their guy shot himself in the foot.
So, Senate Conservative Fund, there's your answer. We shouldn't abandon Todd Akin, but we should only expend resources on him once we've fully resourced the candidates who have better chances of winning.