Todd Akin, GOP Senate candidate in Missouri, who in a recent poll was leading Claire McCaskill 51% to 40%, managed to throw the race wide open with a Category 5 blundering Biden (aka gaffe/blunder/’misstatement’) that including this ‘gem’:
“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
It was a bad enough blunder that he had to walk it back today with an apology:
In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year.
Nate Silver makes a reasonable argument that a comment like this can move polls by about 10 points – there goes the Akin lead and then some.
Should Akin withdraw? Two viewpoints, and conveniently I’m holding on to both of them:
1. No: It’s a big gaffe, but he apologized, lets move on. Lets not let our campaigns get defined by the manufactured outrage of the other side. Rather than try to defend Rep Akins artless way of trying to explain that abortions due to rape are a tiny fraction of total abortions, lets just say: “Rep Akins said a foolish thing that he apologized later that day. We should move on and discuss the real issues and positions that we face. “
2. Yes: This gaffe is so bad he would probably lose, and indicates he is gaffe-prone and weak. We need to salvage this race, this race is ours to lose, and with Akin we will lose it.
Nate Silver’s analysis is convincing in that there is no way it wont hurt and with the ‘distancing dance’ being played it poisons the well for a well-oiled machine in Missouri. So the reasoning goes: If Akins steps aside, put in a new candidate, then by next Sunday this would be back to “leans R” race. Steelman would work as well.
A reasonable Akin withdrawal scenario would be for Akin to voluntarily suspend his campaign and withdraw in favor of the person who got the 2nd highest # of votes in the MO-SEN primary: John Brunner. The bonus is that Brunner was already running better in polls than Akin; Brunner polled better than Akin before the primary, to such an extent that McCaskill ran ads to ‘help’ Akin in the primary.
I am straddling the fence, not wanting to dump a guy but not wanting to throw away a seat; my own bottom-line is: I am all for the stiff upper lip on Akin’s boneheaded remark if he stays in, but this reminds me of JFK’s comment “Sometimes party loyalty asks too much.”
Akin should not make others pay for his mistake, and we may pay, as we paid for the ‘macaca’ mistake in 2006. It would be better if he withdrew to let a stronger candidate take his place, in particular one of the other primary candidates.
On twitter, Patrick Ruffini has claimed my a margin of 98 to 2 conservative activists on twitter want Akin to step aside. So I am asking the same question of all of you to get a sense of Redstate: What say you?
Should Todd Akin drop out?
make is a yes/no (with of without explanation) and we’ll make a tally.