The Democrats apparently think they have hit the jackpot with Todd Akin’s moment of stupidity, but I’m not so sure. How, exactly, are they going to take advantage of Akin’s blunder? By talking ceaselessly about abortion. At the Washington Examiner, Paul Bedard headlines: “Dem Convention becomes anti-Akin affair.” That is a serious mistake. The Democratic convention should be an anti-Romney affair. Until a few days ago, probably 98% of voters had never heard of Todd Akin. It would be as though the Republicans turned their convention into an anti-Alan Grayson festival. Bedard writes:
With an eye on Rep. Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments and the GOP’s mad dash away from the sinking Missouri Senate candidate, the Democrats are turning their upcoming presidential convention into a pro-choice assault on the Republicans with the help of major abortion supporters.
Just as the Akin crisis was reaching a crescendo, the Democrats on Wednesday announced that three starlets of the pro-choice movement will be featured at the convention, an event that will now drive the liberal charge that the Republicans are anti-women.
Democrats said that they will feature Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parent Action Fund, Nancy Keenan, president of the NARAL Pro-Choice America and Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University student whose plea for federal birth control funding drew the ire–and a subsequent apology–from Rush Limbaugh.
We can only pray that this report is true, and that the Democrats devote all three days in Charlotte to discussions of abortion rights, rape and contraception. If there is one thing we can say with certainty this year, it is that the overwhelming majority of voters don’t want to hear about the social issues. They want to know how we are going to climb out of the four-year economic funk that has been the Obama administration. If undecided viewers tune into the Democratic convention and hear all about abortion, and tune into the Republican convention and hear all about the economy, Romney will win in a landslide.
And, by the way, Republicans should help drive this contrast by saying nothing–and I mean, absolutely nothing–about any social issue. They should talk the economy non-stop, with occasional digressions into foreign policy. If they are asked about abortion, they should chide the reporter for asking about a topic that is of little interest to voters and that, by the way, the president, vice president, senators and congressmen have no ability to do anything about, and give an answer about the economy. If the Democrats want to define themselves to voters as the party of abortion and gay marriage, please, God, let them do so!
UPDATE: And, oh, one more thing: neither abortion nor gay marriage is better than a 50/50 proposition with voters, so the Democrats can only be hoping to fire up their base to try to hold the line on an uphill campaign.
FURTHER UPDATE: Kurtis Fechtmeyer makes several good points in the comments:
2012 for the Democrats is shaping up like 1992 for the Republicans, when Pat Buchanan’s famous “culture war” speech set the tone of the Bush 41 defeat. The Democrats appear to be jumping the shark on Akin and declaring a similar culture war against a straw enemy. Republican leadership has universally denounced the Akin moron, and the Democrats can’t run from the fact THEY funded his campaign, not the Republican establishment.
The tone of self-righteous indignation that is now going to storm the stage may temporarily fire up a narrow part of the base… but it will alienate swing voters and may well chase other parts of their base away from the voting booth.