Death Wish?

It isn’t easy being red. We start with what should be an easy electoral victory, and before you know it we are bleeding heavily from self-inflicted wounds. Let’s review two of today’s top news stories. First comes Congressman Todd Akin, whose epic blunder Paul wrote about earlier. Here’s the problem I have with Akin: it is not unusual for a candidate to use an infelicitous phrase in the course of making what is essentially a valid point. When that happens, we almost always defend the candidate. Here, however, Akin went on a rambling, offensive riff in support of a point that was wrong and stupid. Not to mention completely needless: every sentence uttered by a Republican candidate that does not include the words “unemployment,” “jobs” or “economy” is a waste of time, or worse. No one wants to hear a Senate candidate’s ruminations on biology–no one except the Democrats who supported Akin and helped him to get the GOP nomination because they saw him as a weak candidate.

That is all I can stand to say about Mr. Akin. For more, go to Michelle Malkin.

Then we have Congressman Kevin Yoder. Last year, while on a fact-finding trip to Israel with a good-sized group of Congressmen and staffers–and, notably, his wife–Yoder and others in the group took a late-night dip in the Sea of Galilee. Yoder, as he put it, “jumped into the water without a swimsuit.” Others also waded in, apparently more or less clothed. According to Politico, “Several [of those present] privately admitted that alcohol may have played a role in why some of those present decided to jump in.”

Do tell! When was the last time anyone went skinny dipping sober? Still, this is hard to fathom. I, personally, have often gone out for the evening and partaken of alcoholic beverages. Yet, at the conclusion of the evening, I have always been able to resist the urge to strip off my coat, tie, pants, shirt, underwear and socks and jump into a lake. I believe most of my friends would say the same. Then, too, one wonders: what about the others in the group? If twenty or more people gather by the shore of a lake and one of them starts stripping off his clothes with the evident intention of jumping in, the proper course is for four or five of his friends, staffers, fellow Congressmen–and presumably his wife–to hustle him into the hotel and off to bed. A group of college students would probably do that; can’t we expect at least as much from members of Congress?

Of course it isn’t fair: if a Republican Congressman takes off his clothes, it’s news; when a Democrat does it, he is merely exercising his constitutional rights, and what’s it to you, anyway? Here in Minnesota, we recently had the non-story of Democratic legislator Kerry Gauthier, who was caught getting oral sex from a 17-year-old boy at a highway rest stop. Traditionally that would have merited not just disapprobation, but pretty severe punishment. No longer:

County Attorney Mark Rubin determined that no charges were warranted because the legal age of consent is 16. …

Gauthier has refused to talk about the investigation, calling it a private matter, and could not be reached for comment Thursday.

That’s the world we live in; Republicans expect more from their elected representatives than Democrats do. But that’s not all. Republicans will win big in November if voters focus on the issues, pre-eminently the economy. The Democrats can’t defend their records in office, so their only hope is distraction. One would think that Republican candidates and office-holders would be smart enough not to make it easy for them.