The Akin mania

Missouri GOP Senatorial candidate Todd Akin is possessed. He has disgraced himself, his friends, his party, and whatever causes he professes to believe in. He will throw away a more than winnable Senate race (and a potential GOP Senate majority) against the wildly unpopular Claire McCaskill. Yet he persists. What gives?

Akin won a three-way Senate GOP primary against two attractive opponents with 34 percent of the vote. In doing so, he had the financial and undoubtedly the electoral support of Missouri Democrats. (Missouri is an open primary state.) State and national party figures were united in calling for Akin to step down yesterday. The cast of characters effectively supporting Akin’s continued candidacy (through their silence on his possible withdrawal) consists almost exclusively of Democrats. Get a clue, man!

Akin refuses to get a clue. One has to wonder what keeps him going.

Akin must still think he can win. Akin alluded to the tainted poll showing him running neck-and-neck with McCaskill after his his pronouncement on “legitimate rape” and the never-ceasing wonders of the female body. Where there’s life, a pro-life guy must think, there’s hope. And Akin hopes for that Senate seat.

Among other things, this is what Akin had to say yesterday: “My interest in this race has nothing to do with me. It has to do with who we are as a nation. I think it will help Romney and I think it’s going to help the Republican party.”

But neither Romney nor the Republican Party want Akin’s “help.” Along with all other sane observers, they think Akin’s help is killing them. With friends like this, who needs enemies?

This was essentially the appeal that Sean Hannity made directly to Akin himself on Hannity’s syndicated radio program on Monday. This was Akin’s response:

Those are all legitimate points, Sean, and you know I’m trained as an engineer and you look at both sides of the equation and you say, “You know, what are the pros and the cons?” On the other side, here you have somebody who is a conservative, unabashed pro-lifer where where Claire McCaskill is the exact opposite. And you got a real contrast and a simple choice for the people of the state of Missouri. And I think that strong voting record and that record that is the exact opposite of hers — the question is, does that overcome, you know, the question of people that are upset about one word spoken in one day in one sentence. And I think that there is an awful of people that believe in mercy and forgiveness and God’s love. I made a single error in one sentence….

But I think that the people of Missouri are big enough to take a look at the whole package and say, “Hey, you know, this Obama is about to break our country and Claire McCaskill is a rubber stamp for him and so we need somebody who is going to take the fight to them.” And I believe that we’re going to do that.

Regarding the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, Akin had this to say to Hannity yesterday: “Let me ask you this. If you were in Romney’s position, don’t you think that he may have bid this thing up and made a bigger deal about it than he needed to?”

According to Akin in his interview with Hannity an hour before yesterday’s deadline for withdrawal, “It’s a question of principle.” What’s the principle? To paraphrase Louis XIV, the principle, c’est moi.

STEVE adds: I can’t remember another case like this–at least at this high level–where party leaders were unable to force out a defective candidate.  (Maybe readers can provide examples I’m missing.)  Politicians are or course an egotistic and self-regarding species, but Akin is delusional.

UPDATE: Akin appeared this morning on Good Morning America. George Stephanopoulos (or the author of his headlines) suggests on his ABC News blog that Akin left the door open to a possible exit. I would say he left the door slightly ajar.

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