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Akin Lives


For now anyway.

A flash poll in Missouri showed that despite Todd Akin’s insane statements about rape, he still leads Claire McCaskill 45-44, according to a poll by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic pollster. That’s aligns with similar numbers from May. It could be that people haven’t changed their minds about him yet and the news hasn’t truly sunk in. Or it could mean the Missouri Republicans would vote for literally anyone other than McCaskill. And in this case, it would be literally anyone since it’s hard to think of someone worse.

I also agree with David Nir that Akin holds more cards than one might think:

I don’t claim any ability to predict the future, but the fact is, Akin’s 65 years old, he had to give up his seat in the House to run for Senate, and won a pretty serious primary upset. This is the capstone of his career, and there really isn’t any inducement anyone can offer him to step aside—hence the threats. He may still prefer to quit, in the end, but I seriously doubt that national Republicans would write off this race entirely if he refuses to step aside.

If he can legitimately keep this a close race, I too have a hard time seeing Republican money not flowing to him by October, particularly given the importance of this race for control of the Senate. Of course, that’s a disaster for Republicans because that would keep the issue in the news, a particularly salient point given his relationship with Paul Ryan in trying to end reproductive rights.

Speaking of Senate control, it has seemed to me for some time that this was the most dire competitive race for Democrats. Not only do I think Elizabeth Warren is going to win in Massachusetts, but the North Dakota and Nevada races are looking up, as is Virginia. The Montana race looks tough too, but I would have bet on Tester before McCaskill. Not anymore. But it’s hardly over because Akin is not the anathema to voters you’d think. Because in the end, saying horrible things about rape is probably not so distant from the views a lot of Missouri conservatives hold.

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  • Marc

    McCaskill doesn’t need republicans to vote for her. She just needs them to leave that line on the ballot blank, and she doesn’t need a lot of them to do so to win. I agree with you and don’t get the defeatism on this race that is so common in online circles. MO is not MS.

  • JohnR

    Of course, those poll results could equally well mean that about half the people in Mo think the way Akins thinks, and just don’t have a problem with that. People are people, and a lot of people will believe darned near anything.

    • DrDick

      Which is, I suspect, pretty close to the truth here. Like Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, the Talibangelical whackaloons are a large and important voting bloc there.

  • Peter Hovde

    I don’t think they’ll take control- they need six pick-ups to get to 51, given the loss of Maine and assuming the loss of Mass, and that’s if they lose nothing else. In terms of closeness of races, Wisconsin has seemed more dire than MO before this-haven’t seen any numbers from MT in a while. I hold out some hope for an R loss in Indiana, since Mourdoch is flaky.

    • Davis X. Machina
      • I’m not assuming, but I do think Warren will win.

        • Davis X. Machina

          I think she loses in a squeaker — people like Brown, even if they hate Republicans.

          If either of my union-member Brown-voting brothers flips, that’ll be a good sign.

          • I think he wins, as the presidential campaign drives people into their partisan corners.

            • Er, she wins, I mean.

              • mark f

                Deval Patrick’s 2010 win gives me a lot of hope, too.

          • rea

            See, this is why unions are in such trouble in today’s America

            • They ought to be reminded, and often, who got them where they are today, and who got them what they had in the past, and make a decision on history and merit.

              • James E. Powell

                For some reason, they don’t seem to care about that at all.

                And I get the impression, though I have no way of knowing, that a big chunk of Mass voters just don’t like women.

                • psp

                  Yep, see Shannon O’Brien. There is also the repeated problem of the urban Mass Democratic machines failing to support liberals. They don’t care for the Amherst/Cambridge liberal axis of the party, have no problem working with Republicans so long as the money flows. If Brown makes nice with Richie Neal, Warren will find too low a turnout in Hampden County and various old milltowns to balance the western suburbs.

              • Ed

                Unions are in trouble today for many reasons. The unions fought for everything they got. No political party handed anything to them out of the milk of human kindness and relations with the Dems haven’t always been easy. The party owes as much to them as vice versa. I think Davis X. Machina’s brothers are mistaken but I’m not sure “shut up and be grateful for the crumbs from Mrs. Dives’ table” is really the right approach if you’re asking for votes.

                They ought to be reminded, and often, who got them where they are today

                Definitely not the right approach.

                • Holden Pattern

                  but I’m not sure “shut up and be grateful for the crumbs from Mrs. Dives’ table” is really the right approach if you’re asking for votes.

                  Oh, you’re going to enjoy your time here.

  • Thomas Kincade

    People vote for who they think will pull the right levers if put in power.

    As much as the DNC would like to use this and any other issue(s) to keep from talking about the miserable economy and who might be responsible, it doesn’t seem to be working.

    • That’s exactly what Joe Scarborough told me when the first poll came out after the Bain ads.

      Oops. As it turns out, looking at a single rushed poll conducted before the message sinks in isn’t a good way to understand the opinions of the electorate.

      Which, I suspect, isn’t going to be too favorable to the “Quite down, ladies, we’re trying to talk about important things,” line of argument.

    • Anonymous

      So, JenBob is now using as handle the name of a noted Christianist wingtard alcoholic con artist schlock merchant.

      One of the first times the troll has chosen a fitting handle.

      As to the economic performance, one might point at the rolling state-by-state austerity trainwreck and the watering down of the stimulus to appease the wingtards in the Senate (including the conservadems and leaving aside the internecine pissing match of whether they had to be coddled the way they were).

      But instead, wingtard troll will trot out the imaginary jahhhb kreeayturs and the confidence fairy. Because myths are more important than facts (except when it comes to the military budget and pork for individual wingtard districts — THEN OMIGOD WE WANTS IT WE WANTS IT YOO CANT CUT THAT GUMMINT SPENDING GIVE IT US GIVE IT US BECAUSE IT CREATES JOBS).

    • As much as the DNC would like to use this and any other issue(s) to keep from talking about the miserable economy and who might be responsible


      I haven’t seen the Democrats run a single ad about George Bush and how he crashed the economy.

      They probably will, though. Romney’s economic and financial oversight policies are Bush on steroids.

  • potsherds

    “Todd Akin’s insane statements about rape”

    Can I request an indefinite moratorium on the use of ableist slurs? I’ve seen so many so-called ‘liberal’ people use the term ‘insane’ to describe what is more accurately desbribed as *reprehensible* views on rape in the last few days that my jaw is getting sore from grinding my teeth all day.
    I am mentally ill, and am fully capable of being a decent human being with a full grasp of rape and rape culture. Being ‘insane’ and being a disgusting excuse for a human being are not the same thing. Conflating the two creates an excuse for Akin’s views, instead of holding him, and the millions of other Americans with similar views, fully accountable for their lack of empathy and decency.

    • rea

      “Insanity” is more a legal term than a medical one, and as a legal term, it means inability to tell right from wrong.

      • potsherds

        And an ‘inability to tell right from wrong’ excuses Akin and others who believe as he does from educating themselves and learning how to be decent, empathetic human beings.

        I am assuming your comment was primarily semantics, otherwise, I’ve missed your point.

    • Stan Gable

      “Todd Akin’s insane statements about rape”

      There’s a good point here – if these statements are insane then most of pre-enlightenment humanity was also insane. This isn’t insanity, it’s just ignorance and misogyny.

      Your average medieval peasant had a pretty good excuse for the ignorance that the Akins of the world do not. In his case it’s a conscious choice.

      • No, insanity is contextual. If everyone says that orgasm is necessary for conception, and there’s not a lot of evidence the other way (especially given weak understandings of female orgasm, etc.), then believing that is conventional and realistic, if not really evidence of mental stability.

        Our ancestors weren’t idiots, at least no more than we are.

        We have the benefit of several centuries of actual science.

        • ironic irony

          “Our ancestors weren’t idiots, at least no more than we are.

          We have the benefit of several centuries of actual science.”

          I would say so. Those Mayans had a pretty complex calendar system, and they created it without our fancy-schmancy science and math.

          And those jokers predicted the end of the world. We can’t even agree on when a raped woman can get pregnant. /s

  • witless chum

    My outrage meter isn’t calibrated well, because I’m not really getting the difference in degree of rephrehensiblenss between what Akin said and Republicans say and do constantly.

    I fear that Missouri voters aren’t going to as shocked and appalled by this as the elites of both parties and national media seem to think they should be.

    • Holden Pattern

      There is effectively no difference at all. The problem is that he said ONE thing that many wingtards may believe, but that wingtard politicians don’t say out loud. But whether wingtard policy flows from that stupid belief, some other stupid belief, or straight up misogyny and callous indifference to women’s suffering (the majority position among the Republican ruling classes), it’s all the same policy.

    • Davis X. Machina

      Akin is completely sound on policy, he’s absolutely GOP orthodox. — just has a suboptimal ability to self-censor when in public.

      If he gets dumped, whoever replaces him will have the exact same positions, and a superior ability to prevaricate…

      The party is the problem
      . A party who’s continually running around saying ‘Quick, we need to find someone who can fake it better!’ — and that’s the last two GOP primary seasons in a nutshell — is generally going to be the problem.

  • The damage he does, however, is in forcing the Republicans to put an effort into a race he seemed pretty certain to win, distracting them from other races where they might have made a bigger difference.

    In other words, he adds a variable where one did not exist.

    The poll is meaningless, as most state polls this far out are. McCaskill now has a cudgel in which she can frame practically every issue through. By the end of the week, I expect he’ll be trailing and by then it will be too late to drop out.

    • Sherm

      He has also forced Romney and Ryan to waste time defending their positions on abortion. The more they spend on the defensive talking about medicare and abortion, the better.

  • gman

    Akin will win because his views are most closely aligned with those of people in Missouri..rape and all. When will people get their head around the fact that many parts of this country are rapidly moving toward a christian version of Afganistan or Somalia. Very religious, guns everywhere and intense animosity toward what little remains of the functioning state.

  • Malaclypse
    • Sherm

      The damn liberal media quoted him out of context. He was talking about rape of girls under ten.

    • Hogan

      If I were a girl who’d been raped, I’d tell Geraldo Rivera before I told Steve King.

  • howard

    until akin spoke up, i had no idea to the degree to which abortion-rights opponents had fetishized the idea that rape could not produce conception.

    i clearly need to get out more.

    • Sherm

      I consider this progress for them. They have advanced to 13th century science now.

      • Malaclypse

        Unfortunately, that means that things are on the cusp of being very very bad.

        • Auguste

          One of my new favorite Wikipedia moments is the following in its entirety:

          “An account of Buddha’s life, translated earlier into Greek by St John of Damascus and widely circulated to Christians as the story of Barlaam and Josaphat, became so popular Buddha (under the name Josaphat) was made a Catholic saint.[citation needed]”

          • Hogan

            Gotcher citation right here.

            • Auguste

              “Although Barlaam was never formally canonized, Josaphat was[citation needed]”

              I’m not even calling bullshit on this; it may very well be true. I just love the ridiculousness of it all.

              • Auguste

                Plus, from reading the Catholic Encyclopedia source, it appears that one of the most important things Josaphat did in the legend was become a Christian. Some divergence there. It’d be like teaching “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” in American History class.

                • herr doktor bimler

                  Wait ten years.

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