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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Akin Headed Under the Bus, But GOP Damaged Anyway

I will be surprised if GOP MO Senate nominee Todd Akin doesn’t take a glorious swan dive under the bus today ‘for the good of the party,’ since he stands to lose $10 mill in NRSC and Rove bucks if he stays. Even if he survives the day, it’s only a matter of time before he quits.
In terms of the Senate race, credit Senator Claire McCaskill with brilliant strategy for pushing for Akin as her opponent. Boy, was she right. Unfortunately, she also had bad luck, with Akin delivering the mega-gaffe before he was out of the gate. We Dems always seem to get these breaks too early, and the Republican disasters are forgotten by the time election day rolls around. Just once, could we have a monumental GOP gaffe during the week before a general election?
Many Dems are no doubt disappointed, since Akin is a near perfect stalking horse for outing, not only the idiocy of the wingnuts, but also the ever-waffling views of Ryan and Romney about just which women should be allowed to control their own bodies without fear of criminal prosecution. One day it’s only those whose lives are endangered by pregnancy complications. On other days it’s nobody or only those who can prove “forcible” rape.
In terms of national politics, however, the good news is that Dems have lots of new footage for ads portraying the GOP as the party of prevarication and equivocation, as well as for winning support of remaining women swing voters. It’s a little harder today for thoughtful voters of either gender to see the Republican party as a sober alternative up and down-ballot. As Ed Kilgore ably puts it at the Washington Monthly,

What’s basically happened thanks to Akin is that the messy logic and morality of anti-choice GOPers and their rationalizations for positions that don’t sound politically toxic is under the microscope. From that point of view, even if Paul Ryan’s managed to reposition himself as more “moderate,” the whole ticket and the political party supporting it may find its troubles have just begun.

If there is good news for McCaskill in Akin’s too-early flop, it’s that it’s possible that just enough wingnuts will be disgusted by sacrificing the primary winner on the altar of the Romney campaign that they will stay home or lodge a protest vote on election day. It’s also possible that some moderate Missouri Republican voters will look at the Akin mess as symptomatic of their party’s confusion and decide that McCaskill is the more prudent choice. Hey Missourians, what would Harry Truman think?
It was fun this morning to watch MSNBC’s Morning Joe‘s host, Joe Scarborough straining to put lipstick on this particular pig. Something about how swell it is that the national Republicans are united in wanting to throw their MO Senate candidate under the bus, train, plane and any cars that may be milling about — in the senate race that was supposed to be their best chance for a pick-up. Yes, Republicans, let’s do have more of this.

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