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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Akin Stays in Missouri Senate Race

     I was really interested to read that Rep Akin is employing his own family as his campaign team. I think - hope - he now realizes that doing so is usually a big mistake. It is worth the money to employ professionals in a campaign. The cost doesn't have to be so great that fundraising doesn't cover that cost. I hope that Rep Akin now realizes, too, that a run for the U.S. Senate is different than a run to be a state's U.S. Representative. He made the mistake of running as he always has, apparently, and it has cost him dearly. It has cost the Republican party nationally, too.

     Here is the apology via video: The last apology, of sorts, I remember from a U.S. Senate seat campaign was that one from Christine O'Donnell in Delaware who felt compelled to tell everyone she is not a witch. How'd that work out? If a candidate has to apologize to that extent during the campaign, well, it usually doesn't work out so well for the candidate on election day.

      A big problem, for me, is that Rep Akin apology is one of "misspeaking" and not of recognizing he flat out got the science wrong, too. His ignorance insults women who have been raped and it speaks to what the man must really believe to be true. It implies that he is one who believes that women 'ask' for such assaults or lie about them. It is a form of misogyny.

     HERE is a piece that dispels the scientific evidence against Rep Akin's belief that if a woman is "legitimately" being raped, her body will "shut it down" and she will not be impregnated.
Mental stress can temporarily alter the functioning of your hypothalamus - an area of your brain that controls the hormones that regulate your menstrual cycle," explains the Mayo Clinic in a publication about infertility. "Ovulation and menstruation may stop as a result." But the stress that reduces fertility is the chronic kind that occurs over months or years, not the acute trauma of a rape. "A woman who is raped at a vulnerable time in her menstrual cycle is as likely to conceive and retain a pregnancy as a woman who was voluntarily attempting pregnancy," said ACOG's Levy. "There's absolutely no validity to any sort of theory that the trauma related to rape - or to any thing else for that matter - would shut down ovulation that has already begun." Physicians and researchers had long thought that conception occurs when sperm encounter an already-waiting egg. Recent research has shown that in fact sperm do the waiting, remaining in the woman's uterus or fallopian tubes until an egg is released from the ovaries. Although the trauma of rape might impair a woman's fertility months or years later, said Levy, "you're not going to interrupt something (like the release of an egg) that's already started."
There are those in my party who believe that abortion is wrong always. They do not believe there should be exceptions for victims of rape and incest. That is cruel and wrong, in my opinion. Ronald Reagan, running in the year that brought abortion to the national party platform, believed that the exceptions were warranted. The statements uttered by Rep Akin play into the national conversation that Republicans are Neanderthals and anti-woman. Do I think Akin deliberately wants to push that stereotype? No. I think he was trying to pander to the most strident of the social conservatives. It backfired and now we all pay for it.

      If I had my druthers, and I don't here, I would want Rep Akins to withdraw from this senate race. A Republican majority in the U.S. Senate is crucial for Republican policy victories, especially if Barack Obama is re-elected. With a Republican controlled House and Senate, President Obama will feel the pressure to work with the other party, as he never has before. There are only so many seats where a Republican victory is possible and Missouri was one state the national party was hoping to flip from the Democrat column to the Republican column.

     Current Senator Claire McCaskill should be the easiest of them all to pick off. She wanted an Akin victory in the primary run-off, however, and invested heavily in making that happen. With Democrats spending over $1.5 million in the GOP primary contest, clearly they were banking on Akin to be the easiest to beat in November.
Here’s how the Democrats did it, running ads in the GOP primary that were intended to boost his appeal among the most conservative primary voters: The latest example is a new radio ad paid for by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee that attacks Rep. Todd Akin (R), but does so slyly, in a manner that appears to be designed to endear him to conservative voters. “Todd Akin calls himself the true conservative, but is he too conservative?” asks the narrator of the ad, which is approved by McCaskill’s campaign and paid for by the DSCC. The narrator goes on to note the negative posture Akin has taken toward President Obama, before concluding, “it’s no surprise Todd has been endorsed by the most conservative leaders in our country – Michele Bachmann and Mike Huckabee.” Bachmann and Huckabee are popular among conservative voters and are from states in the same geographic region as Missouri. If anything, many undecided conservative primary voters who hear their names in the radio ad would be tempted to give him a closer look. The Post notes that these ad buys were actually more that Akin spent on his own campaign: According to a Republican strategist tracking ad buys in the race, McCaskill’s campaign and [the Democratic-aligned] Majority PAC have each spent about $850,000 on ads during the last two and a half weeks – more than Akin has spent on commercials during the entire campaign. So if Akin wins the primary, he might be able to credit some very unlikely allies.
The House of Representatives is different than the Senate. It would appear that Rep Akin is not ready for the step up. Polling at the present time has Akin still ahead of McCaskill by a point or two. The real numbers will come in the upcoming days, as the incident settles in and people let it all sink in.

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