Since Akin’s unfortunate and avoidable gaffe, AllahPundit of HotAir reported yesterday that the Cook Report has moved Missouri from ‘toss-up’ to ‘leans Democratic.’ As I’ve said before, if we do not have a Republican congress this year, it’ll be because Todd Akin was too proud to step aside. Ignoring the words of the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, and Gov. Scott Walker–Akin will remain in the race. Pundit wrote at the time that:
Paul Ryan called Akin personally yesterday to vent his disapproval and, just as I’m writing this, with less than two hours before the withdrawal deadline expires, Romney has issued a statement flatly calling on Akin to quit the race. Problem is, there’s really nothing the party can offer him to make it worth his while to go. Read this short but smart piece at Salon listing the many reasons Akin has to keep going. He’s old; he’s still got a more or less 50/50 shot at the Senate; he may or may not think his primary victory was divinely ordained, etc etc etc. If he were a younger pol, the GOP leadership might be able to tempt him with the promise of some plum position down the road if he plays ball now. As it is, the one and only argument his critics have is to ask him to put conservatism first and step aside to maximize our chances of repealing ObamaCare. You can see from his Huckabee interview this afternoon how seriously he takes that argument. Charlie Crist’s still the most nakedly careerist politician I’ve ever seen, but you’ve got to hand it to Akin: Even Crist never put his own ambitions above his party’s top agenda items.
He can still quit after today’s deadline passes, but to do so he’ll need a court order. Can he get one? As Nate Silver notes, four of the six justices of the Missouri Supreme Court are Democratic appointees, and Akin has no stronger supporters in America right now when it comes to staying on the ballot than Democrats. Meanwhile, if Priebus and Cornyn are serious about withholding money from this guy in the assurance that conservatives will blame Akin for the eventual loss, not them, I think they’re kidding themselves. Once it’s clear that he’s in the race to the bitter end, the calculus among many of his critics will shift from “he’s a moron” to “he’s a moron but he’s our moron,” such that if the RNC and NRSC cut him off, the dreaded Beltway RINO establishment will be blamed for not having done everything they could to make the best of a bad hand. (That would be less likely if McCaskill utterly crushed him on election day, but she’s sufficiently weak that she probably won’t win by more than four or five points. He’ll be competitive, sort of, down the stretch.) Never mind that the money they save might prove critically useful elsewhere; once Akin proves he’s a “fighter,” willing to tell both Democrats and Republicans to go to hell, that’ll earn him a certain base of populist support that will demand financial support from GOP treasurers on his behalf. And if they don’t provide it, they’ll be scapegoated, not him.
We’ll see how that projection of events plays out, but since the deadline has passed–expect the GOP infighting to continue. However, while some are hoping to put Joe Brunner or Sarah Steelman, Sarah Palin’s pick, on the ballot, Ed Morrissey wrote today that “Missouri has a sore-loser law that disqualifies Steelman and John Brunner. They can put Jim Talent, John Ashcroft, and pretty much anyone else on the ballot they wish — except anyone who was on the primary ballot. Palin actually says in the interview that the GOP needs to run someone like Steelman as an independent, not Steelman herself, which commenters have pointed out to me.”
With no love from the RNC, NRSC, or the majority of the conservative activists and media figures, Akin is engaging in a campaign of self-martydrom, which is an unpleasant characteristic associated with liberals. Mr. Akin’s wife has sent out an SOS email yesterday asking for money, which Robert Stacy McCain reposted on his site.
My husband is a man of principle and courage. He’s a great husband and a wonderful father to our daughters and sons, but he’s not perfect. He made a mistake and he apologized for it. Now we need to move forward and defeat Claire McCaskill.
Todd is 100% pro-life, Claire is 100% pro-abortion. Claire was the deciding vote in support of Obamacare, she voted for the failed “stimulus” and was Barack Obama’s biggest cheerleader when he ran for President in 2008.
For all these reasons, Claire needs to go. We need your help today to defeat Claire in November.
Donate $3 right now to show that you’re in this fight with Todd!
That’s just sad. However, given that his campaign is sinking faster than the Andrea Doria, Akin may be pivoting himself or the exit. As George Stephanopoulos posted today on the ABC News blog:
Well George, I’m never going to say everything that could possibly happen. I don’t know the future, but I do know this. I knew that the party voters took a look at our hearts, understood who we were, had a chance to meet us in many, many different ways and made a decision,” Akin told me. “And it makes me uncomfortable to think that the party bosses are going to dictate who runs as opposed to the election process.
It should be noted that ABC News has a bad habit of getting things wrong and being overtly biased. Mr. Stephanopoulos is a former Clinton operative, although I do hope Mr. Akin does the responsible thing and step aside because having your wife plead for money is ignominious.