Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin won two high-profile Republican endorsements Wednesday, a day after guaranteeing his candidacy would continue despite calls for him to quit because of comments about rape and pregnancy he since has apologized for. Former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum and Sen. Jim DeMint, a tea party favorite, announced support for Akin's challenge to Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. They called Akin a "principled conservative" — the same phrase Akin uses to describe himself at campaign events. "If Republicans are to win back the Senate and stop President Obama's liberal agenda, we must defeat Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri," Santorum and DeMint said in a joint statement. They added: "We support Todd Akin and hope freedom-loving Americans in Missouri and around the country will join us so we can save our country from fiscal collapse."
I've made my my thoughts on Akin perfectly clear, but this is the best play DeMint, et al have at their disposal. Todd Akin is a selfish train wreck candidate, but Claire McCaskill has been a cynical rubber-stamp for Barack Obama at every significant turn. She plays the pragmatic moderate back home, but in DC she eagerly falls in line as an obedient Obamaphile. She's way out of step with Missourians, who are trending red. So that's the only case to make here: Even though Akin's a mess, McCaskill doesn't represent her state and has enthusiastically voted for a slew of destructive policies. She's a liberal in a state of non-liberals. As I reported earlier this month, internal GOP polling suggests that against virtually anyone other than Akin, she'd be a lame duck walking -- but she hand-picked her opponent and is now the favorite by default. Why'd she pour so much money into promoting Akin in the Republican primary (before the "legitimate rape" meltdown)? Take a look at her new attack ad, dropped the day after Republicans' escape hatch was sealed shut:
You may notice McCaskill nodding a lot during her "I approve this message" tag line. Perhaps she had just been asked if she voted for Obamacare, the stimulus, and Obama's judges. Anyway, it's pretty clear that her team had that commercial tee'd up ever since Akin became the Republican nominee; adding the "rape" clip was just gravy. After strategically downplaying the uber-gaffe for weeks (please stay in, Todd...the water's fine!), Claire is firing both barrels. As expected. What should be a likely Republican pick-up is now a long shot, especially since national Republicans and top SuperPACs have pledged to withhold funds from their radioactive candidate. Here's National Journal explaining how Republicans can still win back the Senate, er, without Missouri.
As for Akin's continued candidacy...good luck, I guess?
UPDATE - Akin seems to harbor an Obamaesque mentality. Nothing's his fault:
Akin is now mounting a populist-tinged campaign, where he’s stoking anger among the party faithful toward his GOP “bosses,” a shot at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn — all of whom called on Akin to end his bid before the Tuesday drop-out deadline. In an interview with POLITICO, Akin accused McConnell and Cornyn of being hostile toward conservatives and gravely warned them that if he loses a race that could determine the Senate majority, the blame will fall squarely on them.
Yup, the likely loss will be on "the establishment," not the guy who inserted his entire leg into his mouth and refused to get out for the good of the cause. Pathetic.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography
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