It has been bouncing around all of the media outlets for the past 48 hours, so you've probably heard the gist of it by now. But in summation: Rep. Todd Akin is a pro-life Republican now running for the Senate in hopes of unseating Democrat Claire McCaskill. Akin made a comment about pregnancies rarely ever occurring from, as he put it, "legitimate rape." Shortly thereafter the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse swept down from the sky amidst continent-swallowing earthquakes and a barrage of flaming meteors, bringing with them the end of the world.
What Akin was trying to articulate was that less than one percent of abortions take place because of rape. Whether this belief of his is true (some sources agree with him while others go as high as 5 percent), that is all he was trying to say. It was not his intention to imply that some rapes are not "rape-rape," as Whoopi Goldberg would call it, but, unfortunately, that is what he implied. While what he said may have been true, it was about as stupid a thing a Senate hopeful could have said in a race against a woman during a political season in which the Democrats have managed to convince some voters that the Republicans have been waging a "war on women."
This is why Akin needs to drop out of the race. At the time of this writing, although some high-profile Republicans have called for his exiting the race, including Sean Hannity, Akin says he intends to stick it out. "I'm not a quitter," he says, "and my belief is we're going to take this thing forward."
There are four potential scenarios that could play out now:
- Akin drops out, a replacement is found, and the replacement loses
- Akin drops out, a replacement is found, and the replacement wins
- Akin stays and loses the election
- Akin stays and wins the election
In scenario 1, we lose a senate seat after we did all that we could. This is better than losing with the knowledge that we could have done more to ensure victory.
Scenario 2 is obviously the best outcome. The GOP can't be smeared that we allowed a "woman-hater" to represent us, and we gain a Senate seat. And for a trifecta, no more Claire McCaskill.
Scenario 3 is probably seen by most as the worst of the outcomes, but such a scenario — Akin's losing — means that Republican voters did not vote for the "pro-rape" guy and therefore they can't be smeared. The downside, of course, is that McCaskill remains in office. A price to pay, to be sure.
Scenario 4 — Akin staying and winning — is, I believe, the worst possible outcome. If Akin stays, his persistence will continue to give ammunition to the Democrats. And when he wins, his mere existence in the Senate will be the "proof" the Democrats have long been seeking in order to continue their perpetuation of the myth that Republicans are bad for women. "The GOP didn't make Akin drop out! The GOP agrees with Akin! Hide your daughters, hide your mothers, vote Democrat!" Not to mention the potentially disastrous effect his continued campaigning could have on the outcome of the upcoming presidential election, an election in which we need as many women voters as we can get.
So, Rep. Akin, for the sake of the country, stop. Drop out. In fact, don't just drop out, but leave the House of Representatives too. As long as you're around, you're giving at least some credence to the Democrats' slander, and that is a liability we as a country just can't afford.