A Tribute to Todd Akin (and Richard Mourdock)

Todd Akin and Richad Mourdock lost because of stray remarks on social isssues. Their unfliching stance on fiscal matters may have hurt them, too -- but their integrity deserves recognition.

Election 2012 is over. Although Todd Akin (R-MO) and Richard Mourdock (R-IN) advanced in the General Election for the US Senate, they lost over stray remarks over abortion. Nevertheless, they deserve our recognition for their fiscal conservatism, even if their poorly phrased comments pointed out the divergent views of the GOP's stance on abortion.

In his infamous interview, before uttering the incredulous "legitimate rape" remark, Akin outlined a policy of "optimizing life." In the cases of tubal pregnancy, he did not hesitate to support an emergency abortion. He also applauded our military in the Middle East and our peace officers on the East Coast, who risk their to save wounded and handicapped individuals. As for Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, he never suggested rape is "sometimes God's will". "God takes the worst actions of man and by His grace transforms good out of it" -- that was the gist of Mourdock's misquote. As a specific example, James Robison of "Life Today" was conceived in rape, yet he has done masterful good for the world through his television ministry. Sadly, Twitter, Facebook, and Internet-media took the childish "telephone game" to the extreme and distorted his statement beyond recognition.

As an example of the GOP infighting that ensued after the election, Firebrand Columnist Ann Coulter mercilessly attacked Akin and Mourdock, lambasting them for preening for votes from the religious right to stake out their "100% pro-life credentials". Ironically, liberal-leaning Gwen Ifill of PBS's "News Hour" championed Mourdock and Akin for standing by their pro-life views. Rather than deeming them extreme, she esteemed their integrity, a principled view of life and the role of government in preserving life. Those views did not receive the proper vetting in the media. Unfortunately, their decisions rested on sound bytes instead of a sound mind toward the entirely of their remarks.

Despite measured respect from Ifill, Akin and Mourdock lost their elections. Conspiracy theories about the Republican Party's losses in the Senate center on their misstatements. The national party should also evaluate its primary election protocols, as well. Primary voters want the most conservative candidate, but the national conference wants an "electable" one, too. Denouncing Mourdock and Akin for their views will not resolve this problem. Furthermore, the party platform still struggles to demarcate the difference between state-sanctioned crimes and personal 'sin'. "National Review" William F. Buckley argued that just because a society does not outlaw something, that does mean a community approves of the behavior.  Buckley argued for the decriminalization of controlled substances, as did the California House Rep David Dreier of San Dimas, California. The Party can be pro-life without being anti-choice, but the party platform has not yet changed. 

Putting aside the stray comments about abortion, Akin and Mourdock's open criticism of the government's role in setting prices, deficit spending, and national debt also alarmed voters. Akin indicted the federal student loan program as a "cancer of socialism" because government subsidies caused college tuition to rise, and along with classes and student debt. Mourdock resisted the 2009 auto bailouts because much of the bailout money came out of the pension funds from Indiana's teachers and police officers. Those secured bond-holders were denied the protection which they were entitled to in federal bankruptcy court. These legal "niceties" may not fit on a Twitter feed, yet Mourdock refused to forget them. His uncompromising stance not to budge unless Congress enacted real spending cuts (unfortunately) offended Indiana voters, too:

"One side has said 'Let's spend $10 billion we don't have" while the other side has said, 'Let's spend $5 billion we don't have." Both sides then compromise on spending $7.5 billion."

Mourdock rejected that kind of "bipartisanship". Of course, headlines with "Mourdock wants cuts" or "Akin cares about entry level workers" do not sell papers or spur website views.

The two candidates' attention to fiscal reform also set them up for stringent opposition, but they should not be shamed for refusing to ignore the elephant of big spending and national debt standing in the middle of Congress.

Instead of talking about rape, the life of the mother, and the decision to terminate a life, Akin and Mourdock needed to focus on the "rape" of government spending which is hurting mothers and the unborn for years to come. They were selling this message pretty well to their conservative constituencies. Small wonder that their "Big Government" Democratic challengers pounced on stray remarks rather than offer a differing economic policy, since they never had one.

Aside from their poor responses on social views, Akin and Mourdock should be honored for their commitment to fiscal discipline at all costs. Let's hope that the GOP accents the fiscal message while moderating their message on social issues in elections to come.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Arthur Christopher Schaper November 28, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Regarding Gwen Ifill's comments on behalf of Akin and Mourdock, please visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCjYBj0EO9A
Charlotte November 28, 2012 at 05:16 PM
You must be kidding right, Is this one of those punked articles? Bad timing patch, bad timing.
Sensible? I think so November 30, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Those were NOT "stray remarks". When asked about abortion in cases of rape, Rep. Akin responded by talking about the rapist and the zygote, which he referred to as a "child". His failure to even acknowledge the traumas to the rape victim was heartless. His failure to allow each rape victim, some of whom are legally children, to handle their personal situation individually is abhorrent. While I doubt that Rep. Akin would "not hesitate to support an emergency abortion", it doesn't matter what he, you, and I think. That decision belongs to a woman and her physicians, not us. Your "'rape' of government" phrase is abhorrent. Rape is a violent, personal, non-consensual act. Government spending is not, regardless of all the hysteria you try to whip up. You obviously don't know Todd Akin well. Go ahead, name all of the legislation that he introduced in his 12 years in the House that went on to become law. Answer: 3 bills, all to name post offices. Go ahead, tell us what percentage of his votes missed in the 3rd quarter of this year while he was campaigning (and doing a nationally recognized terrible job of that). Answer: 87.5%. His opponent missed zero (0), and won! (continued in next comment)
Sensible? I think so November 30, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Go ahead, show us how Rep. Akin worked with his colleagues to actually DO ANYTHING concrete about our country's economic issues. Lip service by itself accomplishes nothing. Neither does a "Pledge Protection Act" (2002, 2004, 2005, and 2007), a "Parent's Right to Know Act" (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009), a "No Taxation Without Representation Amendment", a "Nation Year of the Bible" proclamation, or a "Support the goals of the Ten Commandments Commission" resolution. Yup, all introduced by Rep. Akin. And all failed! And it seems he was a little slow to learn that some of those were wastes of time and effort. "Optimize life": Akin used to use that phrase when discussing the difficult questions that arise around abortion. I had never heard that phrase before I heard it from him. One definition of optimize is "to make as useful, effective, or functional as possible". The rape victim's life must enter into the equation, but Akin doesn't do that. Another definition of "optimize" is "to exploit fully". Maybe that's why he has stopped using the phrase? Akin's and Murdock's comments on rape are not just "Poor responses on social views". They are utter affronts to the majority of our citizens and their rights, as well as willful and deliberate ignorance of science, medicine, sociology, and human history. They are misogynistic fantasies. Shame on you for minimizing them. Shame on you for perpetuating them.
Arthur Christopher Schaper December 08, 2012 at 08:05 PM
I do not think that your comments measure up to your moniker: "Sensible, I think so" -- the vitriol of your comments betray a senseless lack of sensibility. Use your common sense and share your two cents without the insensate rage. Otherwise, thanks for sharing.
Arthur Christopher Schaper December 08, 2012 at 08:16 PM
I concede that a better GOP candidate could have run. (I anticipate muted sarcasm for stating the obvious) Akin was better than Christine O'Donnell (R-Delaware), and he stuck to his principles. He was elected to run against McCaskill. Now, Missouri is stuck with her. Nevertheless, I stand by the simple hope of Milton Friedman: "Get the wrong people to do the right things." McCaskill is wrong for Missouri, but Missourians can make her do the right things.
Sensible? I think so December 08, 2012 at 09:17 PM
"McCaskill is wrong for Missouri": move here and vote, if you wish. Until then, your opinion means nothing.
Sensible? I think so December 08, 2012 at 09:19 PM
"Insensate rage": nope. I'm just pointing out facts and taking you to task for ignoring them.
Sensible? I think so December 08, 2012 at 11:24 PM
"McCaskill is wrong for Missouri": except for the 54.7% who voted for her.
Arthur Christopher Schaper December 14, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Your opinion means enough for me to ask these two questions: 1. If another GOP candidate had won the nomination, would you have voted for him or her? 2. If you would have voted for a GOP candidate, what can the GOP do to deal with these "gaffes" or the extreme results in some of these primaries? These primary fights are now hurting more than they are helping. Voters deserve conservative candidates. From what I saw from Missourians who rejected McCaskill's ObamaCare support, her policies were not in synch with the Show Me State. Another example of the "primary problem": Mike Castle in 2010 should have won in Delaware, and the more moderate Chris Shays in 2012 (maybe) would have done better in his home state of Connecticut. Sensible? I hope so -- your thoughts?
Sensible? I think so December 23, 2012 at 11:11 PM
I apologize for the delayed response. It's been a busy time. 1. I can't answer if I would have voted for another candidate. I'm not trying to be flip. It depends on who the candidate would have been, and that's just a hypothetical that I'm not willing to explore. 2. The whole point of my long post above was that Akin's comment wasn't a "gaffe". It's what he believes. And the GOP has more than just a "primary problem".
Arthur Christopher Schaper December 24, 2012 at 02:50 AM
I would also add, with what I have learned about other things: This country does not need the Ten Commandments posted anywhere. The new dispensation is one of grace, but specifically importantly, religion must be a private matter. Prayer in schools, like any other diverse spiritual activity, must remain a free choice. I cannot write this enough: (in my opinion) Akin was better than McCaskill, just as Romney (who was my third choice!) was better than Obama. If there had been a better candidate than Akin, I would have voted for him. I do not support "no exceptions", but I also despise the "illegitimate rape" of the "entitlement programs" in Washington D.C. What will Claire do next? I
Arthur Christopher Schaper January 20, 2013 at 12:35 AM
Another post-Akin post, this time reflecting on the double-standard of the "Mainstream Media" and the "illegitimate rape" of our nation's fortunes and future because of the fiscal crises in Washington, which Senator McCaskill has either enabled or ignored. http://florissant.patch.com/blog_posts/todd-akin-whoopi-goldberg-and-the-rape-of-our-countrys-fiscal-future


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