Missouri Progressives Encourage Todd Akin To Make a Spectacle of Himself

Now that it turns out our Missouri friend Blue Girl was (at least temporarily) wrong in predicting GOP Senate nominee Todd Akin would be forced off the ballot yesterday, she is full of joy at the development:

Akin’s decision to stay in and brazen it out, at least for now, is just about the best news I’ve had lately, and to put that in the proper perspective, I had major surgery and a benign pathology report last month. I don’t think I have ever been so overjoyed in my life – weddings and births in the immediate family and the day of Jesse Helmes’ funeral excepted. Good for Akin. I didn’t believe that I had lived a good enough life for the fates to smile on me so, but there it is. I don’t know if it was me or Claire McCaskill, but one of us has been living right, and in case it’s me I’m not changing a thing. Akin staying in – whether he stays in until November or gets out in September – is the best news Claire McCaskill (or the state’s political bloggers) could have dared to hope for. We’re all throwin’ pinches of salt over our left shoulders for luck, and then pinching ourselves to see if we’re dreaming.

We’re all familiar with the phenomenon of predicting one thing while hoping for another (a sure way to avoid total disappointment), but in Blue Girl’s case, the payoff for Akin’s persistence is immediate and tangible:

His decision to stay in widens the chasm between the business and religious wings of the Missouri Republican Party. It also means the state party is due for either a reckoning or a split, and there’s no getting around it any longer.

Akin won the primary, but he wasn’t the establishment choice. He horrifies the establishment because he really believes the nutty things he says, so losing the establishment support is a badge of honor to his die-hard, wingnut, base of support.

Losing the money, on the other hand, might could matter. Already the ten-point lead he had over Claire McCaskill last week has narrowed to one point. Part of it was his horrifying and pig-ignorant comment about rape and pregnancy, but part of it is the sudden cessation of vile, heinous attack ads that Karl Rove’s dark-money outfit has buried her under for the last year-and-a-half.

Whether he stays in all the way to election day or asks a court to remove him from the ballot by the drop-dead date of September 25th remains to be seen, but I suspect that he’s “in for a penny, in for a pound” and he is not only going to go down with his freak-flag flying, he is going to take some other state-wide candidates with him. If he stays in all the way to election day and if Democrats hold the Senate, the Democratic candidate wins the open Secretary of State contest and the Democratic challenger unseats the Lt. Governor, Todd Akin will be a bigger goat than all the 2010 wingnuts who wanted to be Senators – Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Ken Buck and Joe Miller combined.

I might add that if Akin wins, he will likely be a bigger pain in the butt to his Republican colleagues than a quieter and more beholden nominee with virtually identical voting inclinations in Congress, which describes anyone likely to be chosen by the state GOP to replace him if he folds. So all in all, there’s little to dislike in this strange development in the Show-Me State.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.