The Show-Me State GOP’s Showy Senate Nominee

In her Missouri primary recap this morning, Blue Girl reported great glee in the camp of Sen. Claire McCaskill over the decision by GOP voters to make Rep. Todd Akin her opponent. As national political folk begin to take a closer look at Akin, Democratic satisfaction at his nomination becomes very understandable.

Steve Benen has a quick greatest-hits compilation of some of Akin’s more inflammatory remarks over the years:

The congressman believes the very existence of the federal student-loan program is a “stage-three cancer of socialism.” He’s also eager to eliminate the minimum wage, believes liberalism is based on “a hatred of God,” believes the Bible should be a “blueprint” for American government; and wants to impeach President Obama because, in his mind, the president is “a complete menace to our civilization.”

All righty then. But it gets even better: Akin’s not one of those rich “patriots” who has emerged from his job-creatin’ private-sector career to play Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: he’s a career politician who has been in public office since 1989, and in Congress since 2001. So he has a long voting record through which he has expressed his extremist views, and as Greg Sargent illustrated today, you don’t have to dig too far to find some bright gems. My personal favorite is his vote (along with 11 Republicans and against 159 Republicans) against a sense-of-the-House resolution suggesting that the National School Breakfast Program has “had a positive impact on classroom performance.” I’m sure there’s a lot more nuggets buried in the Congressional Record.

One little item in Akin’s biography caught my attention: he holds a divinity degree from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis. Covenant is affiliated with the Presbyerian Church in America, a fundamentalist denomination formed in revolt against the “liberalism” of the mainline Presbyterian Church (USA). More interestingly, the school is home to the Francis Schaeffer Institute, named for and continuing the mission of the famous conservative evangelical controversialist who, among other things, is usually credited with convincing many of his coreligionists to join the fight against legalized abortion as a top priority.

Schaeffer also loved to joist with people who didn’t agree with him, and thus it’s not surprising the Institute named after him claims it “exists to train God’s servants to demonstrate compassionately and defend reasonably the claims of Christ upon the whole of life.” From everything I’ve heard and read about Todd Akin, he could have used a little extra training in compassion and reasonableness.

All in all, Akin could be this cycle’s Sharron Angle or Christine O’Donnell. That’s not to say he’ll be easy to beat: after all, Rand Paul and Jim DeMint are in the Senate today, and Ted Cruz looks sure to join them.

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.