Isn’t it the pinnacle of cynical political mendacity for establishment Republicans and Mitt Romney to try and shove Todd Akin out of the Missouri Senate race? First of all, he won a democratically contested primary just a few weeks ago. He got the most votes. Second, they’re not doing it because they find the views he expressed about rape and abortion objectionable. Instead, they’re trying to force him out because his ugly remark was stupid and puts them in bad odor politically. They’re trying to run away from this situation the same way they ran away from Mark Foley in the scandal involving under-age congressional pages a few years ago. For them it’s all about appearances and how they look to women voters. It’s monumentally cynical because over the years they have clearly demonstrated how little regard they actually have for protecting women’s reproductive choices. Meantime, establishment types like John Cornyn and Mitch McConnell (who relishes the prospect of becoming Senate Majority Leader in 2013, but who may see it slipping away) have a problem on their right wing with the Family Research Council and other fervent anti-choice types increasingly alienated because of the pressure on Akin. Now that it seems clear Akin’s going to stay in the race, I expect to see a growing division at the Republican Convention among establishment types and social conservatives. It’s been reported today that the platform for their big shindig includes a plank devoted to denying access to abortion in all circumstances.
For this political observer, it’s going to be fascinating to observe them try to reconcile the conflicts in their party, and watch the gender gap continue to widen in President Obama’s favor in the presidential race. I think their Tampa convention next week may in its impact on the country come to resemble the 1992 tilt when Pat Buchanan ruined George H. W. Bush’s show, shocking the country with his noxious nativism.