And Then You Go and Blow It All By Saying Something Stupid

People say regrettably stupid things every day, as you’ve no doubt noticed, but rarely are they as consequential as the stupid things that Missouri’s Rep. Todd Akin recently said about rape and abortion.

As most Americans within earshot of a television or radio know by now, the Republican congressman was asked by an interviewer if he opposed abortion even in cases and responded that in cases of “legitimate rape” a woman’s body has “ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” This is medically incorrect and inarguably stupid, and so clearly and outrageously stupid that the Democrats immediately pounced on it, the Republican presidential challenger and other party stalwarts just as quickly denounced it, and even Akin himself took to the airwaves to acknowledge the stupidity and apologize profusely.

The remarks would be just another one of the countless stupid things politicians have said, as readily forgotten as the rest of them, except that Akin is running for the Senate against the extremely unpopular Sen. Claire McCaskill. The race offered the Republicans a good chance to pick up another much-needed Senate seat, but Akin’s stupid remarks have almost certainly changed the odds in McCaskill’s favor.

Which is a shame, because for many years McCaskill has not only been saying stupid things but has done such consequentially stupid things as voting for Obamacare and hundreds of billions of dollars of other wasteful spending. In a more perfect world this long record of stupid actions would outweigh one stupid remark, even one so astoundingly stupid as Akin’s, but in this world the fresher sound bite almost always carries the greatest weight.

Many Republicans are therefore calling on Akin to withdraw from the race and allow the state party to choose an untainted candidate, and we hereby add another voice to the chorus. There have been conflicting reports about Akin’s willingness to bow out, but as of Monday he was on the Sean Hannity radio program vowing to stay in the fight even as the host pleaded with him to reconsider, but there is still time for the Republicans to cobble together a winning campaign by a new candidate.

It would be unfortunate if the Republicans failed to take the Senate and missed a crucial opportunity to repeal Obamacare and repair some of the damage done by Democrats such as McCaskill because of a stupid remark and an even stupider stubborn pride.

— Bud Norman