Republicans desperately want Todd Akin to pull an Ayn Rand, go Galt, and drop out of the Missouri Senate race. The National Republican Senatorial Committee has already released a statement threatening to withdraw financial support “if he continues with this misguided campaign.” Mitt Romney, demonstrating his characteristic political courage by echoing every other person in the Republican Party, has called for Akin to leave the race. Despite this, Akin says he's staying in.
If he loses, and Claire McCaskill wins another term, he could cost Republicans control ofthe Senate. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the damage Akin could do to the GOP this fall. Remember, Akin first entered the national spotlight at the beginningof this year, when he worked with Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan to redefine rape and limit the extent to which Medicaid could cover abortion services. The effort failed, but it introduced “forcible rape” to the political lexicon. With the economy as the foremost issue in voter’s minds, Ryan has been able to escape scrutiny for that episode in national politics. But the combination of Akin’s statement and the GOP’s platform—which calls for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion—have brought social issues back into thespotlight.
It’s hard to overstate how dangerous this is for Mitt Romney. If Democrats can tie Ryan to Akin, and make this election about whether the country wants to go backward on women’s rights, then Romney will have a hard breaking the threshold for victory. The good news is that, with the convention ahead, Romney has an opportunity to change the subject. Thebad news is that Akin isn’t going away—along with Romney’s tax returns and Bain Capital, he is almost certain to dog Romney and Ryan from now until November.
So They Say
"The other day, a British friend asked me if there was anything about the United States I disliked. I was happily on vacation and couldn’t think of anything. But now I remember. I really can’t stand America’s liberal bloggers."
—Niall Ferguson, who, in the wake of the backlash against his Newsweek cover story, has found something he dislikes more than Obama's economic record.
Daily Meme: July's Big $$$ Chill
- Yesterday was the deadline for Federal Election Committee filings, and July marks the last filing period before donors go back to school and the fundraising truly ramps up in the three months before Election Day. So far, the narrative hasn't changed. Republicans are kicking Democrats' butt.
- Here's some charts to prove it.
- The two big outside spenders supporting Mitt Romney spent $31 million, whilethe only big outside spender supporting the incumbent spent less than $4 million.
- And in July, the Obama campaign spent $10 million more than it raised, which could explain why his e-mails are getting friendlier and friendlier.
- But Restore Our Future and American Crossroads also spent more than they brought in.
- A big Obama bundler just donated $10,000 to ... Paul Ryan?!
- And Priorities USA—which cut spending by 60 percent in July—is still looking for its Bob Perry or Sheldon Adelson.
- Further down the tickets, the GOP continues its money reign—the Republican National Congressional Committee outraised the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee by $3.5 million.
- But maybe the big Super-O-Rama planned for the Democratic National Committee—featuring Jessica Alba and Pitbull—will be able to close thedifference a bit.
- On the campaign-finance front, there is a super PAC starting a big anti-Koch brothers ad blitz.
What We're Writing
- Monica Potts lists five things that the government is better at handling than you are.
- Paul Waldman asks: Why is it bad that Obama's not a fan of billionaires?
What We're Reading
- John Cassidy tries to unpack what the Paul Ryan pick says about the unknowable Mitt Romney.
- Jeffrey Smith explains why Akin didn't drop out today, and Molly Ball writes that this is bad news bears for Republicans.
- According to Amazon, conservative authors are way more popular than liberal writers (and they aren't even including Twilight!).
- Adam Davidson writes about Paul Ryan's Austrian economist role model.
- Noreen Malone asks: Is Paul Ryan the perfect Gen X politician?
- Ryan Reilly introduces us to the voting rights group getting ready to take on 2012two blocks away from the White House.
Poll of the Day
Todd Akin's verbal eruption on Sunday hasn't put much of a dent in the Missouri Senate race polls yet—according to Public Policy Polling, Akin still holds a one point lead over incumbent Claire McCaskill, leaving the race in the same place it's been since May.
For more polling information, go to the Prospect’s 2012 election map.