The Republican Party establishment is falling like dominoes against Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.). The latest to do so is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.). In a blunt statement issued this afternoon, he wrote, “In his heart of hearts I’m certain that he is sincerely sorry for what he said but in this instance, when the future of our country is at stake, sorry is not sufficient.” Notice that “sorry is not sufficient” not because Akin expounded on the mechanics of “legitimate rape,” whatever that means, but because of the damage it has done to the GOP’s chances of taking the Missouri Senate seat from incumbent Claire McCaskill and the Senate chamber from the Democrats.
But right now, at least, Akin couldn’t care less what McConnell and other Republican Party establishment types demand of him. While Akin didn’t run in the Republican primary as an anti-establishment guy, he certainly is now. As he told Mike Huckabee today on his radio show, “What we’re seeing right now is a tremendous outpouring of support from just regular small people. They’re not the big party people.”
We’ll know for sure at 6 p.m. ET whether Akin is in it to win it. But one thing is clear if he does indeed stay in the race — even after the Sept. 25 deadline to strike his name from the ballot by a court order — the big party people will have lost control of their party.
[Update, 4:45 p.m.: After four former U.S. Senators from Missouri called on Akin to quit the race, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney this afternoon added his voice to theirs:
As I said yesterday, Todd Akin's comments were offensive and wrong and he should very seriously consider what course would be in the best interest of our country. Today, his fellow Missourians urged him to step aside, and I think he should accept their counsel and exit the Senate race.
The screws continue to turn.]