Todd Akin is the Republican establishment


In calling on Rep. Todd Akin to abandon his race for the Senate seat in Missouri, both Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urged him to put his country first. McConnell invoked the nation’s welfare by saying Akin’s apology was “not sufficient” when “the future of our country is at stake.” Meanwhile, Romney said Akin ought to do what “would be in the best interest of our country.”

What I find curious is how neither leader of the Republican Party expressed concern for the future of the Republican Party. Sure, GOPers like to think that their interests and the national interest are one and the same. But there’s something different about this latest iteration. It’s as if the so-called GOP establishment — the Romneys, the McConnells, the Roves — realized they aren’t the establishment at all. Akin is.

Just look at what happened yesterday. While the nation was engulfed in a ludicrous conversation about “legitimate rape,” “forcible rape” and “personhood,” the Republican platform committee approved a draft that reaffirmed the party’s extreme anti-abortion stance and called for a constitutional amendment to protect all human life.

Yes, previous nominees have completely ignored the inconvenient or untenable base-pleasing policy planks of the party. But yesterday’s actions were further evidence that Akin and his extreme and offensive views are no longer the fringe. They are the views of the real establishment, an establishment that now boasts the presumptive Republican vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan, as one of their own. So, in a way, the future of the country IS at stake, as McConnell warned.

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.
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