It took just two words for Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri, to wreck his political future.
The two words — “legitimate rape” — were uttered during a local TV interview last weekend as part of a longer (and kooky) argument by Akin that many women who have been raped don’t become pregnant. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down,” he said. (In case you had any doubts, Akin is a member of Congress, not a doctor.)
A national firestorm ensued, with nearly every prominent Republican in the country — up to and including presidential candidate Mitt Romney — calling on Akin to step aside so he wouldn’t cost the party a very winnable race against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D).
But Akin let a Tuesday deadline to remove himself from the ballot pass, even as groups such as the National Republican Senatorial Committee were pulling millions out of the contest, where their hopes for victory were fading fast.
By week’s end, Akin had turned from apologetic to defiant, blasting the GOP establishment and the media in a series of tweets. One sample: “The media is against us. The Washington elites are against us. The party bosses are against us.”
Akin has become the political equivalent of those Japanese soldiers who continued to fight World War II after their side conceded. He’s a political dead man walking, and everyone seems to know it. Everyone, that is, but Akin.
Todd Akin, for not grasping that “legitimate rape” totally delegitimized your candidacy, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.
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