I have resisted blogging about the Todd Akin fiasco hitting home here in Missouri because I didn’t want to help Sen. Claire McCaskill get re-elected. That and with the economy in the shape it’s in, we have had to agree to disagree on social issues. But Sen. John C. Danforth said it best when he said, “It’s not that we keep shooting ourselves in the foot, we keep shooting ourselves in the eyes.” Akin needs to step down and the party needs to replace him with Rep. Jo Ann Emerson. She is the salve for this wound. She is a true fiscal conservative who will take a hard line on spending. Most importantly, she will convey the soft message to women, the kind of message you see and feel as opposed to hear from the lips of a slick spokesperson, that women matter to the Republican Party. And kudos to Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan for acknowledging how important this distraction could be to derailing their focus on the economy by calling Akin and politely but respectfully urging him to step aside. Missouri matters. In fact, I can think of no better state to take the lead on reconciliation than this one. We have an illustrious legacy of leadership on both sides of the aisle but it has been awhile since one of our leaders made headlines for character and not controversy.
Akin’s comments that women are less likely to get pregnant from a “legitimate rape” because their bodies would consider that a hostile encounter is unfathomable. First of all, a “legitimate rape?” Second, what a slap in the face to the many loving and nurturing women who have willed their bodies to allow them to bear children, only to find they were barren and in need of fertility treatments. As if women can use their minds to create or not create life. It also represents a new low as far as the kind of tunnel vision some men in the Republican Party exhibit when trying to corner the market on social conservatives. I recognize that it is shrewd strategy to claim ‘foot in mouth disease’ and run commercials asking for forgiveness but Mr. Akin, you will forgive us for replacing you as our candidate. Recognize that by not stepping down you are handing Claire McCaskill the election. Your party has asked you not to attend the convention, your money is drying up and yet, you are still defiant. Maybe the time has come to defy voters’ perceptions of the Republican Party being a boys’ club and be a true leader by stepping aside for the sake of the party, the State and these critical national elections.
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