FLORIDA, October 26, 2012 — This year’s U.S. Senate races have, in many respects, proven to be more captivating than the presidential election.
Captivating in anything but a good way, of course.
First it was Todd Akin, an incumbent congressman from the St. Louis suburbs, who said that abortion should be illegal in cases of rape because women are unable to become pregnant from such an atrocity.
Next, current Indiana treasurer Richard Mourdock remarked that pregnancies resulting from rapes are intended by God. When given the opportunity to walk back his statement, Mourdock declined.
Sadly, both of these men are Republicans. Even worse is that their comments have provided Democratic campaign operatives with evidence for their narrative of a GOP-led resistance to women’s reproductive rights.
The ideas had by Akin and Mourdock are telling of a dilemma that extends far beyond electoral politics. It has become clear that all too many Republicans, most of them middle aged males, have frighteningly authoritarian views about the control which women should have over their own lives.
It is also clear that these same men have little to no problem intertwining their religious views with public policy measures.
This is precisely why Akin and Mourdock ought to be defeated. Their opponents, Sen. Claire McCaskill and Rep. Joe Donnelly, respectively, have proven track records as congressional moderates.
In my opinion, they are far better suited to represent the interests of ordinary Americans than their challengers.
I do realize that Republican voters in Missouri might have a difficult time voting for McCaskill, since she supported the President’s healthcare reform overhaul. Hoosier Republicans should have an easier scenario with Donnelly, though, as he is right-of-center on most social issues.
For us Republicans across the rest of the country, simply being aware about how far the right wing of our party has drifted is more than enough.
Hopefully, future political science textbooks will hold Akin and Mourdock as shining examples of how winnable races can be lost. That these two had to sabotage their own campaigns, along with possible down ticket races, is more than unfortunate.
Nonetheless, if Akin and Mourdock lose, moderate Republicanism might stand to make a comeback during the years ahead. Far more importantly, though, women will be able to know that their right to choose still stands — even in the worst of situations.
Something of that magnitude is worth more than a Republican Senate majority ever possibly could be.
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