Last month, Politico.com reported that Todd Akin was considering running for U.S. Senate again. Akin had failed to unseat an incumbent senator in 2012 despite a favorable political atmosphere, in large part to a rather dim-witted comment about “legitimate rape.” (Akin later said he would not be running.)
I am sympathetic to Akin. One stupid comment should not define you for the rest of your life. We have all said stupid or ignorant things from time to time, and (unlike Akin) we have not seen our comments turn into a national news story for months. Democrats are still going back to Akin’s comment, nearly three years later.
But fairly or not, the reality is that Akin is too damaged to be a serious contender, especially to unseat an incumbent Republican who won the general election with a comfortable margin in 2010. Akin would not win the primary, and even if by some chance he won he would be damaged goods heading into the general election.
Akin made the right decision. Sometimes, it is necessary to put one’s personal ambitions (and ego) aside and do what is best for the conservative movement. A primary challenge to Roy Blunt would only divide the party heading into the general election, leaving the Democrats with a stronger chance to take the seat.
Akin should take the opportunity to reform his image and show himself to be knowledgeable about public policy. (Not to mention basic human anatomy.) Perhaps there will be another opportunity for him to run for office in the future, but 2016 is likely too soon. One does not need to be a candidate for office, of course, to contribute to conservative causes and to help advance a conservative legislative agenda.