Unexamined Premises

Akin Must Go

Listening to Rep. Todd Akin trying to defend himself on Hannity right now — and the bad news is that he’s claiming he going to stay in the race. It’s gruesome: the poor guy still thinks the furor is over his definition of “legitimate rape.” But that’s not it at all.

Akin’s sin is terminal stupidity. To take a very winnable seat in Missouri against a very weak opponent and turn it into not only a tossup but something damaging to the Romney-Ryan campaign as well is a rare feat, but Akin just managed it. To add insult to injury, it happens on the same day that Newsweek hands the Right a major media victory — and along comes the latest avatar of the Stupid Party to change the subject.

This not about “defending our own” — this is about winning. The Right spends far too much time battling the double standard; in this case, explaining why what Akin said isn’t so bad, etc. It’s a total waste of time. Every conservative should put pressure on Akin to step down immediately, remove this distraction and put a strong candidate in the race. Paging Sarah Steelman…

Try to find the Hannity podcast as soon as it’s posted, for a textbook example of how not to do media damage control.

UPDATE: Akin’s bowing to the inevitable — or is he?

Missouri Republican Todd Akin has begun moving toward ending his candidacy after his remarks on rape and abortion provoked a firestorm, a top Republican said.

“Akin is taking concrete steps to withdraw by tomorrow at 5:00 p.m.,” a senior Republican told BuzzFeed, adding that Akin could still change his mind.

But a Republican close to Akin said his position hasn’t changed: He’s still in the race.

Tomorrow afternoon is an important deadline: If he files papers to end his candidacy in Jefferson City tomorrow he can end his candidacy unilaterally; after that, he would have to file an application in court.

Possible Republican replacements, the Republican source said, include three former senators: John Ashcroft, Jim Talent, and Kit Bond.

MORE: Audio of Akin’s interview with Hannity found via Buzzfeed: