Mystery:Did Party Bosses Start the Media Bullying of Akin?
The media bullying of Todd Akin has been an odd episode in American political history, a firestorm occurring on August 20 and 21, 2012. It consisted of an unprecedented attempt to force Todd Akin to withdraw from the race for U.S. Senate because of his restatement of a medical view in a little-noticed interview.
There are reasons to think that this incident was sparked as much by a few Republican Party bosses as by liberals:
- The timing of the incident was just prior to the deadline for the nominated candidate to withdraw from the race. Liberals would not have been focusing on that deadline, but Republican Party bosses would be.
- Less than two weeks earlier, Todd Akin surprisingly defeated Establishment-backed candidates who had spent heavily on the race. Sour grapes by someone?
- Democrats had no incentive to try to force Akin from the race, because he would simply be replaced by another candidate just as likely to win the general election.
- Within hours of reports of the incident, Karl Rove declared that his Super PAC would not spend money on the race if Akin remained in it. The Republican National Committee acted with similar odd haste in declaring that it would not help the Republican nominee.
- Within hours Paul Ryan was also told to call Akin to tell him to pull out, which Ryan did. Hopefully Ryan learned something from Akin's refusal to cave in.
- Five establishment Republicans in Missouri, many of whom backed his primary opponents whom Akin had just defeated, demanded that he pull out in an unusual signed letter.
- Reporters at some liberal media outlets, such as Politico and the Washington Post, either expressed sympathy for Akin or were more balanced than the phony conservative pundits who depend heavily on Fox News Channel for their publicity and income.
- The Wall Street Journal, under common ownership with the Fox News Channel, continued to pretend that Akin may withdraw a full day after he made it clear he would not, and after liberal media outlets had moved on.
- There is precedent for Party bosses having ambushed a conservative before: Trent Lott was forced out of his Senate Majority Leader position and replaced by a lackey for Party bosses (Bill Frist) based on an offhand comment at a birthday party video that the media would not likely have paid any initial attention to, unless incited to do so by a Party insider.
- The incident would not be particularly helpful to Barack Obama's reelection chances, because it brought him down to the level of a Senate challenger in a state Obama will likely lose anyway.
- Todd Akin himself, with decades of experience in politics, blamed party bosses more than anyone for making the issue bigger than it was.
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