Would it really be an election season in America without some ginned up controversy dominating the airwaves, totally and inherently smothering actual productive and rational discourse?
Of course not—this modern political climate is a joke (a joke long gone stale after overzealous usage became abusing the carcass of the proverbial dead horse, but a joke nevertheless) and shows no indication of changing.
The most recent incantation of the joke, the attacks upon Representative Todd Akin (R-MO)—who is running against Claire McCaskill (D-MO) for one of Missouri’s senate seats—for his absurdly stupid comments regarding “legitimate rape,” is just as stale as the anteceding “jokes” of the campaign, such as that faux play on “civility” and Mitt Romney’s taxes (“The word’s out, let him prove me wrong! LOL”). He—Akin—said something absurd, stupid, and factually illegitimate. But, we get it: he’s human, and he screwed up. And he’s apologized profusely. If you disagree with him in policy decisions, good for you. Voice said opposition—you’re guaranteed a voice by the first amendment. So, now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can move on to substantive policy discussion and why he justifiably is—or is not—the right man for the job of Senator.
Ugh. No, unfortunately not. People on all sides of the political spectrum are still harping on this issue. Left, right, wherever. To that, I must wonder aloud, why is the punditry and candidacy on the right still harping on this issue? To continue to do so is stupid, petulant, and above all, it undermines the chances the Republicans have to take back the senate in November. Defying “conventional wisdom,” I agree with the Missouri Republican Assembly:
“The Republican leadership needs to grow a spine and disallow the Democrats, who always support their candidates even when they are wrong, to dictate our stance,” the group’s statement said. “… While Todd may have been indiscreet in his word choice, he was not wrong in his facts. Todd can win despite this misstep. All Republicans will lose if they continue throwing their candidates under the bus because of a poor word choice.” –h/t CNN
Republicans desperately need to grow a spine, cut the infighting, stand up to the democrats and the (quote, unquote) liberal media, and win the damn race.
Ad hominem aside, the game being played in Missouri—actually, who am I kidding, nationwide—is akin to a game of bitty-basketball I played at the tender age of five-years-old. Needless to say, it didn’t end well for me. I ran around the court, waving my arms, and playing on defense the entire time. I still remember, fifteen years later, my mother wondering aloud, seemingly bewildered, “He played defense the whole game! Why?!” I sit here now, banging my head on the proverbial table, wondering the exact same thing about the Republican Party, both nationally and on this state level. It seems as though they—much like myself playing bitty-ball—don’t fully comprehend the situation at hand.
Here, let me give you a grown-up example:
What would happen if [insert your favorite football team here] had literally no offensive capabilities to speak of, but had a decent defense squad to at least be able to shut down the other team from time to time? If you said something along the line of your-favorite-team scoring zero points while shutting down the other team, but ultimately allowing them to score a few touchdowns, congratulations on your prescience because you read my mind.
That’s essentially what’s happening with the Republican Party in their opposition to the Democrats. Sure, they have a decent response team that does pretty well from time to time in responding to the malicious and overall ridiculous attacks they endure daily. But, literally, there is no offensive capability in their response array. The Democrats literally own every message, whether that is Mitt Romney’s taxes or Akin’s stupid comments.
I mean, just think about it: You have Senator Reid, abusing his privilege of pulpit (and rational, logical discourse), saying “Look at him, not paying his taxes for 10 whole years! He’s a felon! Let him prove me wrong!” And, in trademark styling, Romney’s camp responds, begrudgingly, “Harry’s a liar—put up or shut u—“, inevitably interrupted by incessant, inane calls such as, “WHY HASN’T MITT ROMNEY GIVEN US TAX RETURNS?”
…and that was one of his stronger responses, of which, admittedly, I was almost proud.
Basically, the Republicans need to realize that this modern political climate is nasty, and to win in a nasty climate, you can’t be clean. An ultimate form of defeat is to defeat an opponent at his own game—truly, it would be a refreshing change of pace to watch the Republicans dominate a message for once, rather than the Democrats and their trademark demagoguery. The only way to continually win is to grow a spine and to stand up for yourself. Admit it when you’ve made a mistake—as in the case of Akin—and move back to policy. When the opponent doesn’t want to, hit back hard but change it up. The simple, “Distractions” line about a lack of substance, etc simply won’t work in every case.
This is the way to win Missouri’s senate seat—and subsequently unseat Claire McCaskill, a veteran member of the Democratic Party’s senate group—and it would be monumental victory. It’s something Republicans can’t take lightly if they want that coveted majority in the senate. To continue to let others dominate their message shows just how lightly they’re treading, as if they’re afraid to get a bit messy in a climate that’s a perpetual cyclone of mud, filth, and trash.
Alas, the gig is up, the joke’s been told. Now it’s time to see how the Republicans are going to respond. Are they going to blush and hold their head down and reply, “No, that isn’t true!” or are they going to give back just as well as they got? If they truly wish to attain that majority, they’d offer up and throw back.
I guess we’ll see, won’t we?
h/t STLToday.com for featured image