Weeks after Todd Akin's horrific statement that women's bodies shut down in cases of "legitimate rape," the Missouri Republican has a chance to win for Senate -- and his party is helping him. Why? Todd Akin can win because Republicans: one, adopted his view in their Convention platform forbidding abortion in case of rape; two, are already lining up for 2016 and (most important); three, need his vote for Supreme Court Justices.
First, as I asked the minute Republicans called on Akin to withdraw, why should Todd Akin have to go when Paul Ryan gets to stay? Both Akin and Ryan support a bill to redefine rape as "forcible" rape (H.R. 3), a bill allowing hospitals to deny abortions even to protect the life of the mother (H.R. 358), Ryan's bill granting personhood to fertilized eggs (H.R. 212), and the Romney-Ryan Republican platform for a Constitutional amendment banning abortion in ALL cases ,even rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother.
Second, many Republicans sense that Mitt Romney is going to lose and are already lining up fro 2016. We knew the minute Mike Huckabee stood up to defend Akin's legitimate rape comments that he was looking at another presidential run. Others are now bandwagoneering, from Newt Gingrich to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which had previously claimed they wanted Akin out and might explore supporting an independent for the race.
Now why would Senate Republicans flip-flop? Why would establishment Republicans display such moral bankruptcy as to ask their female donors to support a man who won't let them contemplate abortion even if raped? Because of reason number three: the United States Supreme Court.
It's all about the Justices. Supreme Court nominations are blocked or approved by United States Senators, and Republicans want Todd Akin making those decisions for Justices who would reaffirm Citizens United and overturn Roe v. Wade; who would expand freedom to carry guns but restrict freedom to marry LGBT partners. This is not just another vote up or down on the issues -- this is a critical vote to choose between a Sonia Sotomayor or an Antonin Scalia; an Elena Kagan or a Clarence Thomas. We know how Todd Akin would vote and we know how Senator Claire McCaskill has voted. The choice for women's choices could not be clearer.
As President Bill Clinton famously said, "Democrats want to fall in love; Republicans want to fall in line." Today, for their values, their Justices and their post-Romney ambitions, Republicans are falling in line for Todd Akin.
Remember in November: for 2012 Republicans, women's rights matter, but power matters more.