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by Peterr

Todd Akin, Rush Limbaugh, John Ashcroft, and Mark Twain

5:55 am in Conservatism, Elections by Peterr

Attaturk, that Iowan to the north, had much fun mocking Missouri’s GOP senate nominee, Representative Todd Akin for his comments on “legitimate rape.” And those comments were truly worthy of mockery.

To people here in Missouri, Akin’s comments were not terribly surprising. Akin is a known commodity — known to be highly conservative and well in keeping with a non-trivial slice of the Missouri electorate.

Like Br’er Rabbit telling Br’er Fox not to throw him in the briar patch, Claire McCaskill ran ads on Fox News during the GOP primary fight, calling Akin “too conservative for Missouri”. With an endorsement like that, conservatives in the GOP primary race were happy to hand Akin a victory with 36% of the vote. His two challengers were John Brunner (a conservative businessman trying to run a Romney-style “I know how to run things” campaign) who got 30%, and Sarah “I Want to be a Palin” Steelman who got 29%. The GOP primary was always going to go to the candidate who could best appeal to the most conservative elements of the Missouri GOP, and that was Akin.

And it wasn’t even close.

News flash to the rest of the nation: the 36% who supported Akin are neither surprised nor bothered by Akin’s comments. He may have said publicly what perhaps (for political reasons) ought to have been kept private, but make no mistake. The far right wing of Missouri’s republican party likes this guy and likes what he said. Period. If Akin were to quit the race because of pressure from Romney or Mitch McConnell, they’d be beyond angry. Akin is their guy, and they would not take kindly to outside agitators forcing him to quit.

Akin is not an aberration in the Missouri GOP. This is the state that gave the nation Rush “She’s a slut” Limbaugh, after all, as well as John “cover up the lady parts on that statue in the lobby” Ashcroft.

But this is also the state whose internal political debates over slavery — conducted with the same sense of nuance and humility as Limbaugh, Ashcroft, and Akin discuss sex — shaped the pen and wit of young Samuel Clemens. If Missouri’s politicians were reasonable folks, Clemens might never have taken up political commentary and satire as Mark Twain.

I look at my kid and his classmates and wonder which of them will grow up to be the next great political satirist. God knows that with folks like Akin around, there’s plenty for them to work with as they learn the fine art of political snark.

UPDATE: County by county primary results are here. Looking at the map, you can see a couple of things. (1) The big dark blue patch just west and north of St. Louis is Akin’s conservative home district. (2) The blue patch in the southwestern corner of the state is John Ashcroft country. (3) The blue patch in the southeastern corner of the state is where Rush has his roots.

by Peterr

I Get Phone Calls

10:14 am in Elections by Peterr

<ring ring>

Me: “Hello?”

<pause for computer to realize a real person answered and start the recorded message>

Perky female voice: “Hello, Illinois!”

Me, thinking: “Illinois? Who the hell is this?”

PFV: “This is Sarah Palin.”

Me, thinking: “OMG. This should be fun.”

PFV: “We need conservatives who (insert list of stump speech red meat) . . .  Every vote is important, so vote for people who share our values and get your friends and family members to do the same.”

Fast male announcer voice: “Paid for by Faith and Freedom coalition”

<click>

First, I’m still laughing at whoever thinks I still live in IL. I visit a lot, but haven’t officially lived there for over twenty years. Can’t their robocall programmers figure out that my area code is in greater Kansas City MO, not east of the Mississippi River?

Second, I was struck by what wasn’t there: specifics. No names of candidates to back/fight, no ballot initiatives to support/oppose, just “vote our values.” I don’t think there was any mention of God or religion, nor any kind of local issue or candidate (either in IL or MO) on that list of red-meat stuff — it was mostly generic limited government kinds of things.

Sarah rattled off her list pretty fast with her perky female voice, and it was designed not to elict thought and contemplation but rather to get the hearer’s head nodding. “Yep, yep, yep, yep . . . ” After getting the recipient of the call nodding along, she moves to the ask: GOTV. This call is targeted at getting out votes for the right — but in a fairly undifferentiated scattershot way. (If they were calling me, “fairly undifferentiated” is a major understatement. Sure robo-calls might be cheap, but this is campaign FAIL stuff.)

Third, the funders — an organization that tries to melt Christian conservatives with limited government types. They’re a 501(c)4 group, so they can do issue advertising, but given the way in which Citizens United has changed the landscape, I’d at least have expected some kind of “let Dick Durbin and Governor Quinn know that big government is not what we need” message.

I started to poke around their website, but before I could dig in . . .

<ring ring>

Me: “Hello?” Read the rest of this entry →