Todd Akin (R-MO and Richard Mourdock (R-IN) advanced in the General Election for the Senate only to lose over stray remarks over abortion. They deserve a vote of thanks from the fiscal conservatives of their party, even if their poorly phrased comments pointed out the divergent views of the GOP's stance on abortion.
Firebrand Columnist Ann Coulter has been mercilessly unforgiving toward these two Republican colleagues, lambasting them for preening for the votes of the religious right and staking out their "100% pro-life credentials". However, beyond the poor use of the phrase of "legitimate rape", Akin in the same interview outlined a policy of "optimizing life." In the cases of tubal pregnancy, he did not hesitate to support an emergency abortion. He also lauded and applauded our military in the Middle East and our peace officers on the East Coast who risked their to save wounded and handicapped individuals.
Ironically enough, it was liberal-leaning Gwen Ifill of PBS's "News Hour" who championed Mourdock and Akin for standing by their views on life at conception. Rather than deeming them extreme, she esteemed their integrity, which reflects a principled view of life and the role of government in preserving life. Now, whether those views or not is a matter for government is another matter altogether. Sadly, their decisions rested on sound bytes instead of a sound mind toward the entirely of their remarks
As for Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, in no way did he suggest that rape is "sometimes God's will". God takes the worst actions of man and by His grace transforms good out of it -- that was the gist of Mourdock's misquote. As a specific example, James Robison of "Life Today" was conceived in rape, yet he has done masterful good for the world through his ministry on television and throughout the world. Sadly, Twitter, Facebook, and Internet-media took the childish "telephone game" to the extreme and distorted his statements beyond recognition.
Now, I do not support spinning conspiracy theories about the wins and losses which decimated the Republican Party's chances for taking back the Senate. The evident reasons for their failures starts with a national party which still feels guilty about permitting illicit yet victimless crimes without criminalizing them. Even conservative scion and dean of "National Review" William F. Buckley argued that just because a society does not outlaw something, that does mean a community approves of the behavior. In fact, Buckley argued for the decriminalization of controlled substances. So has GOP Dean of the California Congressional Delegation David Dreier of San Dimas. Evangelical morality should spread the Good News, but not by state force.
Beyond Akin and Mourdock's mistakes, another fearful recrimination doomed those two candidates, reasons which should not shame the GOP into moving away from its principles, but toward a more principled platform for making their case without losing it. Akin openly criticized the government's role in setting prices and wages, a policy which businessmen across the country agree on. He indicted the federal student loan program as a "cancer of socialism" because government subsidies inevitably cause inflation, which causes college tuition to rise, and along with the cost of classes there is the costly debt weighing on graduates, who cannot find entry level work because interventions like minimum-wage laws discourage businesses from hiring. Worse than the "telephone game", these terrible economic policies resemble "musical chairs", minus the entertainment value.
Then there were the complaints against Richard Mourdock, who as state treasurer opposed the auto bailouts. Why? Because the pension funds from Indiana's teachers and police officers suffered a huge loss in order to bail out the auto industries. Those secured bond-holders were denied the protection which they were entitled to in federal bankruptcy court. These legal "niceties" may not fit on a Twitter feed, yet Mourdock refused to neglect them. He also pledged not to budge in the Senate unless Congress enacted real spending cuts, for Mourdock characterized current bipartisanship thus:
"One side has said 'Let's spend $100 billion' while the other side has said, 'Let's spend $50 billion'. Both sides then compromise on spending $75 billion and drive this country deeper in debt."
Mourdock rejected this kind of "bipartisanship". Of course, headlines with "Mourdock wants cuts" or "Akin cares about entry level workers" do not sell papers spur website views.
The two candidates' attention to fiscal realities and real reform set them up for opposition in their senate races. Instead of talking about rape, the life of the mother, and the decision to terminate a life, Akin and Mourdock needed to focus on the rape of government spending which is hurting mothers and the unborn for years to come. They were selling this message pretty well to their conservative constituencies. Small wonder that their "Big Government" Democratic challengers pounced on stray remarks rather than offer a differing economic policy, since they never had one.
Aside from their social views, Akin and Mourdock should be honored for their commitment to fiscal discipline at all costs. Let's hope that the GOP accents the fiscal message while moderating the social message in elections to come.