Yesterday morning, Missouri congressman Todd Akin, a Tea Party Republican running for the senate against sitting Democrat Claire McCaskill, appeared on a local morning news show and uttered a statement of such grade-A, premium cut stupidity that I was left utterly gobsmacked to hear it from any elected official, much less one who was, until yesterday at least, comfortably ahead in the polls and well on his way to becoming a senator.
Said Akin, when asked about his opposition to abortion even in the case of rape:
"First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
As I tweeted yesterday: Mind = blown.
In case you're wondering, that ear-splitting thunder-crack you heard yesterday was every Republican strategist and campaign manager across the country smacking their foreheads at the same time.
Per Joe Scarborough on his show this morning, "You actually see his lips move and those words come out." Yep. That they do. Now, anyone who follows this stuff knows that Akin has a long exhibited symptoms of Mouthbreathers' Disease, but it seems this was a bridge too far even for him. And in today's toxic political environment, that's really saying something.
Before you could say "Christine O'Donnell," the great back-away by the GOP establishment began, with MA Senator Scott Brown calling on Akin to drop out of the race, and the Romney-Ryan campaign sprinting to put as much distance between them and Akin as possible.
Of course, that gets a little bit harder to do when you realize that Akin's co-sponsor on a bill last year aimed at limiting abortions by further narrowing and categorizing the definition of rape was one Paul Ryan. Yep that Paul Ryan. Ah, what a tangled ideological web we weave.
For a Democratic party that's intent on cementing the meme of the GOP's so-called "War on Women," and for a GOP that wants desperately to refocus the campaign on President Obama, the ill-timed peek into Akin's overzealous mindset couldn't be more opportune or unfortunate, depending entirely on which side of the fence you come down.
If all politics truly are local, I have a feeling the aftershocks from this will continue to play out for awhile. For more on how this statewide race could end up having national consequences, check out this piece by William Rivers Pitt.