Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Todd Akin and the GOP

Todd Akin needs to quit the Missouri Senate race. He is distracting attention away from Obama's failed economic record while also helping Democrats to frame the GOP as a party of extremists. I don't believe that Akin was malicious in what he said, just stupid. The deeper concern that I have about this issue is in the way that extreme views like those of Akin help negatively paint perceptions of the Republican Party. The fact that next week's GOP convention platform will call for a constitutional amendment to prohibit abortion (without clarifying rights in cases of rape or incest), is an example of this fundamentalist encroachment on GOP policy. While Romney rightly opposes this position (as Bush opposed the 2004 call for banning civil unions for homosexuals), Republicans must be willing to speak up louder in opposition to religious extremism- a constituency that makes up a far smaller part of the GOP than most people understand. People like Tony Perkins are entitled to their views, but their views are clearly on the fringe of American social discourse and they should not be allowed to punch above their weight in GOP policy formulation. My fear is that if the GOP fails to adopt a more moderate tone on social issues, we will isolate a large swathe of the next generation of potential Republican voters. And of course, there is also the broader, more important issue of what our party stands for.

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