Before we get too far down the Akin rally road, let’s get some solid advice to Mr. Akin.
His principles, his spine, his grassroots do no good if Missouri turns blue. He cannot advance his causes from his house in Wildwood. Failure to take the Senate makes Obamacare permanent, at least in our lives.
Todd Akin, wonderful man he is, has a lot of responsibility. As a candidate, he needs to grow and fast. Particularly following news that he trails Claire McCaskill by 10 percentage points according to Rasmussen.
He hasn’t helped himself in the aftermath. He has no message except “I’m sorry.” He is letting the RNC drive the narrative. He’s blaming the “liberal media,” but that institution seems happy to let the GOP tear him apart.
If he’s content to spend his last half million and then next 10 days apologizing, then he might as well quit now.
Here’s what he has to do:
1. Get out of his bubble and deal with the reality he faces. He’s shut himself off from the messages he doesn’t want to hear. That’s human nature. But to win, he has fight his own inclinations to cocoon. He has to hear from people who love him but think he should drop. He needs to hear from people who hate him but think he should fight on. He needs to hear from writers, marketers, and artists who know how to hit the brain beneath the prefrontal cortex. He needs GOOD COUNSEL, not just “amen.”
2. If he will leave the cocoon he’s in, he needs to hear this: as long as the message is about rape and abortion, he’s toast. If he stays on THIS message and stays in the race, he will lose, most of the Missouri GOP statewide candidates will lose, and MIssouri may go blue. Drop the apology.
3. He needs to bring on people he’s NOT comfortable with. People who will challenge. Brilliant strategists and wordsmiths who can craft an argument.
4. He needs to know his 3 points for every press interaction and stick to them.
5. He needs to STOP EVANGELIZING and start CONNECTING with the people who don’t already agree with him on everything. They have to agree with him on ONE thing. That’s it.
6. He needs to memorize this: “I am pro-life without exception.” That’s the end of the pro-life message. Every additional word he utters loses 10,000 votes.
7. He needs to memorize this response to every question about abortion: “Every child conceived should be born into an America that has room for him or her to grow into a loving family, a good home, effective schools, and a lucrative career of their choice.” That’s it. Nothing more. It sets up the case of the economy
8. Every answer to every question must get back to the economy and the economic wreck advanced by Barack Obama with the enthusiastic support of Claire McCaskill.
9. He must PROSECUTE this campaign the way a great general prosecutes a battle. Survival’s not enough.
10. He must ignore winnability. That’s our job. His job is to make people like him, trust him, vote for him, or stay home.
Every big name in the GOP has called for him drop out. Until he leads, the calls will continue. I know he’s shown great spine, but spine is not leadership. If he leads, they will follow.
He can put people on their heels without being a jerk. He has it in him. Apologizing isn’t leadership. Leaders lead. His rival is Claire McCaskill. She is remarkably unpopular. His nemesis is Barack Obama. He is loathed in Missouri.
Get the message back on track. Be a leader. Win.
There’s one question I ask every politician who asks for my support: why do you want this job? The answers reveal tons about the person. Right now, his answer seems to be “because I made a mistake, and I’m sorry.” That’s weak. It’s a loser’s answer.
I can’t feed him HIS answer. But I can tell him the one’s he’s got ain’t working. Even among some of his staunchest supporters.
- New path for Akin campaign (stltoday.com)
- Why Claire McCaskill wants Todd Akin to stay in Missouri race (csmonitor.com)
- McCaskill avoids direct hit on Akin over abortion remarks (firstread.nbcnews.com)