Cowardice in Washington

Any time a political consultant writes an op-ed, first find out who is signing his paycheck so you can have a better-informed opinion of his opinion.

Last week Curt Anderson called in these pages for Todd Akin to get out of the Missouri Senate race for comments Akin made in a television interview last month. If you go to the website of Anderson’s company, OnMessage, you can see that his clients include the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), whose chairmen have called on Akin to get out of the race and are increasingly angry he has decided to press on.

So Anderson is hardly a disinterested observer. Nor is he saying anything new. He’s simply expressing a new version of the same old Beltway cowardice.

Anderson makes three arguments for Akin to get out of the race. The first two are that Akin’s comments were based on debunked medical theories and that they were insensitive and hurtful.

Akin doesn’t disagree, which is why he immediately apologized for his remarks and asked Missouri voters to forgive him for his thoughtless comments.

Everyone makes verbal mistakes, Karl Rove being the most recent public figure learning that lesson.

The last argument Anderson makes is that “by staying in the race, [Akin]’s ensuring the re-election of a pro-choice Democrat, Senator Claire McCaskill.” Anderson says that makes the pro-life Akin a “hypocrite” because an Akin loss would re-elect McCaskill, who is pro-choice.

But how does Anderson know the outcome of an election that hasn’t taken place? The answer, of course, is that he doesn’t. He only thinks he knows.

Remember, it was the NRSC that begged and pleaded with Marco Rubio to get out of the Florida Senate race in 2010 and let Charlie Crist be the Republican nominee. They almost succeeded.

The NRSC and the establishment crew just knew — apparently like they know now — that if Marco Rubio were the Republican nominee, he would lose.

We all know how that turned out. Pro-life Marco Rubio is now a U.S. senator from Florida and just last week delivered a stirring and powerful address to the Republican National Convention.

And what happened to Charlie Crist, the man the Washington party bosses were so convinced was the perfect nominee? Well, Crist is addressing the Democratic National Convention this week in Charlotte to support President Obama’s re-election. Hey, Curt, in case you need reminding, that would be the pro-abortion Democratic National Convention gathering in Charlotte and that would be the pro-abortion President Obama that the NRSC’s one-time preferred GOP candidate is now actively supporting.

Look, I understand the fears driving the calculations that Curt Anderson and others like him are making about Todd Akin. Republicans and conservatives are united in our belief that Democrats are driving our country over a cliff and our conviction that they must be stopped. Anderson fears that Akin’s mistake will cost Republicans some seats, and so he wants a new candidate.

But Anderson makes two errors in his zero-sum analysis of Missouri voters in particular and American voters in general.