Leading From Behind Todd al-Akin

How many times have you heard Republicans criticize President Obama for “leading from behind”? A bunch. Here is an example of what right-wingers mean by their criticism:

To sum it up, Barack Obama’s foreign policy is based on the belief that we have surrendered or had taken from us our leadership role in the world. He’s operating intentionally as a failure.

Yeah, that’s our president, alright. He’s not only a failure, he’s means to be one!

Yesterday I heard Dan Senor, a foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romney and a man ass-deep in Bush’s decision to not lead from behind and start a foolish war in Iraq, criticize President Obama on TV  for failing to get Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to “step down.

My, my, my. I wonder why al-Assad won’t listen to the President of the United States and do what he is told? Maybe it is because Mr. Obama is a defective leader? A failure? Yeah, that’s it. I mean, if a leader asks a bad actor to get off the stage and that actor chooses to remain in the spotlight, it’s the leader’s fault, right? He has failed to lead, right? He’s a wimp, right?

Well, okay. Here’s what Dan Senor’s boss said about Todd Akin, Missouri’s torturously Talibanic Republican candidate for senate—and part-time gynecologist—after Akin’s ignorance and/or stupidity was revealed to the world:

As I said yesterday, Todd Akin’s comments were offensive and wrong and he should very seriously consider what course would be in the best interest of our country. Today, his fellow Missourians urged him to step aside, and I think he should accept their counsel and exit the Senate race.

That was on August 21. Naturally, being a leader of epic proportions, Romney’s declaration that Akin should “step aside” immediately caused Akin to, well, step aside, right?

Not exactly:

Todd Akin (still) staying in Missouri Senate race

Despite calls from Republican Party leaders to step down, Rep. Todd Akin announced he will remain in the Missouri Senate race against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Dammit! What’s wrong with Mittens’ leadership? If President Obama is expected to snap his fingers and have a miscreant like Bashar al-Assad disappear, then making a little twerp like Todd Akin go away ought to be easy pickin’s.

But nope, Akin remains with us, which, of course, means Mittens has failed as a leader. And not only did Akin defy him, but others have kicked sand in Romney’s face.

Among the sand-kickers are Akin’s reactionary friends who are coming to his aid, folks like Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Jim DeMint, Phyllis Schlafly, and, no surprise, the author of the infamous “Blunt amendment“—a blatant and reactionary attack on women’s health choices—Roy Blunt:

Blunt backs Akin’s Senate bid after deadline to exit race passes

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) announced his support for Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-Mo.) Senate bid after the deadline passed for Akin to exit the race.

In a statement released late Tuesday night, Blunt, a venerable figure in Missouri politics and the GOP establishment in Washington, flipped on his earlier call for Akin to exit the race.

“Congressman Akin and I don’t agree on everything, but he and I agree the Senate majority must change. From Governor Romney to the county courthouse, I’ll be working for the Republican ticket in Missouri, and that includes Todd Akin,” he said in the statement.

Not too long ago Blunt said in a joint statement with other Missouri Republican “leaders” the following:

We do not believe it serves the national interest for Congressman Todd Akin to stay in this race. The issues at stake are too big, and this election is simply too important. The right decision is to step aside.”

Dammit! There’s that pesky phrase “step aside” again. Blunt tried and failed to get Akin to quit and that means Blunt is also a wimpy leader. Shoot, when it comes to Akin, there are wimpy Republican leaders all over the place. In terms of revealing leadership qualities, little old Todd Akin is the Bashar al-Assad of the GOP!

But in Blunt’s case, instead of moaning and groaning about Akin’s tin ear, instead of telling Akin to go straight to hell, Blunt, being a resourceful, if wimpy, leader, has chosen to follow Akin and help him get elected.

Now that’s what I call leading from behind!

Godspeed, Todd al-Akin!

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  1. RDG,

    No big surprise that the GOP establishment will readmit Akin back into the fold. The initial wailing over his reality-challenged belief that divine contraception occurs when nice women are raped subsided when poll numbers continue to forecast a tight race. It just goes to show that the GOP will support anyone with a chance of winning, even if the candidate is bug ________ nuts. Then again, Akin is probably considered a moderate among his fellow Tea Party/Taliban contingent. I’m waiting for the video of Akin and Bachmann receiving their instructions from God during a three-way conference call — unless God relays His commands through Twitter, Face Book or Fed Ex.


  2. RDG,

    Akin continues to be the gift that keeps on giving. Just when the dark money overseers were about to take a page from Romney’s playbook and flip-flop back from an initial rejection of his candidacy, he makes another “gaffe.” It seems Brother Todd is quite upset with Claire McCaskill’s debating demeanor, believing she was “unladylike” during their forensic tussle. I didn’t see the debate, so I don’t know if she was wearing an outfit that he thought displeased the Lord’s sense of appropriate feminine attire or was referring to her “aggressive” manner. Whatever Brother Todd found irritating enough to complain about has prompted the Missouri Republican Party Committee to take a vow of silence when asked if his opinion reflected the Party’s, and would they sponsor ads depicting her as just other liberal, pro-choice hussy.

    Mark Lilla’s is spot on in his critique of Charles R. Kesler’s recent offering:



    • Juan,

      Glad you are back in the blogging saddle again. I am looking forward to some leisure time so I can cuddle up with your prose!

      In any case, Lilla’s article is very good, even though I take issue with some of his suggestions, like this one:

      The conservative mind, a repository of fresh ideas just two decades ago…

      Other than the old conservative sense of fiscal responsibility–which, oddly, meant keeping taxes at a level sufficient to pay for government–there aren’t that many “fresh” conservative ideas. You see, that’s the point of contemporary conservatism: most of the ideas we need, they say, are the old ideas, the ones hatched in Iron Age or in Medieval or in 18th-century minds.

      But I do like Lilla’s analysis right before that line above:

      …the right’s rage against Obama, which has seeped out into the general public, has very little to do with anything the president has or hasn’t done. It’s really directed against the historical process they believe has made America what it is today.

      The problem with that analysis is that it mostly applies to the intellectuals in the conservative movement.That is the tale these folks tell themselves night and day. But those intellectuals, some of them that now have well-paying gigs in think-tanks and on Fox and about, also have a tendency to exploit the white cultural angst that is most obvious in our country, particularly the South. And that explains a lot of the reason there is such inexplicable hatred for President Obama among the folks.

      When Dinesh D’Souza writes books and appears on TV exploring, falsely, the deep recesses of Obama’s mind and motives, it is both in line with Lilla’s analysis and an appeal to the racial angst in the country, since D’Souza’s propaganda is really a tribute to racism, not to mention barroom psychology.

      So, I wish Lilla would have addressed that in his piece, but I found it nevertheless very good and thanks for calling my attention to it.



  3. “Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”
    ― George Orwell, 1984


    • Orwell is a gift that keeps giving and giving. What a thinker he was. And he was a socialist to boot! Think of that every time you hear a right-winger appeal to his writings.

      And how many human beings have their names turned into an adjective? “Orwellian” will always be a part of our vocabulary, as there will always be tyrants wishing to control our every move.


  4. RDG,

    I had a few issues with Lilla’s critique, the disagreement you cite being one of them. But
    the main thrust of his article — as I read it — was to debunk Kesler as an intellectual poseur providing academic cover for a political movement that has become mentally and spiritually bankrupt. Had Lilla wrote that prior to the movement championing “supply-side” economics as a magic equation — maintaining low tax rates for high end private/corporate earners that somehow keep government programs flush with revenue from unprecedented job growth — I might concede the point that pre-Reagan Era Republicans were still engaged in championing limited government, rather than spouting the current nihilistic demagoguery that government itself is a malicious liberal invention. Remind one that RR raised taxes six times during his presidency and Dittoheads will stare in grim disbelief; the few remaining “compassionate conservatives” from the 2000 campaign will display a flash of pity before labeling you an unfortunate victim of their imaginary Big Liberal Media.

    D’Souza is just another over-hyped bottom feeder. Fifty years ago his junk could have been peddled by Fred Koch and the John Birch Society — that is until they met face-to-face and Fred discovered D’Souza looked nothing like a Vichy French ex-patriot.


  5. ansonburlingame

     /  October 2, 2012

    OK, here is some more “voodo” for you.

    Except I won’t use the inflation adjustment to start. In 2012 our GDP is reported at $15 Trillion and government spending is about $3.8 Trillion. Government revenue will be in the range of $2.4 Trillion, plus or minus a few digits to the right of the decimal point.

    That equates to 25.3% of GDP spent by the FEDERAL government alone (forget all the other ones that spend our taxes) and only collects about 16% of what it spends. That mismatch comes out in the range of $1.3 Trillion when all is said and done. $1.3 Trillion in ONE year. Now go tax the rich to find that amount of money, no voodo involved.

    Now here is some “voodo” for you. GDP when Bush II took over was about $10.4 Trillion and this year it is the above $15 Trillion, a 44% growth in GDP over 11 years or about $4.6 Tillion, with no inflation adjustment. But adjust GDP for inflation, “voodo economics”, right, and you see the growth in GDP is only equal to about $1.6 Trillion in 2012 dollars. Discount inflation (31% overall in the 11 years) and you see that overall economic growth averages out to less than 1% per years in an 11 year period. And you think we can spend our way out of that mess!!!!

    In other words we will have borrowed, in 2012 dollars almost the entire amount that GDP has grown over four years (calculated in 2012 dollars). Now go tax the rich and everyone else and tell me how to square that dilemma, a REAL dilemma.

    Your current solution is to raise taxes on the rich by about $70 Billion per year (rescind Bush cuts on the top bracket only leaving everyone else alone). HMMM! Using 2012 dollars you think that collecting 0,4% more of GDP (70 Billion divided by $15 Trillion) will set us on the right path to sustained recovery, right? You throw a 0,4% “solution” at a 9% problem where each percentage point amounts to about $1.5 Trillion per percentage point PER YEAR.

    And yet we are about to reelect the man “leading” us down that path, right???

    I will (if Obama is reelected) continue to collect all my “phones” and make it, economically, to my EOL in all likelihood. But OMG what the future will hold for those left behind. I shutter to think of it and would be more than happy to give up some of my earned “phones” right now to reset the whole equation.

    But even Romney and the GOP won’t ask me or you to do that, by and large. WE will all KEEP Medicare as we know it even with a GOP running things, which is not a very good practical idea but a political bombshell if ANYONE tried to tinker with that equation today. MEANS TEST Medicare and eliminate the wage cap on Medicare taxes right now is my call, but…..! Hell it is a bombshell even when Ryan is accused of such, when he and the GOP proposed nothing of the sort, changing Medicare today for those on Medicare today.


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