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When I read about Todd Akin’s unfortunate comments to Charles Jaco, my first thought was uncharitable. “I could just kill him.”
“I could kill him,” is an idiom. Its cousins include “wring his neck” and “poke his eyes out.” Idioms hyperbolize our emotional reaction to an event.
I was angry because Todd Akin gave the left a great talking point in the infamous interview. I like Todd Akin. I voted for him. I want him to beat Claire McCaskill, and, if not him, someone. So his hideous PR failure Pissed. Me. Off. In fact, I’m still feeling a bit uncharitable, but that’s my problem at this point.
Karl Rove attacked Akin almost immediately.
Karl Rove, who directs a lot of campaign money through Crossroads GPS, vilified Akin. Rove promised to pull Crossroads funding from Missouri. He predicted that Akin would lose his race against Claire McCaskill for the US Senate by largest margin in modern history.
All fair and good. Akin put a safe Republican Senate pick-up at risk by his failure to check his tongue. Akin’s error put at risk four years of hard work by millions of Americans and jeopardized Todd’s favorite causes, including pro-life.
Rove Gone Wild
But at the Republican National Convention, Karl Rove drove right off the rhetorical Chappaquiddick Bridge.
“We should sink Todd Akin. If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts!”
Roves comment was not an idiom. It was an original thought. He said “murder,” not “kill,” indicating intent and planning.
Even more malevolent, “we should,” which Rove said, is not “we could.” Could implies ability; should implies duty. Karl Rove essentially said, “We are obliged to murder Todd Akin.” Or at least to defeat him in November. (Todd Akin has since accepted Rove’s apology, for which I tip my cap to both men.)
So much for Karl’s sanctimonious excoriation of Todd Akin.
But he was joking of course.
Or was he?
In charity, we assume Rove isn’t plotting Akin’s physical assassination. But he might be plotting Akin’s political assassination.
Rove implied he prefers Claire McCaskill to Todd Akin. That’s fine. He’s entitled to support whoever he wants for the US Senate.
What irritates me most about Rove’s comment, though, is exactly what irritated me about Akin’s. In a world where Republicans are held to a God-like standard by the media, saying idiotic things in public hurts the cause.
Rove committed precisely Akin’s sin.
He said something stupid that reached public ears.
For that, Rove deserves the same excoriation he’s advocated against Akin. My guess is, though, Karl’s wealthy friends will protect him.