Many are incorrectly convinced that Congressman Todd Akin is some kind of right-wing religious fanatic who hates women and has at best a three-year old's understanding of the female anatomy.
Granted, he has been ranked the most conservative member of Congress, and he openly disagrees with climate change and evolution. His opposition to those views are candid and credible, unlike Senator McCaskill's assertions Where 2012 US Senate candidate Akin went wrong, like many Republicans, falls on his response to his one gaffe.
Akin played defense, and continued to do so throughout the campaign. As Saul Alinsky wrote on Rules for Radicals, the best defense is a good offense.
In one debate, the moderator started out by referencing the "legitimate rape" comment, as if the issue merited any further discussion. Todd Akin answered the questions, when instead he should have gone on the attack against McCaskill for her 100% rating with the NARAL, along with the “illegitimate rape” of our nation and our entitlements from the of President Barack Obama's overwhelming government spending.
No better example than former Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich illustrates “offense as best defense”. Does anyone remember the January 2012 GOP Presidential debates in South Carolina? The CNN moderate John King asked the first question regarding whether Gingrich wanted to share any thoughts about his second wife's aggressively candid admissions about Gingrich's moral failings in the previous night’s prime time special.
Gingrich came out swinging: "No, but I will," followed by wild applause. The former speaker then let loose one of the most massive tongue-lashings in recent years, enough to make New Jersey Governor Christ Christie look meek and mild. “It is appalling. . .” indeed that King would lead any debate with such salacious gossip as a mainstay. Gingrich took every baiting question and baited the Mainstream Media, the Obama Administration, and his Republican opponents without thinking twice about it, Congressman Akin needed to furrow out that kind of attack following the infamous “JACO Report” interview in July until the very end. Akin did not quite deliver.
I believe one of the reasons why he refused to come out swinging as much as he could have touches on one of the bills that Akin attempted to pass in Congress. He wanted to reinstate the Ten Commandments in our schools. I am all for civil codes and proper conduct, but too many evangelicals are rallying behind the Ten Commandments, when the Bible clearly teaches that Christian men and women are no longer under law, but under grace. Grace is not a license to sin, but it gives strength and authority for men and women to live godly and sober lives:
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live
soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” (Titus 2: 11-12)
Aside from civil laws to inform and establish a public compact, the Ten Commandments is a remnant from the Old Covenant, a set of regulations meant to bring men to the end of themselves, so that they would rest and receive the love and power of their savior.
Sadly, this need to "play by the rules" puts too many Republicans in an unjust bind. They are unable to shake away from their past failures, and instead spend too much time playing defense, while Democrats set up their own set of rules and codes, which they break all the time, while Republicans spend too little time holding them accountable to their own codes. This self-imposed Pharisee spirit is causing problems for the GOP, including the evangelical Christian groups within the GOP, who have not yet learned, or at least understood, this crucial difference in the Gospel, in the New Covenant:
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
“And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” (Hebrews 8: 10-12)
The new covenant centers on identity then activity, for obedience springs forth from the truth with love, not law and works.
Todd Akin is a devout Christian, but he reminds me of believers still trying to live under law, when God's grace is a much better teacher (Titus 2: 11-12). The same grace even allows God to take our sins, and our mistakes – like the "legitimate rape" comment -- and then turn them to our advantage.
Akin could have done that by going on the offense, but he chose not to. In truth, he had nothing to be ashamed of, aside from his “gaffe”.
Here's to Republican candidates in the future learning from this precept in politics:
The best defense is a good offense.