Alabama’s “Akin” is sign of a bigger problem

December 17, 2017

For all the celebration over Doug Jones being the first Democrat elected to the United States Senate from deep red Alabama in over two decades, there’s a story behind the story that reveals a deeper problem in the American body politic.

While it was decades old allegations of sexual misconduct that got the headlines, Roy Moore should have never been on the final ballot to begin with. Moore is man who openly flaunted not only his own state Supreme Court but the United States Supreme Court. He used same sex marriage to side with Vladimir Putin and equate America with Ronald Reagan’s “evil empire” reference to the old Soviet Union, stated publicly he was unaware of the Dreamers program, and referred to Native Americans and Asians as “reds and yellows fighting”. Roy Moore was disqualified long before any Gloria Allred publicity stunt.

Yet as flawed as Moore was, the underlying blame lays squarely at the feet of Senate Majority Leader. In an effort to keep loyalist Senator Luther Strange in office, McConnell and his PAC poured millions of dollars into attack ads against primary opponent Rep. Mo Brooks which set up the Moore/Strange runoff. The backlash against establishment meddling gave Moore the nod and as we now know, the rest is history.

Yet how many know that just five years ago, a similar primary manipulation happened right here in the Show Me state?

On August 11, 2015 Politico Magazine printed an excerpt from Senator Claire McCaskill’s new book “Plenty Ladylike” that opens with this little gem:

“It was August 7, 2012, and I was standing in my hotel room in Kansas City about to shotgun a beer for the first time in my life. I had just made the biggest gamble of my political career—a $1.7 million gamble—and it had paid off. Running for reelection to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat from Missouri, I had successfully manipulated the Republican primary so that in the general election I would face the candidate I was most likely to beat. And this is how I had promised my daughters we would celebrate.”

She then goes on to explain in detail how her campaign and the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee polled and advertised to help Rep. Todd Akin secure the Republican nomination and return herself to Washington, D.C.

As unethical as McCaskill’s behavior was, it still could have backfired if not for Akin’s own ego.

The date was August 21, 2012 when I wrote:

By 5:01pm Missouri time today, we will know what’s more important to Rep. Todd Akin; his own self or his country.

The Joplin Globe’s editorial today sums it up with:

We find absolutely nothing legitimate regarding Akin’s comments. We find Akin’s understanding of the human anatomy and the depth of ignorance in such a thought process outright offensive.

There was a time in this country when a man’s word was his bond and his honor sacred.

If it were up to us, Mr. Akin would reach deep into his soul and do the honorable thing. He should drop out of the race and open the door for a legitimate candidate.

Local Republican heavyweight, David Humphreys was more succinct when replying to the Globe via email:

“Akin is a moron.”

And again the rest is history.

In these toxic times it’s worth remembering that what happened in Alabama and here in Missouri was never intended by the Framers of our Constitution.

During the Constitutional Convention of 1787,Connecticut’s Roger Sherman warned of direct Senatorial elections noting that: “The people should have as little to do as may be about the government. They lack information and are constantly liable to be misled.”

And so it was that for over a century, state legislatures, those closest to the people, elected their Senators to D.C.

Not until the first “progressive” President Woodrow Wilson pushed through the 17th amendment replacing the Framers wisdom with his political desires did we get the manipulation and meddling we have today.

The framers original work wasn’t perfect, but it kept the McCaskill’s and McConnell’s at bay. This nation is as divided as at any time in its history, and while Lord knows I don’t have all the answers, a 28th amendment repealing the 17th would be a good first step.

Let the people speak through their legislatures and the PACs and special interests crawl back under the rocks from whence they came.

PUBLISHER’s NOTE: A version of this column first appeared in the Sunday print edition of the Joplin Globe.

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