An untold number of Americans first met Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) — the GOP’s nominee to unseat Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) — on Sunday, after he falsely claimed that women have a natural defense against becoming pregnant from what he called a “legitimate rape.”
Though the outlandish claim represents a fairly common view in the pro-life movement and the GOP, the backlash was so fast and severe that some GOPers are calling for Akin to abandon his candidacy, so somebody less tainted can take his place.
But even if Akin hadn’t exposed that he holds this controversial view, his candidacy wouldn’t have been a cakewalk. Although until this weekend he enjoyed a small lead over McCaskill, his record is thick with the sort of fringe views that prevented several GOP challengers from defeating Democrats in 2010. That’s why McCaskill, an unpopular incumbent, worked hard to assure Akin won his party’s nomination.
Here are some of Akin’s greatest hits.Student Loans
In April, Akin cited a law Democrats passed in 2010 that saves billions of dollars by preventing private banks from profiting, risk free, on federally backed student loans as an example of the notion that “America has got the equivalent of stage three cancer of socialism, because the federal government is tampering in all kind of stuff it has no business tampering in.”
When offered the chance to clarify, he declined, saying “I called a spade a spade.”
During a CSPAN appearance on March 2011, Akin raised strong objections to one of the nation’s most popular federal support programs. “Social Security, through the years, for many many people, has been a terrible investment. It’s really a tax is all it is. Social Security is a tax. The government is taking the tax — there’s more money coming in than going out — and we spend it. That’s not responsible. I don’t like it. I didn’t design Social Security. It was — it actually came from Bismark. FDR put it in place.”
In June 2011, Akin told Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, that “the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God.”
In 1991, as a state legislator, Akin questioned whether anti-marital rape legislation might be used “in a real messy divorce as a tool and a legal weapon to beat up on the husband.” He ultimately voted for the bill.
Civil and Voting Rights
Akin recently claimed that elections “historically have always been a state thing.” Without expressing opposition to the Civil Rights Act and other federal protections for ethnic minorities, Akin noted “I think we’ve come a very long way from those days,” adding, “I think we need to make sure that everybody has a right to vote — once,” a transparent nod to the inaccurate notion that voter impersonation fraud is a persistent problem that requires legal restrictions on voting.
In 2010, he was one of 13 to vote against expressing support for the goals and ideals of the National School Lunch Program.
Missing And Exploited Children
In 2003, he and 13 other Republicans voted against a five year reauthorization of a law that provides support for missing and exploited children.
In 2005, he was one of 52 congressmen to oppose legislation to create a national sex offender registry, compel convicted sex offenders to register, and impose mandatory sentences for convicted child molesters.
When he first ran for Congress in 2000 he fell under scrutiny for writing a 1995 letter of support to the 1st Missouri Volunteers — a fringe, anti-abortion private militia.