Being independent means I am frequently a bit ambivalent about the outcome of election season. It's kind of like watching a Superbowl where I'm not a huge fan of either team. It's not important to me who wins, I just want the game to be good. My life will not be noticeably affected by a win for either team, but I figure that a game that is a hard fought cliffhanger is better than a blowout. If both sides put up a good fight, it's good for the fans and for the league. People will remember the game and be excited about next season.
Elections work the same way. I've lived during Republican and Democratic administrations at national, state, and local levels. I lived through good times and bad times, and whether or not times were good in my life didn't seem to have much to do with who was running the country. It was not important to me that one party or the other be in charge. As long as both sides sent their best, I could be confident that the business of government would be handled. How good my life was (and is) has more to do with me than with them. But this only works if the best candidates are running.
Enter Todd Akin, and his screwy junk science theories. He said, with a straight face, that women have some sort of natural defense that prevents pregnancy when they are raped. Damn. Dee-amn. How does a guy who hasn't lived in a cave for decades come up with that? I'm aware that there are partisan bubbles, but Akins inhabiting a bubble doesn't explain things. The evidence of that is that all Republicans of any significance, even those who are confirmed bubble-dwellers, have called for him to step down. But he didn't.
It's not the first time a politician refused, at least initially, to bow out after a major screw-up. Anthony Weiner got busted sending dirty tweets to assorted women to whom he wasn't married. He denied it initially. When the truth was known, he refused to resign despite urgings of party leaders. It wasn't until after weeks of wrangling that he eventually decided to call it quits. And he should have. This sort of thing robs politicians of their credibility. Besides, I like it when politicians are occasionally forced out of office. It reminds other politicians just how expendable they are, which can help keep them honest.
But this is nothing compared to Akins' misdeed. Anthony Weiner is guilty of being horny. This is an affliction that men are frequently affected by. Check that. This is an affliction that all men are affected by, unless they're dead. Or eunuchs. Akins' is guilty of mind-blowing stupidity, a far more serious condition. Horny politicians can still do a good job (I'm sure we can all think of at least one that did), but stupid politicians are a problem.
Earlier today, a friend of mine argued that he may not actually be stupid. He just believed some quack scientist with a loony theory. Okay, maybe. But that just means he's gullible, not necessarily stupid. Gullible politicians aren't a good thing either. I imagine there are a few people in Washington who might love to take advantage of a gullible politician. Washington is full of quasi-conmen who would consider him an excellent mark. Let's not give them the chance.
Stupid or gullible, he's not fit for service. He doesn't really have many supporters in this, but there are a few who point to a long record of service. Why should we throw that away? Because politicians must realize that they're expendable, even ones with long records of service. He's shown himself to be stupid, or at least gullible. We can find someone better.
When second-rate players play in the Superbowl, the result is one side blowing away the other. It makes the game less worthwhile. It can damage the entire league. Viewers lose interest. Akins is a third-rate benchwarmer who's been moved to the starting lineup. Let's not do this to ourselves. I can live with either Republican or Democrat. Neither is better to my mind; they just have differing strengths and weaknesses. What I can't live with is stupid politicians. If either side provides cover for their chumps, we have second-rate politicians. Republicans have asked Akins to bow out and take one for the party. He should take one for the whole country. We're all better off without him, even if his pulling out means the other party wins.
I've learned one lesson from this. The Republican voters of Missouri haven't deserted Akins. They should. Every time a politician does something this stupid, I'll be a deserter. In every election for the rest of my life I'll automatically vote against any candidate who displays this level of ignorance, even if I was initially a supporter. A smart politician can be dealt with when elected. If the ideas of the smart politician are distasteful to me, I can work against that. I don't necessarily have to wait for an election. But a dumb politician can drag down the system. I call this policy "Stupidectomy". If I can eliminate the stupid from the political mix, the quality of both parties will improve. Then we're all better off, no matter who wins. Because the game will have been a battle of the best there is. We might not always get our preferred candidate, but we'll never get a lousy one.