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Todd Akin, meet Clayton Williams.
Congressman Todd Akin of Missouri, we Republicans would like to invite you to Texas to have lunch with Clayton Williams.
Over lunch, Claytie (as his friends in Texas call him) will explain to you that an ill-considered remark about rape, which is to say just about any remark about rape coming from a man, is political death.
Congressman, you are not going to be the next senator from Missouri just as Clayton Williams was never the governor of Texas, despite having at one time been ahead of Ann Richards by as much as 20 points.
You can’t come back from this one. Claytie will explain it to you. During his concession speech in 1990, supporters in the crowd urged him to try again in four years. “I may be an Aggie,” Williams said, “but I’m not crazy.”
If that anecdote from 1990 doesn’t persuade you, Congressmen, try this one from 2008. During the Obama v. McCain campaign, 18 years after Clayton Williams’ offhand joke comparing the inevitability of bad weather to the inevitability of being raped, John McCain was told of the incident and abruptly cancelled a dinner at Williams’ house at which $300,000 was to be raised.
You are now radioactive, Congressman.
You have no choice but to withdraw. Do it soon, and you get to keep some of your dignity and your successor candidate might have a shot at cleaning up the mess quickly enough to make it a race against McCaskill.
Stubbornly stay in, and not only does Claire McCaskill stay in the Senate, but people whose opinions matter won’t even join you for dinner.