The Corner

The God that Failed

I wrote about how Obama’s unpopularity is affecting the midterms in my Politico column today:

Alison Lundergan Grimes is the Todd Akin of 2014.

Like the instantly notorious Republican senate candidate from Missouri, Grimes has committed a defining political gaffe. Grimes’ refusal to say that she voted for President Obama in the 2008 and 2012 general elections has some of the same characteristics as Akin’s infamous rape comment: It was telegenic, mockable and universally condemned. She first refused to say she voted for President Obama in a cringe-inducing videotaped editorial board interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal, then after getting roasted by every political commentator in the country, doubled down during Monday night’s debate.

She elevated her refusal to high principle. Out of respect for Kentucky’s constitution and the sanctity of the ballot box, she couldn’t possibly say whether she voted for the man she was a delegate for at the 2012 Democratic convention. In her own mind, Grimes is the Rosa Parks of the secret ballot.

In 2012, Akin’s statement captured the Republican Party’s vulnerability to “war on women” attacks and how its roster of candidates included too many not-ready-for-prime-time players.She elevated her refusal to high principle. Out of respect for Kentucky’s constitution and the sanctity of the ballot box, she couldn’t possibly say whether she voted for the man she was a delegate for at the 2012 Democratic convention. In her own mind, Grimes is the Rosa Parks of the secret ballot.

This year, Grimes’ miscue speaks to the president’s unpopularity and to the unseemly desperation of Democratic candidates to get as far away from him as possible.

Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. 

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