Ode to Todd Akiin

William Hughes Mearns died in 1965 when Todd Akin was about 18.  They probably never met.  But Mearns wrote a poem about Akin.

In 1899.

The rhyme was intended as a song in a play called “The Psyco-Ed” that was not performed until 1910.  Its formal title when it was published in 1922 is “Antigonish” but those of us who remember it are unlikely to know the name as well as we know the words.

Akin’s continued presence as a candidate for the U. S. Senate makes him, as far as the Republican Party is concerned, the person Mearns wrote about.  The Republican National Committee chairman says Akin is not welcome to attend the party’s national convention next week in Florida.   But even if Todd Akin stays here in Missouri, he’ll be there.  As Mearns wrote 113 years ago:

Yesterday upon the stair
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away
When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door
Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away

Akin says his rejection of pointed suggestions by the Republican establishment that he disappear because he had become a disruption to the GOP campaign drumbeat that the economy is the overriding issue is not ego-driven.  For him it’s a matter of principles that go beyond the simple single-focus campaign, and he notes that enough Missouri primary election voters, after all, voted to have him carry those principles on their behalf through November.  The big people in the GOP are so upset they’ve cut off millions of dollars in funding for his campaign.  But these are the days of secret campaign money-laundering, and it will be interesting to see if the big people really want to just write off chances of taking Missouri.  They might see Akin as the red-headed cousin at the brunette family picnic.  But he is THEIR cousin after all.

Missourinet reporter Mike Lear will be with the Repulicans at their convention next week, covering a Missouri delegation that has become substantially more interesting in the last four days or so.  Whether or not Akin is present in person, his presence will be felt and it is likely that the Missouri delegation will find more television cameras following it than it would have had just a week ago.

And Veep-select Paul Ryan will find himself carrying the shadow of Todd Akin with him at that convention, something that had not been anticipated a week ago.  The two have co-sponsored several bills including one that gives personhood to fetuses at the moment the sperm and the egg move in together, even if it’s done forcibly.

The convention platform committee has adopted a strict anti-abortion amendment to the platform that makes no exceptions for victims of rape or incest or for threats to the life of the mother.  Some have called it the “Akin amendment” after this week’s disturbance resulting from Akin’s weekend interview.

Akin has made the convention about something more than what planners had set it up to be.  The message might be (to recall the first Clinton campaign), “It’s about the economy.”   But now there’s a second half to that message.  “It’s about the economy, but what about rape?”

We think Mike Lear is going to have a much more interesting time next week than we thought he would have.

Yesterday upon the campaign stair
I met Todd Akin who wasn’t there
Todd wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away
When I came home after our convention spree
Todd Akin was waiting there for me
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door
Todd wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away

But he won’t.

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