Mr. Akin should not go to Washington

Mr. Akin should not go to Washington August 20, 2012

A candidate for high office can be foolish and win, but we need not rejoice in it.

A candidate for high office can be offensive and win, but nobody should wish it.

A candidate for office may “vote right,” but still be unfit for high office by character, or temperament, or intelligence.

Todd Akin has a long history demonstrating that though he votes as a conservative, he lacks the temperament for the Senate of the United States. While one might retort that a body that tolerated Joseph Biden and Strom Thurmond could take Todd Akin in stride, I am not yet so cynical that I would wish to send another callous clown to the highest legislative body in the Republic.

Akin said an indefensible thing about abortion: factually false, insensitive, and badly argued. It is hard to be wrong that many ways in one sentence, but he achieved it. However, this is not the chief problem: we can accept his apology and assume he misspoke.

Nobody speaking or writing would want to be held to perfection as a standard and all of us have pulled a Biden from time-to-time.

The problem with Akin is a lack of virtue for the office he seeks.

Akin is a family man, prudent with his money, and seems a decent man in many ways. But a republican government does not just need those who are not immoral, it needs moral virtues active in the lives of politicians.

Of prudence, the virtue of moderation, Akin has long come up short. Saint James urges us to guard our tongue, then Akin unbridles his in a long career in Congress. Scriptures reminds us to “keep” our mouth and our tongue and so keep out of trouble. Akin’s keeps getting him into trouble. Imprudence is particularly dangerous in a deliberative body like the Senate as even the possibility of reason vanish as the imprudent man hurries to vote with his passions instead of his convictions.

George Washington was only the first of our great leaders to value prudence more than any other virtue for a republic. In a nation where laws will be made by talkers, foolish talkers are more dangerous than most. The world’s greatest deliberative body is in no need of one whom his mouth outran and so the reputation died before the man.

Primary voters made a mistake honoring Akin with the Senate nomination, but Akin can demonstrate character by rectifying that mistake. If not, he will lead the voters of Missouri with a bad choice between someone without the character needed to be a Senator and someone without the convictions needed.

Surely, Akin has a pastor or friend willing to tell him the truth: you are not a lad out of high school misspeaking at your valedictory speech, but a leader of your party seeking a position of great importance. The Republic will not fail if Mr. Akin sits in the Senate, but Mr. Akin should not sit in the Senate. No man is commended for office by being less contemptible and less worthy of condemnation than the worst who have held it. The people of Missouri should at least hope to send a prudent man to Washington.

Mr. Akin would best honor the Senate by seeing he is unworthy to sit in it.

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