Back during the Missouri primary, one of Todd Akin's most fervent backers was former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. And apparently Huckabee is not going to back down, even in spite of Akin's widely panned remarks on "legitimate rape" and pregnancy.
Huckabee has blasted out a fundraising email on Akin's behalf, captured by the Washington Examiner, which slams Akin's critics for selling out social conservatives and leaving behind a soldier on the battlefield. It's the kind of email you don't expect to see from a man who's generally viewed as a moderate force in the Republican party. Excepts follow:
The Party’s leaders have for reasons that aren’t rational, left him behind on the political battlefield, wounded and bleeding, a casualty of his self-inflicted, but not intentional wound. In a Party that supposedly stands for life, it was tragic to see the carefully orchestrated and systematic attack on a fellow Republican. Not for a moral failure or corruption or a criminal act, but for a misstatement which he contritely and utterly repudiated. I was shocked by GOP leaders and elected officials who rushed so quickly to end the political life of a candidate over a mistaken comment in an interview. This was a serious mistake, but it was blown out of proportion not by the left, but by Akin’s own Republican Party. Is this what the party really thinks of principled pro-life advocates? Do we forgive and forget the verbal gaffes of Republicans who are “conveniently pro-life” for political advantage, but crucify one who truly believes that every life is sacred?
Who ordered this “Code Red” on Akin? There were talking point memos sent from the National Republican Senatorial Committee suggesting language to urge Akin to drop out. Political consultants were ordered to stay away from Akin or lose future business with GOP committees. Operatives were recruited to set up a network of pastors to call Akin to urge him to get out. Money has changed hands to push him off the plank. It is disgraceful. From the spotlights of political offices and media perches, it may appear that the demand for Akin’s head is universal in the party. I assure you it is not. There is a vast, but mostly quiet army of people who have an innate sense of fairness and don’t like to see a fellow political pilgrim bullied. If Todd Akin loses the Senate seat, I will not blame Todd Akin. He made his mistake, but was man enough to admit it and apologize. I’m waiting for the apology from whoever the genius was on the high pedestals of our party who thought it wise to not only shoot our wounded, but run over him with tanks and trucks and then feed his body to the liberal wolves. It wasn’t just Todd Akin that was treated with contempt by the thinly veiled attack on Todd Akin. It was all the people who have faithfully knocked doors, made calls, and made sacrificial contributions to elect Republicans because we thought we were welcome in the party. Todd Akin owned his mistake. Who will step up and admit the effort being made to discredit Akin and apologize for the sleazy way it’s been handled?[...]
I’ve heard the talk of new deadlines and the nonsense about the Republican Party running a 3rd party candidate, but I am no longer listening to that noise. The idea that our Party would continue to play games behind the scenes and feed the Democrats make-believe narrative of the GOP’s fictional war on women is equally ridiculous. Now is the time to focus on electing a conservative Senate Majority. And if the NRSC and RNC and the money-rich PACS won’t help Todd Akin get us to the majority, then we’ll do it without them. And his seat will not have been sold to the highest bidder, but obtained by the highest principles.
Huckabee's passionate defense is certainly a powerful act of political theater. However, many conservative observers have already mocked it for being disingenuous. From Allahpundit at Hot Air:
Akin’s first defensive move after people tried to get him to quit was to frame this as a “conservatives vs. liberal elite media” fight. Since his main “liberal media” tormentor was Sean Hannity, that didn’t work. So then he tried to make it a “grassroots conservatives vs. party bosses” thing. That didn’t work either once the Tea Party Express called on him to quit. Now here comes the “social conservatives vs. RINO moderates” pitch. From the man who endorsed David Dewhurst in Texas.
That's going to leave a mark.
The long and short of it is that, in spite of Huckabee's high-flown rhetoric, his critics are likely to remain unimpressed. The Arkansas governor has a record of marrying moderation on most issues to hardline social conservatism - a mix that is increasingly unwelcome in a Tea Party-centered GOP. His openly disdainful attitude toward libertarians hardly helps the situation.
Granted, the former Arkansas Governor still has a decent amount of reach due to his perch at Fox News, but as to whether it will be enough to save Todd Akin from the condemnation of his entire party? That may be less likely.