When Todd Akin, Republican nominee for the US Senate in Missouri, picked the wrong words to describe what has become mainstream pro-life doctrine, he ignited a firestorm. The Republican Party is still smarting from the 2010 losses of Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle and Ken Buck, which cost them the Senate. So the GOP machine turned on Akin with such sharpness and certainty, you’d almost think he’d suggested Mitt Romney pay a normal tax rate.
But Akin isn’t some fringe figure. He is the GOP mainstream. He wasn’t even the Tea Party candidate in the primary — that was Sarah Steelman, endorsed by Sarah Palin herself. What Akin is running on — taking health insurance from at least 30 million Americans, gutting government, and lowering taxes for the richest — is pretty much what every Republican in the country is running on. On Tuesday, the GOP officially approved Akin’s “offensive” views on women’s health in the form of the “human life amendment,” making them central to the party’s 2012 platform.
The scariest thing about the GOP is how the fringe has taken over the party. But here are four candidates who personify just how extreme the Republican Party has become.
Photo by AP Photo/Orlin Wagner