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On Facebook, A Torrent of Outrage And Disgust As Todd Akin Asks For a "THUMBS UP"

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, August 21 2012

Thousands of people have taken to Facebook to urge Missouri Republican Congressman Todd Akin to withdraw from the Senate race

All hell might be breaking loose within the Republican party in the wake of Missouri House Republican Todd Akin's bizarre Sunday comment exposing the idea that he thinks that some forms of rape are "legitimate," but the man himself appears to be oblivious to the ocean-sized trench he's fallen into in terms of public opinion, and nowhere is that more blatantly apparent than on Facebook.

"'I'm announcing today that we're going to stay in!'~Todd Akin THUMBS UP if you support Todd Akin,"
reads a Monday evening entry on the candidate's Facebook page, just after news broke that the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the conservative Super PAC American Crossroads had withdrawn their financial support.

As of Tuesday morning, more than a thousand people on Facebook "liked" the seemingly tone-deaf post, but the "likes" trickled in slowly after a larger body of people piled onto the overnight post by the hapless member of Congress' campaign team. As of Tuesday morning, that particular post provoked 2,587 comments, providing the congressman and the public with an unfiltered view into a span of emotions that range from outrage, disbelief, sarcasm, contempt and pleas from individuals -- who appear to be Republican voters -- to get out of the race.

If Akin had wanted feedback from the "grassroots" instead of party leaders, he's been geting plenty of it here. An e-mail sent to the Facebook account of the campaign for comment on the feedback was not returned, and nobody answered the phone at Akin's campaign headquarters: The voice mailbox was full.

"You chicken you can't even show up on an interview on CNN so how can you handle other issues? Please step down NOW and let someone else do the job you can't. You really must be working for Claire McCaskill. You have already embarrassed us not to mention other Republicans. You don't care about anybody but yourself. GO AWAY NOW!!! You cost us the election unless you step down," wrote Kathy McMorrow, who lists herself as a Missourian, a Christian and a Republican on her Facebook profile.

"Only an idiot would say what you said," wrote Karl Webb, a Facebook account holder who lists himself as a deacon at the Reformed Episcopal Church in Saint Ann, Missouri and a security officer. "Only a fool would stay in after saying it. You had the election in the bag and just gave that self-serving Democrat the victory. Your comments have made the BBC! Getting out is the last honorable thing you could do."

"What unbelievable arrogance and stupidity to remain in this race," wrote Ron Marr, a columnist for Missouri Life magazine, typifying the bulk of the comments that have streamed onto Akin's Facebook page. "Akin's comments reflected a lack of mental horsepower and a skewed viewpoint on both biology and society. PLease resign from this race. We need a conservative, true, but we need one who is intelligent. We don't need a joke candidate whose knowledge of the reproductive system seems to involve storks."

Akin has since cut a television ad asking for forgiveness, but so far neither the Facebook community nor party leaders seem to be in a forgiving mood. On a Tuesday afternoon radio show with Mike Huckabee, Akin said he plans to stay in the race, saying that his campaign was experiencing a tremendous amount of support from "regular small people."