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Advice Regarding Akin

10:03 AM, Aug 22, 2012 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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My advice, for what it's worth, to conservatives and Republicans desperate to see Todd Akin off the ballot in Missouri: You've made your point. You've bewailed and denounced and threatened. Now it's time to hearken to the words of Lincoln, in his great Temperance Address, delivered on Washington's birthday in 1842 in Springfield, Illinois, addressing the fervent and fervid temperance advocates of his time—but also the fervent and fervid of all times:

When the conduct of men is designed to be influenced, persuasion, kind, unassuming persuasion, should ever be adopted. It is an old and a true maxim, that a "drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall." So with men. If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart, which, say what he will, is the great highroad to his reason, and which, when once gained, you will find but little trouble in convincing his judgment of the justice of your cause, if indeed that cause really be a just one. On the contrary, assume to dictate to his judgment, or to command his action, or to mark him as one to be shunned and despised, and he will retreat within himself, close all the avenues to his head and his heart; and though your cause be naked truth itself, transformed to the heaviest lance, harder than steel, and sharper than steel can be made, and though you throw it with more than Herculean force and precision, you shall be no more be able to pierce him, than to penetrate the hard shell of a tortoise with a rye straw.

Such is man, and so must he be understood by those who would lead him, even to his own best interest.

Such, it appears, is Todd Akin. He's given plenty of indications he remains open to leaving the field. Now is the time for kind, unassuming—and private—persuasion by conservatives, by pro-life and pro-marriage advocates, by serious people who've worked with Akin and by his fellow Missourians. I have reason to believe that's now beginning to happen behind the scenes. And I suspect that by the Democratic convention, by Labor Day, Akin will have stepped aside. 

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