Todd Akin said something stupid when he uttered the words "legitimate rape," and after at first being shunned by the Republican Party, he is being welcomed back. But there are two Missouri politicians in particular who probably shouldn't be called on to answer just how forgiving that state's political climate is because they did stuff that's a lot worse.
One of the current top experts in Akinology is Jeff Smith, who has been quoted in The New York Times, Salon, BuzzFeed, Politico, among other outlets. Smith is a funny person to tap for expertise in political rehabilitation. In one way, he is very familiar with the process. In another, he has a clear bias about how lenient the political world should be about past transgressions. The Times simply describes Smith as "a former Democratic state senator in Missouri." But the reason Smith's no longer in Missouri politics is that he was sentenced to a year and a day in prison for violating elections law in his 2004 Democratic primary campaign for Missouri's 3rd congressional district. He was recorded by a former staffer, who was wearing a wire, suggesting they pin the crime on an aide who'd committed suicide. Smith has not found his way back into Missouri politics, but he is a professor at the New School, where his faculty bio reads, "He is completing a memoir about his experience in politics, and contributes to The Recovering Politician, a new blog for former elected officials. His writing has been featured in Inc. and New York magazines, and he has been profiled in Harper’s, The New Republic, and other periodicals." From his new Manhattan perspective, he has not found New Yorkers to be very forgiving. "Your standard Romney bundler is not going to start bundling for Todd Akin," Smith told BuzzFeed on Monday. "That person would be embarrassed to bring Todd Akin to Manhattan."