We’ve all followed the sordid mess of U.S. Rep. Todd Akin’s ascent to the subject of the week for all the wrong reasons. He’s quite clearly infamous, not famous; toxic not topical.
And since he’s past the point where an apology could stanch the crisis and help him live to fight another day, we turn today to how to make a crisis end.
EMA’s Guru, Peter Kapcio, says that a crisis is not measured in time, but in intensity. If the attacks maintain themselves because of your actions and if you cannot get back to business as usual because they are unrelenting, you must increase the response level to end the threat.
Akin, left, only has one course left before his comments about “legitimate rape” begin to weigh down and damage the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan ticket. Akin already injected abortion and the Republican Party’s right to life platform into the center of the party’s upcoming convention.
Romney wants and needs the focus to be on President Obama, the limping economy and the social issues that separate conservatives and liberals. But not that social issue. This is in part because the party’s nominee — Romney — disagrees with his running mate, his party and Akin when it comes to pregnancy caused by rape.
Clearly, Akin needs to bow out of the U.S. Senate race in Missouri against Claire McCaskill. It would be humiliating, and he can’t fall back on his House seat because his term is up and he’s not seeking re-election while running for the Senate. But he might survive to run another day. End the crisis.
When your response to crisis compounds your original error, when your allies turn on you, when only a tiny fringe of extreme thought accepts your protestations of innocence, it’s time to fold the tent and go home.
Akin is clearly an ideologue, and zealots for any cause, in any ideology, tend to be the last to see the light and accept their fate. They’re so used to fighting the good fight for so long against extreme odds, they can’t see that everyone else is already across the finish line and they’re still back at the last turn.
End the crisis, remove the target, let someone else go forward for the greater good of the party.
The content of this blog is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It originates with Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and in four top editor positions at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs at Eric Mower + Associates, one of the nation’s largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agencies, with seven offices in the Northeast and Southeast. Learn more about EMA at www.mower.com. Steve’s blog is based on his own opinions and does not represent the views or positions of Eric Mower + Associates.