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Akin's stand against school lunches

Associated Press

When I saw reports yesterday that Democrats were slamming Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) for opposing school lunches, I assumed Dems had dug up some embarrassing vote the U.S. Senate candidate cast years ago.

But as it turns out, that's not quite right. Akin voiced his position just this week.

Missouri's two U.S. Senate candidates tangled Thursday over whether taxpayers should subsidize school lunches for more than 34 million students across the country.

U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican candidate, said he opposes federal spending for the National School Lunch Program, which provides cash and surplus food for nearly 650,000 school lunches in Missouri each day.

"Is it something the federal government should do?" Akin said. "I answer is no. ... I think the federal government should be out of the education business."

In fairness, I should note that Akin doesn't care if state governments offer school-lunch programs, but he wants Congress to stop making investments in public education altogether.

In other words, for purely ideological reasons, the right-wing GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate in Missouri feels comfortable saying he wants to take food out of the mouths of poor children. It's OK if the money comes from state or local government, but if federal funds are needed, it's preferable to have the kids go hungry.

This is the same Todd Akin who believes the very existence of the federal student-loan program is a "stage-three cancer of socialism." He's also eager to eliminate the minimum wage, believes liberalism is based on "a hatred of God," believes the Bible should be a "blueprint" for American government; and wants to impeach President Obama because, in his mind, the president is "a complete menace to our civilization."

Why did Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and the DSCC make an aggressive effort to help Akin win his primary? This is why.

And in the bigger picture, one of the trends to watch this campaign season is the differences between Republican candidates who try to put a moderate veneer on their agenda and those who don't see the need to bother.