JOHN KOSTER, candidate for Washington's First Congressional District – which includes parts of Kirkland, Redmond and Woodinville and extends north to the Canadian border – holds many of the same views as Todd Akin, who is the GOP’s candidate for U.S. Senate in Missouri.
Akin recently took the deplorable public position that certain forms of rape are legitimate and that in no case should a woman, even in cases of rape, be allowed to terminate her pregnancy. It is clear that Koster shares Akin’s stance on rape and abortion: In an April 2012 Seattle Times article, Koster was quoted as saying that he “opposes abortions under any circumstances, including incest and rape.”
But there are other terrifying ways in which Koster is Akin’s replica. For example, Koster would kill the education department. During a June 2010 Snohomish County Liberty Action Committee event, Koster said that we need to “abolish the Department of Education.” Akin too shares those views.
According to an August 17 Kansas City Star article, Akin said that he is against federal spending for the National School Lunch Program, which provides cash and surplus food for nearly 650,000 school lunches in Missouri each day. And in response to the question “Is it something the federal government should do?” Akin answered: “No. … I think the federal government should be out of the education business.”
Koster denies climate change. In response to the following question posed at a June 3, 2010 Snohomish County meeting, “Do you believe man is responsible for climate change,” Koster stated his answer clearly: “No. Absolutely not.” Akin is no different.
Addressing the House floor, Akin – a member of the House Science and Technology Committee – called the threat of global warming a “comedy.” Specifically, he said “This whole thing strikes me if it weren’t so serious as being a comedy you know. … Who in the world wants to put politicians in charge of the weather anyways? What a dumb idea….”
Koster and Akin are both Tea Party proponents. During a June 3, 2010 Snohomish County meeting, Koster said “The Tea Party movement…is one of the most exciting things that’s happening to this country for a long time.” As part of that Tea Party, Koster shares its goal of privatizing social security. During a February 16, 2010 speech given at a luncheon on Whidbey Island, Koster claimed that we would be better off if social security, Medicaid and Medicare were handled within “individual retirement accounts.” Put another way, “privatized.”
In 2001, Akin co-signed a letter to President Obama’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security calling for privatization. The letter said “Social Security reform must offer younger workers the opportunity to improve their rates of return using personal retirement accounts.”
And it is no surprise that Koster opposes same sex marriage. In fact, Koster believes it undermines “the very cornerstone of our society.” And Akin? Well, during a 2006 speech made to the House floor, Akin said that “Anybody who knows something about the history of the human race knows that there is no civilization which has condoned homosexual marriage widely and openly that has long survived.”
There are other similarities: Koster is pro-gun. He would reject “any legislation” that might curtail a person’s ability to own a gun, while Akin willingly advertises his “A” lifetime rating with the NRA. Koster, like Akin, supports increased domestic oil drilling. During a 2010 radio interview, Koster said plainly that we should “Drill here and drill now.” And despite the recent Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster, Koster still takes the position that our current “regulatory structure is, believe me, more than enough at this current time to protect the environment.” Akin is no different.
In fairness to Koster, according to an August 20 Seattle Times article, Koster criticized Akin’s recent rape statements as being “reprehensible and bizarre.” But Koster added that he wanted people to know that “not all pro-life people are crazy.” That might be the case. But it is more likely the case that Koster is not among the exceptions, but instead embodies the rule.
Trent Latta is an attorney and lives in Kirkland. He may be reached at TrentLatta@gmail.com.