He's not an outlier; he's the mainstream
But for crying out loud, what the hell is happening to our country? We now have a party with elected leaders who think child labor laws are unconstitutional (Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah), who would repeal the Civil Rights Act (Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky), who think climate change is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people” (Republican Sen. James Inhofe).
- Sally Kohn, writing in Salon.com todaySome wag once said that a political gaffe is when a politician says what he really thinks. By that definition, Todd Akin's statement about the female reproductive system having some kind of magical barrier that keeps it from getting pregnant when it is "legitimately raped" certainly qualifies as a gaffe, because there is not a single iota of doubt that this is what the man really thinks. Moreover, it is not just Akin that thinks this way. He's right in line with the base of his party, probably the majority of his party. He is not an outlier; he is swimming in the sludgy mainstream of today's radically extremist Republican Tea Party.
As soon as the fateful words were out of Akin's mouth, his party started going bananas. It's all well and good for them to think like this, but they are not supposed to say it out loud. They are not supposed to give away the game or give more ammunition to those who claim the party is waging a war on women. (Where in the world would we get such an idea?)
Soon members of his party started calling for him to get out of the Senate race. Super-PACs and other committees were announcing that they would pull their financing from the campaign in an effort to force him out. His buddy Paul Ryan, with whom he has repeatedly introduced legislation in the House that would deny women access to abortions with no exceptions for rape or incest, called him up and suggested that he might want to get out of the race for the good of the party, i.e., for his and Romney's good. After thinking it over for 24 hours and testing the winds of public opinion, Mitt Romney decided that he was "offended" by Akin's remarks and that a Romney Administration would have provisions to allow for access to abortions for women who are raped!!! (This, of course, is a complete flip-flop from his previous position that a fertilized egg - any fertilized egg - should have the same rights as a human being and that there should be a constitutional amendment to that effect.)
And today, in a dazzling display of poor timing and disingenuousness, if not downright hypocrisy, the Republican platform committee approved a plank for the party's platform on a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion with no exceptions of any kind. As The New York Times reported:
Even as the Republican establishment continued to call for Representative Todd Akin of Missouri to drop out of his Senate race because of his comments on rape and abortion, Republicans approved platform language on Tuesday calling for a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion with no explicit exceptions for cases of rape or incest.In other words, they are codifying in their platform exactly what Akin said. They are advocating the "personhood" amendment which would give the fertilized egg the same rights as a human being. Actually, the egg would have more rights than a human female in this twisted way of thinking, because the life of the egg would be protected at all costs whereas the life of the woman would not. If there is a choice to be made between the life of the egg and the life of the woman, the egg wins every time and the woman is sacrificed.
This is exactly the Akin/Ryan bill that passed in the Republican-controlled House and that Mitt Romney told Mike Huckabee he would sign if he were president, even though he NOW says he would allow an exception for women who are raped. What will he say tomorrow after the Akin brouhaha blows over, as it certainly will?
This, in fact, is just what the country has to look forward to should Republicans win complete control of the government, as they might. This is a profoundly anti-science, anti-women's rights, anti-minority's rights of any kind, anti-21st century party, and Todd Akin is the face of it. He has actually shown more intellectual honesty than those hypocrites in his party who are running away from him after he accidentally blurted out what he really thinks.
UPDATE: Maureen Dowd pretty well nailed it today.