Todd Akin’s name is mud. If you follow the news, you have heard of him. Most likely, you have heard that he is the one who believes in "legitimate rape." During the run-up to the 2012 election, the liberal media capitalized on his choice of words regarding rape and abortion in order to brand the Republican Party as a backwards, prehistoric, unsympathetic and uncivilized group of barbarians who hate women, blacks and gays. Apparently, they succeeded, for Akin lost the Senate race in Missouri to the liberal Claire McCaskill, and the Republican Party has chosen Akin as their scapegoat for not only losing the Senate seat, but for costing Mitt Romney the presidency as well. Bobby Jindal blamed Akin in a recent Republican Party speech, where he said, "We have to quit being the party of stupid.” He went on to clarify that he was referring to the choosing of candidates that say stupid things, obviously referring to Todd Akin. Karl Rove has publicly stated that he will be raising money and getting involved in the primary process in future elections in order to eliminate bad candidates like Todd Akin.
Once Akin’s words were taken out of context, truncated and twisted, and then served up as fresh meat for the hungry dogs of the media, no one wanted anything to do with him, including Republicans. All funding and support was withdrawn and he was asked to drop out of the race by Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, various big-name Republicans and even radio host Sean Hannity. Various pundits on Fox news, including the acidic Ann Coulter, have repeatedly excoriated Akin for his “stupid” comments.
No one has bothered to defend him and no one has clarified his words in their context. They all simply repeated the decontextualized soundbite chopped up by the liberal media. Newt Gingrich is the only politician I know who stood by Todd Akin. I do not say that as an endorsement of Newt Gingrich. Nevertheless, credit should go where credit is due. The Republicans of course hoped to pressure him out of the race and quickly replace him with a candidate who could win. At the very least, they hoped to demonstrate to America that the Republican Party would not put up with such candidates. What seems to have been lost on these Republicans is the failure of their strategy. Distancing themselves from Todd Akin did not succeed in delivering them the White House or the Senate. Actually, "distancing" is an extremely mild way of putting it. They trashed, condemned and betrayed the poor man. But for what? To what end? What rewards did it bring?
What did Todd Akin actually say? In an interview about abortion, the reporter asked Akin the following question:
The interviewer asked the question regarding abortion, “What about in the case of rape? Should it be legal or not?” Akin’s full response (a response rarely if ever clarified by Republicans) was as follows.
“It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that doesn’t work or something, you know, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”
Predictably, Claire McCaskill responded to the interview with the following words: “It is beyond comprehension that someone can be so ignorant about the emotional and physical trauma brought on by rape. The ideas that Todd Akin has expressed about the serious crime of rape and the impact on its victims are offensive.”
Interestingly, the reporter showed no shock at Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments. Why? Because he understood the context and knew what Akin was talking about. Akin was OBVIOUSLY not saying he thought some rapes were legitimate. He was simply acknowledging that not every rape was truly a rape. In other words, some people cry rape when there has been no rape. Is this a news flash to anyone? Do we not all know that sometimes men have been falsely accused of rape? This is all Akin meant and it is OBVIOUS when one bothers to listen to the question and the whole answer. What he meant was, “If it is truly (legitimate) rape…”
Regarding the female body’s ability to shut down conception in response to rape, the interviewer apparently did not consider those comments to be shocking and revolting either, for he did not look shocked and did not ask any follow up questions about it. Akin said that it was his understanding based on what he had heard from doctors. Was his information that he received from doctors inaccurate? Very possibly, but is this really a reason to crucify the man? Is this a reason to call him “stupid” and “idiot”? Is this a reason to ask him to drop out of the race and withdraw funding and then blame him for all Republican failures?
There are a few possible conclusions we can come to with respect to the Republican treatment of Todd Akin, and none of them are flattering.
1) No one bothered to take an extra two minutes and listen to Akin's comments in their full context. Therefore, no one knew what he meant by legitimate rape, and everyone simply accepted the decontextualized soundbite offered up by the liberal media.
If so, this is inexcusable laziness. Republicans should know better than to accept the liberal media’s accounting of a Republican candidate’s comments.
2) Perhaps, many Republicans do know the full context of Akin's comments and simply felt that nothing could be gained by defending him. Perhaps, they felt it would be too difficult to clarify Akin’s comments, once the chopped up version went viral. At that point, they felt the best thing for the Party would be to have Akin withdraw. When he refused, they got angry, and decided to make him their whipping boy.
If so, this is also inexcusable. This demonstrates cold pragmatism, not principle.
3) Republicans care more about winning than they do about the continual murder of babies in our country. They would rather have a pro-choice candidate who doesn’t embarrass them with his words than a pro-life candidate who does. They find Todd Akin's views on abortion more embarrassing than Mitt Romney’s moderate and waffling “let’s see which way the wind is blowing” views on the subject. They would rather have a candidate who allows for abortion in cases of rape and incest -- even though the murder of an infant is still the murder of an infant – than a “strict,” “extreme” and “radical” candidate like Akin who believes killing infants is killing infants no matter how the infant was conceived. They believe that it’s OK to punish the infant. They believe that abortion is not so horrifying under those circumstances. They believe abortion will make the woman feel better and heal faster. In other words, they’re not really all that offended by abortion. They simply want to win and they don’t think a candidate who holds such “extreme” views can win.
Our country now has a legacy of over 50 million mutilated infants, and the only political party that professes to care about it doesn’t actually care. Woe is us!