We’ve seen quite a few despicable Republicans breeze through these pages since 2010 (even before, but I want to narrow the field to the Tea Party’s finest). Missouri doesn’t get much mention here but that’s about to change with the Republican selection of Tea Party favorite, Todd Akin to oppose Democrat Claire McCaskill for the United States Senate.
In an interview with St. Louis television station KTVI-TV (a Fox affiliate) six-term Republican Akin went on record as saying:
No need to provide a full transcript here; this is damning enough:
“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Mr. Akin said of pregnancies from rape. “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 didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”
Because it apparently doesn’t punish a rape victim to give birth to the child of her rapist.
Now you know, if you doubted before, why Akin can say he is Missouri’s most conservative Republican. Of course, the firestorm was immediate. What is ” legitimate” rape? Is there some sort of ” “illegitimate” rape? Are we back to Paul Ryan’s non-forcible rape deal again with Republicans? Do all Republicans have a genetic defect that prevents them from understanding the workings of the human body?
This is what his opponent, Clare McCaskill had to say:
“It is beyond comprehension that someone can be so ignorant about the emotional and physical trauma brought on by rape,” said McCaskill. “The ideas that Todd Akin has expressed about the serious crime of rape and the impact on its victims are offensive.”
Even Romney and Ryan backed away:
“Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement. A Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.”
All this controversy probably fazed Akin less than the fact that even the mainstream media, so normally prone to overlooking Republican extremism, picked up on it: from CBS “Mo. Rep. Todd Akin: Rape rarely leads to pregnancy.”
“As a member of Congress, I believe that working to protect the most vulnerable in our society is one of my most important responsibilities, and that includes protecting both the unborn and victims of sexual assault. In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year. Those who perpetrate these crimes are the lowest of the low in our society and their victims will have no stronger advocate in the Senate to help ensure they have the justice they deserve.
“I recognize that abortion, and particularly in the case of rape, is a very emotionally charged issue. But I believe deeply in the protection of all life and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action. I also recognize that there are those who, like my opponent, support abortion and I understand I may not have their support in this election.
“But I also believe that this election is about a wide-range of very important issues, starting with the economy and the type of country we will be leaving our children and grandchildren. We’ve had 42 straight months of unacceptably high unemployment, trillion dollar deficits, and Democratic leaders in Washington who are focused on growing government, instead of jobs. That is my primary focus in this campaign and while there are those who want to distract from that, knowing they cannot defend the Democrats’ failed economic record of the last four years, that will continue to be my focus in the months ahead.”
Not graceful, but such maneuvers by catastrophically ignorant and insensitive candidates never are. Apparently Akin has decided he wants to pit his failed record as a human being against the Democrats’ ” failed economic record.” Good luck with that.
Speaking of records, Emily’s List gives folks a few other reasons to fear Akin:
- Akin Has Consistently Received 0% Pro-Choice Ratings From Planned Parenthood.
- Akin is an avid supporter of the Paul Ryan Plan which would end Medicare as we know it, and thinks cuts should be even deeper.
- Todd Akin doesn’t support Social Security, a program that is responsible for keeping millions of seniors out of poverty.
- Akin is a founding member of the House Tea Party Caucus
- In a debate, Akin didn’t even know the minimum wage (federal minimum wage is $7.25/hr), but still wanted to hurt working families by lowering it further.
They also came up with an FAQ on his ” tenure to date” in the House:
- Cutting Social Security? Akin says it was a “terrible investment” anyway!
- Ending Medicare as we know it? Akin’s on board.
- Making sure Mom makes as much as Dad would at the same job? Akin’s not for that.
- Changing the definition of rape so that some are legally ‘worse’ than others? Akin is totally on board.
- Compelling the IRS to audit rape victims who seek to end a pregnancy? Akin thinks that’s entirely appropriate.
- Defunding preventative services like cancer screenings and birth control? Check!
- Increasing aid to public schools, colleges, and early childhood education? Certainly not.
- Extending unemployment benefits in the middle of the recession? No way!
You might from this spring the Stop Abortion Funding in Multi-state Exchange Plans (SAFE) Act (HR 4971). This abomination was introduced in late April by Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), was designed to, as Raw Story reported, “amend the new federal health care law to ensure that health insurance exchanges would not cover abortion procedures. The health care reform law required all 50 states to set up a health insurance exchange system by 2014… Like the Hyde Amendment, the SAFE Act would allow for exemptions if the pregnancy was the result of an act of rape or incest, or if the mother experienced certain medical conditions.”
It’s illustrative of our times that McCaskill, reports the New York Times, spent “nearly $2 million on ads portraying Mr. Akin as ultraconservative” and here Akin goes and does it for free. We’re living in an age when Republicans can’t wait to flash their extremist cred.
Akin apparently decided even rape wasn’t an excuse – not even legitimate rape. A Republican, after all, has to get more extreme in order to continually prove himself to the bigoted base. You can see why this guy would be considered a Republican’s Republican, assuming you can use the term at all for a group that seems to oppose with every fiber of their being the very idea of Republic.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.