Don’t worry, Republicans. Rep. Todd Akin will go on the morning shows this morning to mitigate the damage. Everything will be fine, trust him!
Try as We Might, There’s No Shakin’ Akin
“It’s not enough just to nominate a conservative. He or she cannot be a mush-head.” — David Freddoso
Yesterday Ben Howe (web-video maestro) and Drew M. (sharp-tongued contributor to Ace of Spades) got into a back-and-forth on Twitter on whether Rep. Todd Akin (R-Liability) can be put into the category of Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell, as not-ready-for-prime-time, gaffe-prone conservatives who blew winnable races for the GOP.
Kevin Eder noted, “You could see O’Donnell’s problems from a mile away. Akin is a six-term Congressman. Nobody expected him to step in it like this.” Angle was a former state legislator as well, so maybe previous service in elected office isn’t a guarantee of readiness for the intense glare of a statewide bid for Senate.
We all have our lines in the sand. The prospect of a McCaskill-Akin race leaves me glad that I don’t live in Missouri. We need to send the Left as thorough and far-reaching a rebuke as possible, and obviously, beating McCaskill is a high priority. She deserves to lose, if for no other reason than her faux-centrist, Obamacare-backing, lifetime ACU rating of 14.6 record.
But Akin has really stepped in it, and his interview with Sean Hannity Tuesday night suggested he wasn’t in complete connection to reality, with the GOP nominee complaining that Mitt Romney shouldn’t be weighing in on the matter. In a race where a right-leaning ham sandwich could win, Akin leaves us yearning for the common sense, message discipline, and far-sighted vision of a right-leaning ham sandwich.
First, he’s very badly misinformed on an issue that is near and dear to him, abortion, asserting that “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down.”
There were an estimated at 84,767 forcible rapes reported to law enforcement in 2010, according to FBI statistics. The good news is that this number has been slowly descending in recent years. Here’s the big X factor when looking at pregnancy statistics; this number is for reported rapes. Not all women report all rapes. (However, in some of the coverage of this topic, you’ll see some numbers that seem incongruent; one CDC report asserted, “one percent, or approximately 1.3 million women, reported being raped by any perpetrator in the 12 months prior to taking the survey.” If that is true, it means that only 6.5 percent of all rapes are reported to law enforcement.)
Here’s a 1996 report putting the figure of rapes that result in pregnancy at 5 percent; this study puts it at 6.4 percent.
So we’re looking at a number somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,239 to 5,426 cases per year. Depending on how many rapes go unreported, the number could be a little higher or a lot higher. (This section is for all the folks who doubted the 31,000 number cited from CNN in yesterday’s Jolt.) Now, whether or not you find those numbers indicating that pregnancy from rape is “rare,” I hope we can all agree on the political danger of referring to the phenomenon as rare in a political campaign.
Gabe Malor points out why his belief in this medical fairy tale is so bothersome: “Akin’s convenient misconception about pregnancy gave him an easy out when it comes to abortion. He gets to take the tough line on abortion — make it illegal in all cases — but then sooth his guilty conscience by believing some horse[puckey] about women having ways to nonetheless dispose of an unwanted pregnancy. It’s moral cowardice, but I bet you anything Akin thinks he’s a martyr.”
For a lot of pro-lifers, cases of rape and incest are the genuine hardest cases, where their mission to protect the unborn runs headlong into their reluctance to tell a rape victim that she must carry the result of the assault to term. Whatever you think of abortion, whether you believe in treating victims of rape or incest differently from other pregnancies, one must recognize that this is an enormous thing to ask of any woman who has survived a great trauma. Akin waves away the issue by literally pretending it doesn’t happen, or that it almost never happens.
Then Akin exacerbated his misinformed view on this issue by ignoring the counsel of . . . basically the entire Republican party. This cannot be sorted into the usual moderate Establishment vs. conservative Grassroots spat, unless you want to call Michelle Malkin, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Charles Krauthammer, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and the editors of NR the “moderate Establishment.” And then there’s the genuine establishment: Romney, every living Republican who has served as a Senator from Missouri, Mitch McConnell . . .
I’ll let Michael Walsh take it from here:
Still, he has a few diehard defenders, who are fighting the wrong battle on his behalf. This isn’t about abortion or rape or “women’s health.” Nor is it about “defending our own” and not capitulating to the Left. (Heck, in this case, the Left wants Akin to stay in the race.) It’s about winning control of the U.S. Senate and putting a crucial swing state into the GOP column in November. Nothing — nothing — else matters.
If the GOP could think tactically, it would be dangerous. If it could think strategically, it would be a majority party. But it has too many Akins in it for either of those things ever to happen.
Neal Boortz: “If Todd Akin remains in this race he will become the pariah of the Republican Party . . . and the best friend the Democrats have.”