Akin's mixed 'apologies' compound his offense
The Kansas City Star
After several days of mixed-message apologies and sometimes-defiant explanations, U.S. Rep. Todd Akin still seems to not comprehend why he is in the thick of an uproar.
Several times the GOP candidate for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat has told mostly sympathetic conservative talk show hosts he’s being ostracized by his fellow Republicans and excoriated by the “liberal media” because “I just misspoke one word in one sentence on one day.”
That’s so far from truth it’s painful. And it compounds his offense of disrespect of women and dismissiveness toward victims.
The word Akin singles out is “legitimate.” He used it as an adjective for rape when he was being interviewed for a St. Louis TV news show about his opposition to abortion in all circumstances.
Specifically on pregnancy outcomes from rape, he said, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Akin initially allowed that a preferable word choice to “legitimate” would have been “forcible,” still missing the point that violence against women is abhorrent in all circumstances.
Not until day three of the furor did Akin acknowledge he was “medically wrong” about a woman’s reproductive system somehow being able to shut down in the event of violence. And that means his offense went well beyond “one word.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites a well-regarded study estimating 32,000 pregnancies occur annually as a result of rape.
Akin was espousing junk science that radical opponents of abortion use to validate their opposition to the termination of a pregnancy even in cases of rape or incest. It is a willful disconnect from reality.
At the very least, Akin should be booted from the House science committee. No one who drifts that far from evidence deserves a seat on that panel.
We would like to be able to say that Akin is a political aberration. Unfortunately, the same willful disconnect from evidence and reality is easy to find in Missouri politics.
Tim Jones, a GOP state representative from Eureka, several years ago signed on to a high-profile lawsuit contending that President Barack Obama was born outside of the United States. His role in the discredited “birther” movement hasn’t dampened Jones’ political aspirations. He is in line to become speaker of the Missouri House next year.
Ed Martin, a lawyer who is running for Missouri attorney general on the GOP ticket, has been embraced by “tenther” groups for erroneously contending the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives states authority to nullify federal laws. His candidacy is being supported by former U.S. Sen. John Danforth, considered a voice of reason in the Republican Party.
Missouri Republicans make a big mistake by nurturing politicians who disregard truth, evidence and reality.
Case in point: Todd Akin, GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate.