In the Arena

Why Akin Matters

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Jeff Roberson / AP

U.S. Representative Todd Akin (R., Mo.) announcing his candidacy for U.S. Senate on May 17, 2011, in Creve Coeur, Mo. Akin, who has said he opposes all abortions, said in the interview if a woman is raped, her body "has ways to shut that whole thing down."

We now have Representative Steve King (R., Ostrich) saying that he never heard of a girl getting pregnant because of statutory rape or incest. He thus joins Rep. Todd Akin (R., Clueless) among the ranks of blithering idiots saying incredibly uninformed and disgraceful things about the crime of rape. It might be argued that these are isolated cases of stupidity. That might even be sort of true. The leaders of the Republican Party have jumped with alacrity to defenestrate Akin. But I believe the Akin-King statements and, indeed, the Akin abortion amendment that Paul Ryan supported (and which made a distinction between “forcible” and other sorts of rape) point to a larger Republican problem: it has become a party that, at the grass roots, celebrates ignorance.

(MORE: Todd Akin Fallout: Rape, Abortion and the Dark History of Qualifying Violence Against Women)

I mean, how did Todd Akin get nominated for the Senate in the first place? How did Christine O’Donnell in Delaware? How did Donald Trump surge to the top of the early presidential polls after his birther blather became public? Why do so many Republicans have so much trouble with evolution? Climate change? The non-difference between forcible and statutory rape?

This is not to say that Republicans are, by natural bent, stupid. Indeed, many of the smartest, most erudite, most creative policy thinkers I’ve encountered over the past 40 years are Republicans or conservatives. They’ve been the source of some of the best policy proposals I’ve seen–including the individual mandate for health care, cap and trade (to limit sodium sulfur-dioxide), school choice, work requirements for welfare recipients. In foreign policy, they’ve been well-represented by realists like Brent Scowcroft, James Baker, Bob Zoellick and their boss, George H.W. Bush.

(MORE: Best Tweets About Todd Akin’s ‘Legitimate Rape’ Comment)

But the Republican Party that produced such thinkers is, as we all know, gone now. And what we have is a party that too often acquiesces–with rolled eyes and grimaces, to be sure–in the know-nothing idiocy of a plurality of its base. There was a period when the Democrats suffered from a similar malady–the days of racial quotas, overweening sociological tolerance of criminality and the belief that the U.S. is almost always wrong when it uses force overseas. The Democrats still have some outliers who believe such things. But Bill Clinton showed that Democrats could reform themselves; Barack Obama’s reliance on ideas that were originally Republican or bipartisan in much of his domestic agenda is a reflection of the permanence of that change.

The Republicans, by contrast, seem in the midst of falling through a spider hole, away from facts and reality, into a past where “reality” was determined by faith and fear, before the scientific method was invented. There are some honest voices–like Jon Huntsman who, in the primaries, defended evolution and acknowledged climate change (Mitt Romney also said he believed evolution was God’s plan; I agree with that). But you saw how well Huntsman did in the primaries–and you’ve seen how far Romney has had to tack toward silliness to win the nomination.

In the end, Todd Akin is not an outlier. He is a symptom of the disease. It will be interesting to see, if he stays in the race, whether the good people of Missouri decide he should be a United States Senator.

MORE: Todd Akin Resists Calls to Withdraw from Missouri Senate Race After Rape Comments

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Steely Gaze
Steely Gaze

Wow, where to begin. Let's start with this: "

But I believe the Akin-King statements and, indeed, the Akin abortion amendment that Paul Ryan supported (and which made a distinction between “forcible” and other sorts of rape) point to a larger Republican problem: it has become a party that, at the grass roots, celebrates ignorance." The problem with this statement is that when the Akin amendment was being considered Federal law defined rape as only forcible rape. It was not until a year later that the law was changed to include statutory rape in the legal definition of rape at the federal level. So at the time, the amendment supported by Todd Akin, Paul Ryan and co-sponsored by ELEVEN House Democrats was in line with the federal definition of rape.

So how about this one? "I mean, how did Todd Akin get nominated for the Senate in the first place?" Does Mr. Klein really not know? I mean the New York Times, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, even the Huffington Post have all explained how. Quite simply it's because Claire McHaskell wanted to run against him and so her campaign began running ads during the Republican primary urging Republicans not to vote for Todd Akin. Of course, that virtually ensured that he would win the primary because of course you are gonna vote for the guy that the candidate you are hoping to defeat in November tells you not to vote for. The McHaskell campaign played the Republican Party just like Briar Rabbit convincing Briar Fox to throw him into the Briar Patch by saying it was the last place he wanted to go.

prestalex
prestalex

In my opinion, the Republican message gets adapted to the circumstance. For example, they came to the defense of Mitt Romney's style of aggressive capitalism where moving jobs overseas in order to increase shareholder profit was deemed to be a shining example of how capitalism works. Then yesterday, Florida's Republican Attorney General, Pam Bondi - discussing the economic impacts from natural disasters, such as the passage of a hurricane, became utterly "liberal-sounding" when she made an impassioned on-tv rant against those "price gougers" who jack up prices on such things as water and gasoline. Well guess what, Bondi, that is pure and simple capitalism at its finest...and a really great example why the government needs to keep it in check with regulation - oddly a position that Pam and her talk show host, Huckabee, whole-heartedly agreed should happen. My own opinion about price gouging aside, I had to scratch my head in hearing their support for more government regulations...especially economic ones. 

NC doc
NC doc

"This is not to say that Republicans are, by natural bent, stupid."Actually, it is.  We just got a sneak peak at what they talk about when they think no one is listening.  What an imbecile.  For a laugh read the spoofed bit about Mr. Akin explaining his comments on The Onion.  

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

 

While Ryan complained in an interview at the time that the 2008 bank

bailout “sucks,” he gave a much more forceful endorsement for bailing

out his benefactors in a speech to the House: “If we fail to do the

right thing, heaven help us—if we fail to pass this, I fear the worst is

yet to come.” He defended the vote as necessary to “save the free

enterprise system.”

Mary Waterton
Mary Waterton

Why does Akin matter? Because otherwise the democrats and republicans would be forced to talk about the ECONOMY and the TRILLION dollar deficits and what they DON'T plan to do about it.

Speaking as a woman, I could care less about some backwater doofus in Missouri.  This news media *BS* will be forgotten in a week but the never-ending economic depression will still be with the FORGOTTEN UNEMPLOYED when the bills come due and there is no way to pay them!

DerekHogan
DerekHogan

the part of the brain that judges morality is missing in his brain.

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

 Everything to the left of the cerebral cortex appears to be missing...or at least dead.

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

Calculating all the miraculous benefits of Paul Ryan's "specific" proposals for the economy, it appears we will have 4.3 trillion dollars in tax cuts.  These will be offset, if only partially, by about 1.7 trillion in SPENDING cuts.  And SURPRISE, SURPRISE, SURPRISE -- the 1%-ers benefit almost exclusively!  The spending cuts mainly come at the expense of low-income families. 

The effect, overall, is to INCREASE the deficit by about 2.5 trillion dollars.

Brother Ryan claims he is death on the deficit.

Can someone tell me how he came to that conclusion?

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

 

If we add up Ryan's specific 

economic proposals, we have $4.3 trillion in tax cuts, partially offset

by around $1.7 trillion in spending cuts -- with the tax cuts, SURPRISE,

disproportionately benefiting the top 1 percent, while the spending cuts would

primarily come at the expense of low-income families. Overall, the effect would

be to increase the deficit by around two and a half trillion dollars.

Ryan claims to be a deficit hawk.

How on earth did he arrive at that conclusion?  Must be consulting with Toad Akin.

MrObvious
MrObvious

http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/22/...

Either we will fight ignorance and take steps to legislate for raped women based upon reason and facts, or we will be led by ignorance and continue to make bad laws. Or fail to make good ones.

I guess she didn't have those delicate hormonal thingies that would make the pregnancy impossible.

Lesson: men who want women to keep kids born out of rape don't really care what happens afterwards.

Yeshuratnam
Yeshuratnam

Obama is ignorant of science because he attended law school. How can he say that Akin missed the science class? Akin is scientifically correct. There is scientific evidence that rape victims can turn back the sperm if they put their mind and muscles to block it. There are also psychological conditions to intercept the sperm. If the rape victim is uptight, frightened, and resisting by twisting at the time of intercourse, the sperm deposited in the vagina is less likely to be able to fertilize. The tubes become spastic and the sperm may lose its route.

Yeshuratnam
Yeshuratnam

Obama is ignorant of science because he attended law school. How can he say that Akin missed the science class? Akin is scientifically correct. There is scientific evidence that rape victims can turn back the sperm if they put their mind and muscles to block it. There are also psychological conditions to intercept the sperm. If the rape victim is uptight, frightened, and resisting by twisting at the time of intercourse, the sperm deposited in the vagina is less likely to be able to fertilize. The tubes become spastic and the sperm may lose its route.

RomneyRyan2012
RomneyRyan2012

Nothing is funnier than liberals blathering on about how smart they are.

All of Obama's economic team were similarly arrogant, high IQ clueless statists, guaranteeing, scientifically, how unemployment would be under 6% if we just spent $900 billion we didnt have..

Geniuses, all of them.

MrObvious
MrObvious

Interestingly enough the only ones that seem to talk about how great, smart and awesome they are seems to be the righties here.

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

Funny thing about that! Overcompensation for the "small" man syndrome, I think.

Palladia
Palladia

If someone who is 6'2' stands beside someone who is 5'8", nobody has any problem telling who is taller.  One of the little details with intelligence is that it is easier for someone who is smart to gauge intelligence in someone else than it is for someone who is not, very.

People on the internet can claim pretty much anything, but what they need to understand is that what they say, and how they say it, is used to gauge and evaluate their statements. 

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

The new laws in many states, most notably Pennsylvania, are alarmingly politically motivated to favor Republicans. According to the GOP,  there's one big problem with our democratic process: Too much voting.

The law would prevent a problem that doesn't exist. Since 2000, there have been 10 recorded cases of voter fraud. More people go into the

voting booth and get hit by lightening while being attacked by sharks

than commit "voter fraud".

"Voter fraud" is hardly high on the list of criminal priorities. Very few evil geniuses take over the world so they can do more jury duty.

Perhaps the Republicraps will bring back the racist literacy tests during the Jim Crow era that kept uneducated minorities from voting.

Nah, they won't go that far: all the Tea Baggers would be disqualified.

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

POST-ABC Poll:

Who would be a better commander-in-chief? 

Obama = 45%, Romney = 35%

Who would do better job with social issues such as abortion, gay marriage?

Obama = 47%, Romney = 39%

Who would do better job handling Social Security? Obama = 45%, Romney = 38%

Who do you trust more to handle taxes? 

Obama = 46%, Romney = 46%

Who would do a better job on Afghanistan? Obama = 43%, Romney = 27%

Who do you trust to handle the economy? Obama = 45%, Romney = 48%

Who do you trust to handle education? Obama = 52%, Romney = 34%

Who do you trust to handle international affairs?  Obama = 56%, Romney = 37%

Who would do a better job with the federal budget deficit? Obama = 43%,

Romney = 51%

Who do you trust to handle health care policy?  Obama = 48%, Romney = 44%

Who do you trust to handle immigration issues?  Obama = 46%, Romney = 43%

Who do you trust to improve job creation? Obama = 47%, Romney = 45%

Who do you trust to handle Medicare? 

Obama = 43%, Romney = 27%

My my my...not looking too good for Romney.

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

  Republicans have to pretend that their new voter ID laws have anything

to do with stopping fraudulent voting, and instead start passing laws

where if poor, black people want to vote, they must first jump through

an actual hoop.

Palladia
Palladia

One of the things that has turned up in the Pennsylvania "voter I.D." situation is that often, older people (particularly women who changed their names when they married) can't come up with any sort of document that matches their current name: a birth certificate won't; perhaps they've never driven; never had a passport. . . there are some real problems for them.

Now, in my case, it won't effect me at all.  For one thing, the ladies at my polling place know me on sight from years of regular voting, but also, I have my driver's license.  So, when I vote for Obama, the new law (said by a Pennsylvania Republican legislator to guarantee the election to Romney) won't make any difference at all.

If the Republicans were anything like true patriots, they'd be trying to enhance voter turnout.  As it is. . .

Terry Clifton
Terry Clifton

 The same hoop as everyone else. The thing about you liberals is your

racism is hidden underneath all that smug exterior. You honestly believe

to your core that minorities are somehow incapable of providing the

same identification as everyone else simply because they are Black or

Hispanic, but you could care less if they have identification to obtain

an apartment, a job, or anything else. I have yet to see one case where

one minority has been denied the right to vote because they lacked a

drivers license or a state issued identification card. Every natural

born citizen in this country should already have proper documentation,

if they don't, it's their own fault, and it's not because they are too

black or brown to get one.. Shame on you.. 

Chinga_Tu_Madre
Chinga_Tu_Madre

Liberals! You liberals! Wah! All your fault! 

Liberals!

Chinga_Tu_Madre
Chinga_Tu_Madre

Tee hee, so pretentious, and now you're playing the victim? What a joke, and an idiot.

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

 Short Terry:  "WWWWAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!"

Chinga_Tu_Madre
Chinga_Tu_Madre

Yet no ID for you still permits the obvious conclusion that you're an idiot.

Terry Clifton
Terry Clifton

Mr.

There are no victims here..Just another made up conspiracy so that Democrats can keep rigging elections. 

MrObvious
MrObvious

Every natural born citizen in this country should already have proper documentation, if they don't, it's their own fault, and it's not because they are too black or brown to get one.. Shame on you..

So you blame the victim of a system that didn't care enough to provide them with those document?

seriously.

Terry Clifton
Terry Clifton

 You know when you strike a nerve with the Liberals..The name calling comes, and they pretend that the facts don't matter to them. Typical..

53underscore3
53underscore3

I thought you were black, Terry.  Weren't you up in arms because of Biden's comment?

Of course, you've never heard of Jim Crow, have you?

Awful weird, Terry, since you're black and all...

Terry Clifton
Terry Clifton

 So you find an obscure marriage law from Washington State..Wow!!

I was talking about Civil Rights Act, not a state law, which states still control marriage laws..Duh...

53underscore3
53underscore3

...and Biden spoke in front of an audience of black Americans, so whatinell were you trying to sell, dumbknuts?

53underscore3
53underscore3

The Civil Rights Act  did away with all of the Jim Crow Laws.

Who the f are you kidding, Terry!  You're dumber than that rock on your windowsill.

In Washington State, laws banning interracial marriages were enforced until 1969.

1969

Terry Clifton
Terry Clifton

 Jim Crow is like quoting the Old Testament. The Civil Rights Act  did away with all of the Jim Crow Laws..Again, the facts get blurred out in your air of smugness..

Joe Biden is beyond contempt, and anything he says is biblical to liberals. So why bother? 

Ohiolib
Ohiolib

By that logic, poll taxes are ok as long as everyone pays them.  It's not about whether the hoops are "fair". It's about why there are any hoops at all.

Terry Clifton
Terry Clifton

 Again, in this country we are all issued identification. It's the same whether you're black, brown, or white. Trying to paint the minorities as incapable of being to stupid or lazy to obtain those forms of identification simply because they are minorities is racism in it's truest form..Shame on you..

The plain truth is that they already have it, and to say otherwise is ridiculous, and dishonest, but I expect nothing less from you people.. 

MrObvious
MrObvious

Terry

poll taxes are a result of the system you pretend was automatically ensuring that everyone had what they needed. You can't remove function of a system that treat different skin tones with their own set of rules and then rail against the induvidual for not being 'energetic' enough to ensure they have what they need.

It's like you're determined to blame the victim by ignoring the system that was created to ensure this racial preferential treatment.

Terry Clifton
Terry Clifton

 Huh? No one is talking about poll taxes..Geez, another one stuck in a time warp that has nothing to do with the thread..

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

 Well, well...the make-believe marine returns.

{crickets, and all of them yawning}

Terry Clifton
Terry Clifton

 Hello David.. It's been too long..Still angry as ever...Sigh..

ARTraveler
ARTraveler

While I live in the country, the nearest city is a Republican-tilted Bible-Belt town of 60,000 with three colleges (1 church, 1 state, 1 private) with a program run at a church next to the local high school to take care of the 15-20 children of students every year.  When I taught ar a much smaller rural district, there were at least 6 pregnant girls every year, ranging from 6th grade up though their senior year.  If there wasn't statutory rape, there would not be the need for laws against it or for incest.  Rep King needs to get out of his limo and rich friend's homes and go and visit schools and maybe he will learn what he obviously missed learning in his youth.  He does know that the earth isn't the center of the universe-right?  Global warming can result in more rainfall and snowfall-right?  Is this turkey on the House "Science" committee also?  Talk about dumbing down America-it starts in Washington with some real zeros. (I would say they are negative numbers but I don't want to confuse him...or Rusty).

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

If we add up Ryan's specific  economic proposals, we have $4.3 trillion in tax cuts, partially

offset by around $1.7 trillion in spending cuts -- with the tax cuts, SURPRISE,

disproportionately benefiting the top 1 percent, while the spending cuts would

primarily come at the expense of low-income families. Overall, the effect would

be to increase the deficit by around two and a half trillion dollars.

Ryan claims to be a deficit hawk.

How on earth did he come to that conclusion?

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

If we add up Ryan's specific  economic proposals, we have $4.3 trillion in tax cuts, partially

offset by around $1.7 trillion in spending cuts -- with the tax cuts, SURPRISE,

disproportionately benefiting the top 1 percent, while the spending cuts would

primarily come at the expense of low-income families. Overall, the effect would

be to increase the deficit by around two and a half trillion dollars.

Ryan claims to be a deficit hawk.

How on earth did he come to that conclusion?

magicbymark
magicbymark

I would like everyone to know that Mr. Akin does not represent most of us in Missouri.

Palladia
Palladia

I hope not.  But if he does get elected to the Senate, you will have to question that statement.

53underscore3
53underscore3

I hope you vote that ficker out.  Either vote some sanity into the GOP or vote for the Dem.

Either way...

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

Well, actually, I'd say the results of the election will kind of tell us about that...