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Todd Akin’s crazy, stupid statement on rape

When I first heard — or rather watched (was at the gym doing cardio) — the news about U.S Rep. (and current Missouri GOP Senate nominee) Todd Akin’s comments on rape, I had thought it was the CNN team drawing them out of context.

Later, I read what he had said and thought, “Wow, there is no spinning this.  It’s bizarre and wrong.”  I was grateful to see that no prominent Republicans had defended the Congressman and that many had criticized him, with some calling on him to withdraw from the Senate race.

Michelle Malkin pretty much sums up my thoughts in her post on the matter:

Over the weekend, GOP Rep. Todd Akin — the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Missouri — said some really, really stupid things. (Twitchy has comprehensive coverage. Click here and keep scrolling.)

There’s no sugar-coating or whitewashing this. It wasn’t a “gaffe.” It was ignorant, garbled nonsense. Asked about his views on abortion in the case of rape, he claimed that “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

The striking thing to note is how quickly multiple Republicans have come out to criticize one of their own for his crazy, stupid statement.  Democrats, it seems, circle the wagons and defend their own when they saw similar stupid and offensive things (see, e.g., Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Ma’am Boxer).

(More on this anon, as time allows.)

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25 Comments

  1. he claimed that “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

    As often happens, people focus on the ‘wrong’ crazy aspect. I’ve seen a lot of commentary using Akin’s “legitimate rape” phrase as a handle for the incident. But that phrase doesn’t capture the crazy part; it’s just a poor word choice. It’s clear, from Akin’s context, that he meant to distinguish forcible rape, or what Whoopi Goldberg calls (with equal silliness) “rape-rape”, from statutory rape. Akin just chose a poor word for that commonly-made distinction. The really crazy part is more Akin’s belief that women would get pregnant but rarely, under the duress/trauma of a forcible rape.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 20, 2012 @ 5:19 pm - August 20, 2012

  2. WTF is “legitimate rape”? How can rape be “legitimate”?

    I’ve not-recently heard such a stupid term, nor abuse of the English language.

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — August 20, 2012 @ 5:19 pm - August 20, 2012

  3. This just shows how out of touch both sides of the political clown show are with the real world. This gaffe will not change a single vote in November. For the single issue abortion voter it will only reinforce their current choice. The vast majority will tune it out just like “less filling – tastes great”.

    Comment by Roy Lofquist — August 20, 2012 @ 5:30 pm - August 20, 2012

  4. Akin certainly stepped in it and McCaskill is cackling with glee.

    But, as ILC points out, he may have been speaking of “rape rape”. Liberals have many definitions of rape: rape-rape, feminist rape (all sex is rape), she was asking for it rape (Roman Polanski), and “you’d better put some ice on that” rape.

    Akin may well need to go but the speed at which the media piles on and the rush for the GOP to throw him over the side simply guarantees that no politician dares to say anything not cleared with focus groups and consultants. In short, say little of substance.

    Comment by SoCalRobert — August 20, 2012 @ 6:16 pm - August 20, 2012

  5. Personally, I don’t think what Akin said was nearly as bad as the things McCaskill has done, without question. I really don’t think this is an issue (especially considering whether abortion should be allowed in the case of rape isn’t an issue anyone really seems to be concerned with at the moment).

    I don’t really see how this isn’t a gaffe, but it was certainly stupid and he should probably be replaced if possible (especially considering how the MSM is spinning this).

    I like that the right is willing to condemn its own when something stupid is said, but I think the reaction to this from the right was a bit ridiculous. Again, this issue is something no one seems to care about right now except for the militant feminists, the Democratic party establishment, and the Obama campaign.

    Comment by Rattlesnake — August 20, 2012 @ 6:43 pm - August 20, 2012

  6. Roy, I’d disagree. I’m pretty much an automatic vote for pretty much any Republican candidate, and I would love to see Sen. McCaskill go, but if I were a Missourian, even I’d be hesitant to vote for Akin. A more centrist voter than I would undoubtedly be even more hesitant, given less loyalty to the GOP than I would bring. What he said was awful and embarrassing, and it’s appropriate for anyone and everyone to be put off by his comments.

    Todd Akin is the sort of social conservative that makes a social conservative like myself ashamed to call myself a social conservative. I’ve held pro-life views since junior high, always wanting to advance the idea that unborn life is worth protecting. And now that I am the daughter of a beautiful little preemie, I feel even more strongly about the humanity of the unborn. Comments such as Akin’s are extremely counterproductive, reinforcing the worst stereotypes of the pro-life movement. And I don’t think he just misspoke. We all misspeak, sometimes inserting the wrong word when we’re trying to make a point such that our words mean something different than their intent. But what he said reveals a woefully ignorant and indefensible point-of-view; you don’t just come up with that without having some pretty fringy opinions. In Phil Klein’s excellent column in the Washington Examiner, he points out that we’d be likely to hear more embarrassing comments from Akin were he to beat McCaskill and become a senator. And what really adds to the stupidity of his comments is just how unnecessary it is to engage in the issue. Banning abortion in the case of rape is not an issue that is going to come up within the six years that Akin would serve a term were he to win.

    My message to fellow social conservatives: we don’t need warriors; we need ambassadors.

    Comment by chad — August 20, 2012 @ 6:44 pm - August 20, 2012

  7. He’s made himself a target, and he did co-sponsored some diabolical legislation with paul ryan.

    You tar Ryan with this joker and he goes down in flames.

    Comment by Numberslucent — August 20, 2012 @ 6:44 pm - August 20, 2012

  8. the political clown show

    the speed at which the media piles on and the rush for the GOP to throw him over the side simply guarantees that no politician dares to say anything not cleared with focus groups

    Personally, I don’t think what Akin said was nearly as bad as the things McCaskill has done

    All fair points. It may well be that Akin needs to go; it is also true that America has bigger fish to fry.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 20, 2012 @ 6:54 pm - August 20, 2012

  9. I know it just sounds terrible. Can now go back to getting Biden out as VP candidate?

    Comment by anon322531 — August 20, 2012 @ 6:54 pm - August 20, 2012

  10. 1. Akin should quit for the good of the party and the country.
    2. Why saying women can’t get pregnant from rape is worse than selling guns to Mexican drug gangs, I don’t get.
    3. Why saying women can’t get pregnant from rape is worse than knocking up a campaign groupie while your wife is battling cancer, I don’t get.
    4. Why questioning whether all rape is “legitimate rape” is bad, but saying that for an adult man to drug and sodomize a 13 year old isn’t “rape rape” is OK, I don’t get.
    5. Why saying a woman can’t get pregnant from rape is worse than committing actual rape (a la Bill Clinton), I don’t get.
    6. Missourians should have listened to Sarah Palin; she endorses AKin’s opponent.

    Comment by V the K — August 20, 2012 @ 7:18 pm - August 20, 2012

  11. So… the only ‘winner’ is, Sarah Palin! I’m a fan (of hers) and I did not see that one coming.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — August 20, 2012 @ 7:29 pm - August 20, 2012

  12. Chad,

    Do you really think that the voter who passes unemployment lines and boarded shop windows on the way to the polls is going to vote D in high dudgeon?

    Roy

    Comment by Roy Lofquist — August 20, 2012 @ 7:32 pm - August 20, 2012

  13. Diabolical legislation is legislation that allows people to commit murder (i.e. abortion) lawfully, right?

    The screeching from the left notwithstanding, I still don’t understand how pro-life legislation is “extreme” but legislation that allows murder isn’t.

    Comment by Rattlesnake — August 20, 2012 @ 7:44 pm - August 20, 2012

  14. Roy, well, I would still vote for Akin were I a Missourian, for the reasons you mention (i.e., the economy). But I’d do it with a proverbial bag over my head. Virtually no one is defending him. Not Michelle Malkin, not Sean Hannity, not Mark Levin, not National Review. Not any other Republican running for office that I know of. We need not necessarily follow the lead of prominent pundits and politicians, but I don’t think we need to feel compelled to reflexively defend Republicans who make severe trouble for themselves. Some point out the huge double standards between us and Democrats, of how Democrats get away with saying horrible things without the firestorm of criticism. To that, I’d say that I want us to have a higher standard. A training Olympian aims for excellence, not merely to be as good as someone else. We know from the examples of Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio and others that we can do much, much better than Todd Akin. In the long run, Republicans will be better when we hold our standard bearers to a high standard. Support from voters (i.e., us) is a privilege that no candidate should feel entitled to just because they happen to agree with us on most issues.

    Speaking of misspeaking, in my earlier post, I meant that I am the father, not the daughter, of my preemie.

    Comment by chad — August 20, 2012 @ 7:49 pm - August 20, 2012

  15. Akin’s words weren’t opinion on an issue, but pure ignorance on biology as well as being very unempathetic.

    I am about as pro-life as they come, but I am perfectly fine with exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.

    The reality is that these incidents of pregnancy are a small percentage of abortion, and aren’t worth debating over. Any pro life conservative should just say “Yes I support abortion in those cases, so lets talk about the vast majority of abortions for elective reasons” and move on.

    So, now this senate candidate has stepped into a giant pile of poo, handed his opponent and easy avenue of attack and may make voters question his ability to think through other issues if he is ignorant on this one.

    Comment by Just Me — August 20, 2012 @ 7:55 pm - August 20, 2012

  16. [...] Todd Akin’s crazy, stupid statement on rape [...]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » One of those days. . . — August 20, 2012 @ 8:04 pm - August 20, 2012

  17. Chad,

    If you are striving for excellence in our elected officials I might suggest an internship with a certain Mr. Diogenes.

    “All these people that you mention
    Yes, I know them, they’re quite lame
    I had to rearrange their faces
    And give them all another name”.

    They all have an act, one that is quite lucrative. I look to them for amusement purposes only.

    I am certainly not defending Mr. Akin. I am just noting the appearance of a new giant molehill. Pesky critters, ain’t they.

    Roy

    Comment by Roy Lofquist — August 20, 2012 @ 8:22 pm - August 20, 2012

  18. Well, just more excellence than Todd Akin provides. That shouldn’t be a high bar to clear.

    Comment by chad — August 20, 2012 @ 10:19 pm - August 20, 2012

  19. It’s too bad the republican party has no spine. Republicans should do the same thing to the press Obama does and that is read a PREPARED statement and then answer no questions.

    Comment by Richard Bell — August 20, 2012 @ 10:21 pm - August 20, 2012

  20. Yes, Richard, because Obama’s policies & strategies have worked so well for him… {rolls eyes}

    Comment by Casey — August 20, 2012 @ 10:56 pm - August 20, 2012

  21. Chad,

    Thread is yours.

    Best,
    Roy

    Comment by Roy Lofquist — August 21, 2012 @ 12:31 am - August 21, 2012

  22. Is the GOP Convention Platform Committee totally tone-deaf? In the midst of the Akin-Rape kerfuffle, they announce they’ve inserted a rigorous anti-abortion Constitutional Amendment-plank into the Platform….

    Great way to alienate and annoy those independents and disgruntled Democrats R-R desperately-needs to win the Electoral College gang….**snerk**

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — August 21, 2012 @ 8:26 am - August 21, 2012

  23. When I first heard the news and how he had been asked to step down as the GOP candidate, I was under the impression that he had committed rape. But when I finally seen it here, I realize it was ONLY a very stupid comment. I have no idea what constitutes legitimate rape. Being gay and never having had a sexual relationship with a woman, I have an even less of an idea what he means by the female body has ways to shut the whole thing down. Stupid; yes. Step down, no. An apology is in order and he should submit himself to sensitivity training during his campaign. That might even help his chances to defeat Senator McCaskill.

    Comment by Roberto — August 21, 2012 @ 1:50 pm - August 21, 2012

  24. A cause to boot this guy has spread across Facebook.

    http://www.youstand.com/cause/82112/remove-todd-akin-from-the-house-science-committee

    Comment by Daniella K — August 21, 2012 @ 2:05 pm - August 21, 2012

  25. Roberto, please consider that conservative anti-abortion candidates have had the “what about exceptions in the case of rape or incest?” question aimed at them for three decades now. One would expect a minimally-proficient politician to have some sort of response ready, even if it were the “Naturally, I oppose abortion except in the case of rape or incest, etc.” which has become pretty much the de facto position of social cons for at least ten years.

    What is striking about Akin is that he completely flubbed a question both he and his staff should have seen coming from (oh…) several hundred miles away, yet he still blew it. This raises significant questions as to what the man is running for, as it is self-evident he is completely unprepared to answer bog-standard boiler-plate questions from the press.

    Comment by Casey — August 22, 2012 @ 1:51 am - August 22, 2012

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