Akin, rape, and the radicalism of today’s Republican party

Okay, you probably heard about this all ready, but just in case:

Rep. Todd Akin, the newly-christened GOP Senate nominee in Missouri, said in an interview airing Sunday that “legitimate rape” rarely causes pregnancy.

Explaining his no-exceptions policy on abortions, Akin was asked why he opposes abortion even when the pregnancy is the result of rape.

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors, (pregnancy from rape) is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in a clip posted to YouTube by the Democratic super PAC American Bridge. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Akin added: “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 on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

Nice.  For starters, I’d like to know more about this “legitimate rape” thing.  Now, one could easily run a blog “incredibly stupid things Republican state legislators say,” but this is member of Congress– on the science committee no less (yikes!!)– and a candidate for U.S. Senate who won a statewide primary of Missouri Republican voters.  Ladies and gentlemen, your’re modern (paleo-modern?) Republican party.  The Democrats in MO were thinking that Republicans nominating this troglodyte was the only hope for Claire McKaskill to hang onto her Senate seat in this increasingly red state (they even contributed to his primary campaign).  The very scary part is that he nonetheless has a good chance at being a US Senator.  Should he still actually win election, does not speak well at all of today’s Republican party or the (not so) good people of Missouri.

Sometimes, the best approach, of course, is satire.  Here’s the Borowitz report:

ST. LOUIS (The Borowitz Report)—Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin doubled down on his controversial remarks about the female body today, proposing a prominent national security role for the uterus.

“From what I understand, there’s nothing that the uterus doesn’t know,” Rep. Akin told a reporter on KTVI-TV. “It’s almost like Spiderman’s spidey sense, if you will, except the tingling goes on down in the lady parts.”

Rep. Akin said that given the uterus’s extraordinary powers of detection, the female reproductive system should be America’s secret weapon in the war on terror.

“If we posted a uterus at every airport and a bunch of them along the border, I would just love to see an evildoer get past defenses like that,” he said. “Not gonna happen, folks. Nothing fools a uterus.”

Just another great example of the asymmetry.  I double-dog dare you to find a Democratic Senate candidate in any recent election who is half as extreme to the left as Akin is to the right.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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