Todd Akin is back, and STILL talking about rape

    I apologize today for writing later than usual, but I needed time to watch and ponder the nationally televised resurrection of Todd Akin. And here’s my reaction:

    Oh. My. God.

    Surely you remember Akin, the junk-science extremist. He helped drive the 2012 Republican clown car. As the GOP Senate candidate from Missouri, he blew a winnable race when he insisted that women have the magical power to distinguish between the sperm of a consensual partner and the sperm of a rapist. He also said there’s a difference between “legitimate” rape and what he apparently believes to be not-rape kinds of rape. Akin became the poster boy for the party that has now lost the majority of women in six straight national elections – twice, in ’08 and ’12, by double-digit margins.

    Now he’s back, flacking a new book on national TV, claiming that the “media elite” done him wrong. Republicans aren’t happy to see him. They hate the “war on women” tag, yet here comes Akin to make matters worse; as GOP spokesman Brian Walsh says, “Todd Akin is an embarrassment to the Republican party.” But hey, it was a kick to see him this morning on MSNBC’s Daily Rundown. There’s an old piece of political advice, “When you’re stuck in a hole, stop digging,” but apparently Akin never got that memo.

    And he cannot stop talking about rape – about how best to define a “legitimate” rape (he now says he should’ve used the law enforcement term “legitimate case of rape”), about how all women should be forced to bear the children conceived by rape, and about how some women who experience the stress of being raped can use that stress to block the sperm resulting from rape.

    It’s not worth getting down in the weeds with this guy, so I’ll just hit the highlights:

    He now says that “six recent studies” support his belief that some stressed-out rape victims have the ability to block conception. (He didn’t identify any such studies, and hastened to add, “I’m not presenting myself as a doctor.”) He tried to explain it this way: “I never said that a woman can’t get pregnant who is raped. I was simply talking about the fact that stress affects the statistics of people becoming pregnant.”

    He also said that it’s no big deal for women to bear the children of their rapists, because a “number of people” on his Senate campaign had been “conceived by rape.” (What did he do, poll his workers on this?) He also said that Bill Clinton is the real male chauvinist pig, for “being involved in assault on women or indecent behavior.” (Yeah, change the subject. He forgets that Clinton won two national elections thanks to women voters, and finished his tenure with sky-high popularity thanks to women voters.)

    OK, I think I’ve got it now: When there has been a legitimate rape (excuse me, a legitimate case of rape), as apparently opposed to a dubiously claimed rape (excuse me, a dubiously claimed case of rape), some women can leverage their stress to block the rape sperm (according to purported studies), but in those cases when women are not sufficiently stressed and thus become pregnant, they should be forced by government to give birth, which should be good enough for them, because he himself worked on his failed Senate campaign with rape victim babies.

    Thanks for clarifying, Todd!

    And here’s a free piece of advice. If you insist on campaigning to become the GOP poster boy of 2014, don’t compare yourself to demagogue Joe McCarthy. (From a newspaper interview you gave the other day: “I use McCarthy as an example of somebody who was assassinated by the media.”) Given McCarthy’s ’50s track record as a red-baiting huckster who wrecked careers and drove people to suicide, you do yourself – and your cringing party – no favors.

    Follow me on Twitter, @dickpolman1


    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal