The roundly decried “legitimate rape comment” by Missouri US Senate hopeful Todd Akin, may have given incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill an early Christmas present. The national newswire is humming over Akin’s gaffe about how female victims of “legitimate rape” are evidently the benefactors of some mysterious physiological process that “shuts” down pregnancy.
The reality is, each year tens of thousands of women who are raped become pregnant. A 1996 study on rape-related pregnancies conducted by the Medical University of South Carolina, found that each year 32,101 women become pregnant as a consequence of being raped.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s presidential campaign went into damage-control overdrive distancing them from Akin. “I have an entirely different view,” said Romney in a phone interview with National Review Online. “Congressman Akin’s comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong.”
The tide may be turning in the race for one of the most vulnerable Democratic Senate seats in Congress. In statewide polls in Missouri, first term Senator Claire McCaskill has consistently trailed Todd Akin before he made his rape comments. But political observers are now predicting the numbers to swing in McCaskill’s favor as the furor over the comments take their toll.
Republican U.S. Senator Scott Brown from Massachusetts released a statement Monday saying Akin, “should resign the nomination for US Senate in Missouri,” and that, “there is no place in our public discourse for this type of offensive thinking.”
Akin is no stranger to the realm of making such statements—he has actually tallied up quite a lengthy roster over the years.
“Global warming is highly suspect,” said Akin to a group of Tea Party activists in 2011. “And I have doubts about the constitutionality of Medicare.”
While running to oppose Rep. Akin in a 2008 Missouri congressional race, I was shocked to wake one April morning and see him waxing hyperbolic political rhetoric on CSPAN’s Washington Journal. He was repeating a universally discredited canard—summoning the image of an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) nuclear weapon exploding over Kansas as a justification for “why we’re there” fighting overseas. Mind you, this was 2008—not during the drum-up for war in 2002-03.
In 2007 he said about the Iraq War: “Could you picture Davy Crockett at the Alamo looking at his Blackberry getting a message from Congress? Davy Crockett, we support you. The only thing is we are not going to send any troops.”
Everybody’s been guilty of misspeaking, suffering from foot-in-mouth disease, but Akin’s legitimate rape comment was not a flub or gaffe, per se. His rhetoric and statements over the years reveal an ideology that is anti-science and anti-government.
On Monday, Tim Mak for Politico penned a piece titled, “Left, right blogs unite: Todd Akin get out!” and laid out a series of right-wing commentators lambasting Akin:
“Usually, we’ll give our side something of a pass when it comes to outrageous statements,” wrote Rick Moran at the conservative PJ Tatler. “This isn’t a gaffe. It’s a nuclear bomb.” Moran went on to call Akin’s remarks “close to being the most ignorant and damaging statement I’ve ever heard a politician utter.” Influential conservative commentator Erick Erickson called Akin’s statements “inarticulate and rather dumb” on the conservative RedState blog. In addition, Reihan Salam, a National Review blogger, tweeted, “Todd Akin ought to step the heck down.”
Todd Akin will probably not step down. But at least for now, the reality of what is swirling around in Todd Akin’s head is out in the open for all to see.