Religious Right activists seem to be keen on outdoing each other with their over–the–top defenses of Todd Akin and his comments on “legitimate rape.” The latest comes from Alan Keyes, who in his latest column “What really drives the GOP’s anti-Akin lynch mob?” warns that the “elitist mobocracy” was just “waiting for an excuse to hang Todd Akin from the yardarm.”
Given what Todd Akin went on to say, this is quite clearly the meaning he had in mine, since he was specifically referring to the violent trauma involved in “forcible sexual assault.” We all know that Akin’s use of the word “legitimate” in this way is not uncommon. (In fact, it has passed into common slang in expressions like “I think he’s legit,” which crop up all the time.) It’s also not hard to see that far from failing to acknowledge the violence inherent in the definitive crime of rape, he was specifically thinking of it. The tribe of elitist pundits and scribes who labor in the GOP’s media vineyard can’t be unaware of this common usage. I wouldn’t disrespect their intelligence by suggesting they are. So why do they abet the slanderous assumption that his words somehow implied that the crime of rape can or ought ever to be considered lawful when, with a little thought, it’s easy to show that they do not?
Akin’s assertions about the effect of the physical trauma of rape on the possibility of conception are scientifically questionable, and should be questioned. But if one statement based on highly questionable science means that a candidate should bow out of contention, what about Mitt Romney’s repeated statements about climate change and global warming? His straddle on the issue includes statements that would be questioned by scientists first on one side of the issue and then on the other. I don’t hear the nabobs of the elitist mobocracy calling for his head. To be sure, the speed with which they formed their lynch party suggests that little or no thought went into their chorus of disapprobation. It’s precisely as if they were waiting for an excuse to hang Todd Akin from the yardarm.
Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy In Media also attacked Mitt Romney and conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh for not standing up for Akin, noting that Limbaugh has no right to criticize Akin since he doesn’t even understand birth control:
Once again, in ganging up on Akin, Republicans and conservatives lost sight of the real extremist, Barack Obama, while ceding ground to the liberals and allowing them to control the parameters of the public debate. It is a scenario that is played out over and over again, as if the Republicans never learn.
Or perhaps a Republican like Romney, who supported abortion rights in Massachusetts, knew exactly what he was doing and where this is all going — the eventual elimination of the social issues from the national Republican agenda. Romney has made it quite clear that he wants no part of them, preferring instead to run on economic and financial matters. He doesn’t even want to talk about security problems in the State Department, in the person of Muslim Brotherhood-connected official and Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
We’ve seen the result of this trend in Britain, where the Conservative Party has become a pale imitation of the socialists. The British Conservative Party has moved far to the left in order to attract votes from the sexually different and now supports gay marriage. “I support gay marriage because I’m a Conservative,” says Conservative Party leader and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Another despicable performance in the Akin matter was turned in by Rush Limbaugh, who said Todd Akin’s comments on rape and abortion were “stupid.” This is the guy who advertised his own stupidity in accusing law student Sandra Fluke of being a slut for demanding birth control services for women. Limbaugh didn’t understand that birth control pills have legitimate medical purposes and are not used exclusively to prevent pregnancy. Limbaugh apologized for his remarks.
Thanks to Limbaugh, Fluke became a national and sympathetic figure and is speaking at the Democratic National Convention on behalf of Obama. Indeed, Limbaugh’s role in sparking Democratic charges of a Republican “War on Women” helps explain the Republican overreaction to Todd Akin’s comments.