Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Akin Pains

According to reports reaching TPM yesterday, Missouri Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin (R) is making preparations to withdraw from the race today. He’s getting pressure from all over the Republican party, a major right-wing PAC, and leading lights of the right-wing punditry and commentariat to get out. The notable exception is, of course, the Family Research Council, who stands by him, but then, they make their living supporting junk science.

Mr. Akin says he plans to stay in the race, and the polls are showing that he’s still leading Sen. Claire McCaskill.

The Romney/Ryan campaign came out with the boilerplate condemnation of the remarks, but since Mr. Akin’s stated points of view regarding the sanctity of personhood for a zygote pretty much parallel the position of Mr. Ryan and — at least lately — that of Mr. Romney, they’re kind of on thin ice when it comes to damning someone else for repeating their own views.

A lot of people have pointed out that Mr. Akin’s stand on abortion in the case of rape without adjectives (as President Obama noted yesterday, “rape is rape”) is not new to the anti-choice crowd. This “you can’t get pregnant from rape” meme has been with them for a good long while, too. Rick Santorum, when he wasn’t obsessing about gay sex, basically ran his entire presidential campaign on the issue of the sanctity of one-celled organisms over the life and health of the woman serving as host. As for bearing the child of a rapist, he said the woman should “make the best out of a bad situation.”

So what Mr. Akin said was not really an outlier from the thinking of the mainstream of the Republican party. It’s just that he put it in a way that was blunt enough to prick up the ears of the blogosphere.