Todd Akin’s views are excusable as long as he can take a seat away from a Democrat
If the Zoroastrian forces of the world were tipped in the balance of good, Todd Akin would have absolutely zero bearing on the lives of most American citizens. But after his “legitimate rape” comments — which, if you agree with, I have no smarmy insult for you, so just go to hell instead — garnered him mountains of free publicity and incurred the wrath of any human being with a functioning mind and soul, this misogynistic blowhard is steadily muscling his way toward the eye of our national dialogue.
This isn’t a tirade against those particular comments, though I will say that anyone sharing Akin’s beliefs is going to be the cause of a lot of Satan’s paperwork. Akin mouth-shat that particular tidbit weeks ago, and we really can’t say anything else about it that sufficiently underscores what a reprehensible human being he is. No, this is about what has transpired in the weeks since, and how the rest of the GOP is going to come off looking even worse than Akin has. For the record, he looks like a melting Muppet. On the inside, locusts.
First, a little background on Akin. These “legitimate rape” comments are not an isolated incident. Going all the way back to his tenure in the Missouri House of Representatives, Akin has long been a stubborn, to the point of illogical and hateful, social conservative. During his dozen years as a representative in the state house, he voted for carrying concealed weapons, against an increase in education spending and against a bill that would have provided funding for school nurses. In the end, Governor Mel Carnahan, a Democrat, refused to sign the bill because of an amendment Akin had attached, which would have prevented school nurses from providing students guidance on information regarding abortion.
Fast-forward to last year, when Akin said that “at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God.” He apologized soon afterward, attempting to clarify his statement by saying that his comment had been directed “at the political movement, Liberalism, and not any specific individual.” To reiterate, Akin confirmed that he was insulting an entire, sizeable demographic of people, and not just an individual or a small group. This thread of logic alone makes Todd Akin unfit to operate a swivel chair, let alone have a say in national politics.
Earlier this year, Akin also declared his opposition to the 2009 Lily Ledbetter Act, a law that helps ensure equal pay for women in the workplace. When challenged on it, Akin responded thusly:
“I believe in free enterprise. I don’t think the government should be telling people what you pay and what you don’t pay. I think it’s about freedom. If someone wants to hire somebody and they agree on a salary, that’s fine, however it wants to work. So, the government sticking its nose into all kinds of things has gotten us into huge trouble.”
To Republicans, when the government places sanctions on a woman’s vagina or tries to redefine rape, it is the noble action of moral authority. When the government tries to mandate equal social and civil rights across demographics, or make sure all of its citizens have access to affordable healthcare, it’s gross overreach. Also, in the latter case, substitute the word “guv-mint” for “government.”
But back to Akin and his terribleness. He voted against federally funded school lunches, and said that the student loan program is a “stage-three cancer of socialism.” He has to be hyperbolizing because, eventually, this country is going to have to adopt free — or at least affordable — university education, and he’s already pulled out the “cancer” line. When students start being able to attend college on the country’s dime, Akin’s going to have to call it “stegosaurus AIDS” or something.
Also, you leathery a-hole, I took out loans to get through my last two years of graduate school, and it was the only way I could afford housing, school supplies and lime-shrimp ramen. So you’ll forgive me and hundreds of thousands of other young adults if we get a little miffed at your equating the foundation of our livelihood to a disease that has probably killed someone we love.
You want numbers? An Angus Reid Public Opinion Poll taken after the comments had lapped news cycles several times over showed that 84 percent of Americans disagree with Akin’s assertions. On August 23, Rasmussen Reports indicated a 10-point lead by Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill, a pretty sharp reversal of numbers in the race up to that point. Yet another Rasmussen poll, released the very next day, showed the previously comfortable lead by Romney over Obama in Missouri state polling had virtually disappeared. As it stands right now, the two are tied nearly neck and neck, within the margin of error.
In Missouri. Where “Winter’s Bone” is set. Where John Ashcroft lost an election to a corpse.
Even a good many Republicans were calling for Akin’s head, or at least his immediate withdrawal from the race. The National Republican Senatorial Committee threatened to pull their funding. Karl Rove implied a mob hit. Future President of Mitt Romney’s Mind Mitt Romney even released a statement that read thusly: “Congressman’s Akin comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable and, frankly, wrong. Like millions of other Americans, we found them to be offensive.” Never mind that Paul Ryan, by this time named VP candidate, had cosponsored a fetal personhood bill that would have criminalized abortion and some forms of birth control without exception in cases of rape or incest.
But then, the deadline passed for Akin to quit. He didn’t, and now the Republicans are stuck with him. Judging by their tone, you wouldn’t think they’re too broken up about it: “There is no question that for Missourians who believe we need to stop the reckless Washington spending, rein in the role of government in people’s lives, and finally focus on growing jobs in this country, that Todd Akin is a far more preferable candidate than liberal Senator Claire McCaskill,” the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s executive director, Rob Jesmer, said in a prepared statement on Wednesday.
Because really, this isn’t about the few remaining principles that the more corporate, moderate Republicans might personally harbor. It’s about power. Akin’s what they’ve got to work with and, with Democratic control of both the White House and the Senate after November 6 a very real possibility, they know they need every seat they can lay their hands on.
Todd Akin doesn’t believe that rape is a thing, that Medicare is a necessity or that women should have any say over their own reproductive process. And you know what? That would be fine if he were just some random s**thead. But he’s not some random s**thead — he’s a s**thead in the running for a very powerful position, one that comes with influence and national sway.
Akin may get away with this, but that’s not the worst of it. The real thing to take away from all this is that Washington Republicans are utilizing him as a mere pawn in a farther-reaching power grab. Women’s reproductive rights, access to affordable care and the right to a good education without having to starve for it… the abolition of these basic needs is, as far as these people are concerned, little more than a nudge across a game board.
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