Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Foot-In-Mouth Disease Strikes a Senate Candidate

Your part-Irish Peasant returned from a joyous celebration
of Irish culture, the Milwaukee Irish Fest, with a light and
joyful feeling. But almost immediately after my annual
personal holiday had concluded and I returned to business
as usual, something came to my attention which had all but
swept away my happy mood; a Republican candidate for a
U.S. Senate seat held by a very vulnerable incumbent
Democrat had uttered something so volatile that he had all
but wiped out his nearly insurmountable lead over this
senator in the polls --- and not only could his controversial
statement hurt the GOP's chances of capturing the Senate
but the clueless fool gave an almost cavalier-sounding
apology and will not step aside for another candidate to
replace him on the Republican ticket in his state, even
though the list of Republicans from around the country
calling for him to do so reads like a Who's Who of
the political Right!

U.S. Rep. Todd Akin from Missouri won a three-way
Republican primary to win the nomination to face
Democrat incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill in
the general election in November. The opposition
he overcame consisted of Tea Party choice Sarah
Steelman and John Brunner, a businessman with deep
pockets. Enjoying an eleven point lead at the time,
Akin made the following comment:

"It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors,
that's (pregnancies resulting from rape) really rare ...
If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try
to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe
that didn't work or something: I think there should be
some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the
rapist, and not attacking the child."

Rep. Akin made these comments during an interview with
KTVI-TV which was posted on the station's web site on
Sunday, August 19, after which the smelly stuff hit the fan.
Let us now examine Akin's words and determine how he
could have avoided this fiasco if he in fact felt that he must
comment on conception coming about through rape.

Now, it is true that pregnancies occurring from rape are
quite rare. The Alan Guttmacher Institute, the research
and statistics arm of Planned Parenthood International,
has averred as far back as the 1970s that pregnancies
through rape are statistically small in terms of percentage
among all pregnancies and their circumstances. But what,
pray tell Congressman Akin, constitutes a "legitimate rape"?
For rape, after all, is actually less about sex than about
domination. It is the feeling of conquest of his victim that
a rapist's twisted, fevered mind feeds upon. Since forced
intercourse may be attempted but subsequent conception
is not very likely, is a rape not "legitimate" unless (A) there
is attempted sex, but no resultant conceiving of a child,
or (B) sex is attempted and conception does come about?
Or, according to the Missouri Congressman, a rape achieves
legitimacy through some other criteria? Somehow your
quizzical Peasant does not think that Rep. Akin has expert
knowledge on such matters, including how a woman's body
could naturally protect itself from being impregnated by
a rapist.

As to a child being conceived as a result of rape, one could
credibly hold the opinion that since the child's life came about
through such a terrible circumstance, but the child itself had
done nothing to assist in its creation; that it was not an agent
or co-agent of its creation but simply the result of the action
in question, then it would be wrong to terminate the child's
life as the child is absolutely innocent of having anything to
do with the awful event which brought it into existence. Some
people on the pro-life side of the abortion issue do hold
this view. But most people who hold this view state their
opinion and their reasoning in a less ham-handed way than
did Rep. Akin, and this is in fact not a difficult thing to do.

What Rep. Akin should have said would be something like

"While, thankfully, pregnancies occurring as a result of rape
are rare, they still in fact do happen. So I say, let us punish
the rapist but not the unborn child. We should make the rapist
pay for his crime but not make the child pay with its life for
a crime in which it had no active role, but was instead a
consequence of that crime."

But, alas, words are like bullets fired and missiles launched;
they cannot be called back into the gun barrel or the launch
apparatus once they are set forth. So Rep. Akin would be
prudent to apologize for his ill-conceived (no pun intended
by your aware Peasant; I have a far better sense of humor
than that!) and crude comments. In fact, he has already
done so. However, the fallout from same has resulted in
the loss of what was a most comfortable lead in the polls
over Sen. McCaskill, and if this seat cannot be won in
November the quest for winning the Senate will be much
more difficult and even more unlikely for the Republicans,
hence the growing line of Republicans nationwide calling
for Rep. Akin to step aside and leave the ticket in order to
put up a candidate who will not have such baggage and will
stem the loss of points in the polls before the election. But
here's the rub: Akin won't comply. He won't take the hint.
Hell, no, he won't go!

Here's just a few conservative figures that your favorite 
Peasant is aware of who have called for Rep. Akin to
remove himself from the ticket for the good of the party
and its election chances:

*Reince Priebus, Chairman of the Republican National
Committee and former Chairman of the Wisconsin GOP.

*U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, also from Wisconsin.

*Rush Limbaugh, the veritable dean of conservative talk
show hosts.

*Ann Coulter, controversial columnist who has as many
detractors as admirers among conservatives. Some
people, including conservatives (this conservative too)
think that Coulter is off her rocker because of some of
the things that she herself says, so if Coulter states that
Rep. Akin must pack it in for his own verbal miscues then
you KNOW this fool is done!

*Vicki McKenna, conservative talk show host who hosts
shows in Madison and Milwaukee. She was apoplectic
over this shmuck's spoutings.

*Jay Webber, conservative talk show host in Milwaukee
whose show is on the air just before Vicki's on WISN-AM
Radio on weekday mornings. A greatly respected
statesman for conservatives on the local airwaves
here in Beertown.

*Sean Hannity, a prominent conservative talk show host
himself, who interviewed this self-serving, kack-handed
candidate on his show just a few days ago. Sean lobbed
no softballs; he threw like Nolan Ryan and in the end
made the suggestion of resigning from the ticket in order
to preserve the GOP's chances of winning the Senate seat
from Missouri and also winning the Senate itself. Akin's
response struck me as what a clueless, self-centered teen
would say if confronted by an adult in authority about a
misdeed, saying that maybe he/she shouldn't have done
what they did but what's the fuss? And the teen is SO
sincere and all that so why should there be any punishment?
Regarding Akin and his own misdeed, the fuss is that he
has embarrassed himself, his party, conservatives in general,
and has damaged (hopefully not irreparably) the Republican's
chances of winning the U.S. Senate. Democrats are having
a field day with this pop-off pol's remarks and being aware
of the possible benefits to them if he sticks around for the
election are not calling for his stepping down. Why should
they? The Dems have little to lose and perhaps much to
gain if Rep. Akin remains on the ballot. And this boob
won't take the hint, even when it is applied with a sledge

The lesson in all this: the Republicans need all of the voter
groups and their votes that they can get in order to not only
unseat Obama from the presidency but to win the Senate
and gain control of it while also keeping the House. The
conservative prospect for restoring constitutional, limited,
responsive and responsible government lie in achieving
these goals in November. We must convince the electorate,
key voting blocs (i.e. women) especially, that we are not
zanies from the political fringe, nor extremists with a hell-
or-high-water agenda and matching zeal to enact it, nor
agents for evil --- in other words, we must disabuse the
voting public of the notions that our liberal opposition have
worked to plant in their minds to frighten them off from us.
And yes, it is unfair and a crying shame that there is a double-
standard concerning the words and actions of those on
the left and those on the right (your observant Peasant
has written about instances of this in previous posts). But
we must mind our words and our manners, and bring out
heavier artillery when, and only when, there is no other way
to counter our enemies. Off-hand, ill-informed comments
such as those by Rep. Todd Akin are tantamount to our
shooting ourselves in the foot. And your concerned Peasant
also thinks that Rep. Akin should go. Away. Over the hills
and far away, to quote the words from an old Scottish song.


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