Guess who’s back, just in time to be the political equivalent of the crazy uncle at Thanksgiving dinner you want to pretend doesn’t exist? Remember Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin who helped make the GOP really unappealing to women in 2012 and handed the Missouri race for US Senate to a Democrat? Yeah, he’s back like a political case of herpes, just in time to embarrass the Republican Party once again.
In case you forgot, this is what he originally said:
“From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Akin said. “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.” (Source)
Then Congressman Akin later apologized for his remarks, but not before everyone had a field day with them and even most of the Republican Party made it a point to distance themselves from him.
But now he’s back. Back not to further clarify his apology or perhaps once again apologize for his ignorance of how reproduction works, but to retract his apology. Yes, you heard that right, retract his apology.
“My comment about a woman’s body shutting the pregnancy down was directed to the impact of stress on fertilization. This is something fertility doctors debate and discuss. Doubt me? Google ‘stress and infertility,’ and you will find a library of research on the subject.” (Source)
Todd Akin could have just made it a point to remain in the shadows and we would have been content to never hear his name or his voice ever again. Instead, not only did he retract his apology, he then went on to compare abortion to slavery and attack Bill Clinton. Seriously, he went there:
Akin later says during his time as a state legislator, he wished he could have done more to “end this evil,” referring to abortion, which in his view “easily trumps slavery as the greatest moral evil in American history.”
As Akin makes the case that he has “zero sympathy” for anyone who commits rape, he tries to illustrate his commitment by pointing to President Bill Clinton. Akin writes that if he had been in Congress in 1998 he would have voted to impeach Clinton. The investigation started, according to Akin, with allegations of sexual assault of Paula Jones, which then led investigators to learn about his affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. The impeachment involved Lewinsky, not sexual assault. (Source)
The Republican Party already has a serious problem with women and minority voters and Todd Akin slithering out from underneath the rock he’s been hiding under only makes this worse for them. If the GOP wanted to distance themselves from Todd Akin as they did in 2012, they could – but the GOP won’t for fear of alienating the fringe which is responsible for putting candidates like him out there in the first place.
Furthermore, individuals like Todd Akin are illustrative of just how in control the Tea Party, religious right, or anti-government factions like Open Carry Texas are of the Republican Party now. Prior to the Tea Party takeover in 2010, the establishment would throw out some token red meat statements and votes on abortion, and then head back to the country club, laughing all the way. In the last couple of election cycles, the fringe factions have decided they weren’t content to be the foot soldiers of the GOP, they wanted to run the party – and that’s exactly what has happened with the rise of candidates like E.W. Jackson, Christine “I’m Not A Witch” O’Donnell, Sharron Angle or Lenar Whitney.
The Republican Party is already struggling to hold on to power outside of the Bible Belt and even in former strongholds like Georgia or Virginia, the tide has already begun to turn. The return of Todd Akin and others like him is a sign that the GOP cannot, and will not, shake itself of the lunatic fringe. Gone are the orators and statesmen, replaced by the likes of Todd Akin, Tony Perkins and celebrity grifters like Sarah Palin or Herman Cain.
They aren’t going down without a fight, but this another sign that the end of the GOP’s national relevancy is coming sooner rather than later.
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