As we expected the fallout from Congressman Todd Akin’s indefensible comments about rape and abortion are dominating the news. Republicans sought to distance themselves from Akin like the proverbial rats abandoning a sinking ship. Several Republican heavyweights demanded that Atkin resign from his Senate race. McConnell, Brown, Cornyn, Johnson, Huckabee, Priebus and Paul Ryan all called on Atkin to step down. Mitt Romney, ever the cautious candidate, condemned Akin’s statements but stopped short of calling for him to resign from the race; choosing to leave that task to his surrogates.
Perhaps even more damaging than the resignation demands from party leaders is the action taken by Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS Super Pac. Crossroads had already poured over $5 million into the Missouri race and were about to spend an additional $850,000 in ad buys next week. But Crossroads GPS announced yesterday that it was withdrawing from the race.
Republican Congressman Todd Akin is running against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill for her US Senate seat. This Missouri race is critical for Republican efforts to gain control the Senate.
Akin was asked about his anti-abortion beliefs; specifically whether abortion should be allowed when a pregnancy results from rape. Akin said that in the case of a “legitimate rape” pregnancy is unlikely because a women’s body shuts down to prevent pregnancy from happening. Akin has since apologized for his comments but has vowed to continue with his campaign.
Polls taken after Akin’s controversial remarks show him maintaining a small lead over McCaskill.
When you step back and examine what is really going on here you find a level of hypocrisy that is beyond the pale. Republicans are not distancing themselves from the substance of Akin’s remarks. They are distancing themselves from the in artful manner in which he said what they truly believe. Their parsing of subtext and faux outrage is a joke. Ryan’s call to Akin is particularly galling because in 2011 the presumptive vice presidential nominee co-sponsored an anti-abortion bill with Akin that parroted Akin’s comments and sought to differentiate “forcible rape” form other forms of rape.
This whole Akin clown show is another instance of Republican’s marginalizing the rights of women. Republicans have been waging the proverbial war against women since their evangelical Christian base swept them into office in 2008. When Republicans weren’t opposing equal pay for equal work, restricting access to birth control, blocking funding for Planned Parenthood and inserting “trans-vaginal ultra sounds’ into the political narrative they were bringing 69 anti-abortion bills to vote on the House floor. Their record makes it crystal clear…this is who they are.
Republicans have a huge problem with the “women” vote. Obama leads Romney 54%-39% among all women and 60%-32% among single women. For Romney to have any chance in November he needs to narrow that gender gap. Note to Republicans: restricting women's rights is not going to make that happen.
Once upon a time there was a distinction in the Republican Party between the “Tea Party Caucus” and the traditional “Moderate Republicans.” But that distinction no longer exists. If the past two years have taught us anything it is that the Republican Party is now firmly under the control of the evangelicals and the Tea Party Caucus. From the debt ceiling debates, to taxes, to deficit reduction to women’s rights…time and time again we have watched the far right grab control of the party’s reins and drive their wagon…and the country…into the ditch. This is no longer the Republican Party of Ronald Reagan; a party that would seek compromise for the good of the country. Gone is sacrificing the “I” for the good of the “We”. This is a Republican Party of individualism, ideology, intolerance and idiocy.
And every day that Republicans are talking about Todd Akin, “legitimate rape,” “forcible rape” and abortion is one less day that they are talking about the economy, jobs and Obama’s record.