When some politicians explain away an ill-conceived remark by saying “I misspoke”, their explanation is often taken at face value, especially by people in their own Party. So why the has the GOP wing of the elitist faction instantly united in an “off-with-his-head” reaction to Todd Akin’s use of the word “legitimate” in connection with rape?
Is it because Romney/Ryan RINOs can’t imagine any circumstance in which those two words could ever be juxtaposed? Or is it because they reject and mean to defame the coherently pro-life view that it’s simply wrong to punish an innocent child for the sin of the child’s father? Or maybe they agree with Barack Obama that pregnancy is a punishment that shouldn’t be inflicted on the child’s mother in any case.
Imagination isn’t usually my strong suit, but sometimes my memory serves me reasonably well. I remember, for instance, when Al Sharpton fanned the flames of public indignation behind Tawana Brawley’s accusation of rape against six men, including some police officers, back in 1987. “After hearing evidence, a grand jury concluded in October 1988 that Brawley had not been the victim of a forcible sexual assault and that she herself may have created the appearance of an attack.” Would it be unforgivable sin to say that it turned out that the rape of Tawana Brawley, repeatedly referred to in inflammatory screeds by the leftist media, was not a legitimate rape after all, but a fictional one? (If you go to the Merriam-Webster online definition of legitimate, by the way, the second definition given is “being exactly as purposed : neither spurious nor false”.
Given what Todd Akin went on to say, this is quite clearly the meaning he had in mine, since he was specifically referring to the violent trauma involved in “forcible sexual assault”. We all know that Akin’s use of the word “legitimate” in this way is not uncommon. (In fact, it has passed into common slang in expressions like “I think he’s legit”, which crop up all the time.) It’s also not hard to see that far from failing to acknowledge the violence inherent in the definitive crime of rape, he was specifically thinking of it. The tribe of elitist pundits and scribes that labor in the GOP’s media vineyard can’t be unaware of this common usage. I wouldn’t disrespect their intelligence by suggesting they are. So why do they abet the slanderous assumption that his words somehow implied that the crime of rape can or ought ever to be considered lawful when, with a little thought, it’s easy to show that they do not?
Akin’s assertions about the effect of the physical trauma of rape on the possibility of conception are scientifically questionable, and should be questioned. But if one statement based on highly questionable science means that a candidate should bow out of contention, what about Mitt Romney’s repeated statements about climate change and global warming? His straddle on the issue includes statements that would be questioned by scientists first on one side of the issue and then on the other. I don’t hear the nabobs of the elitist mobocracy calling for his head. To be sure, the speed with which they formed their lynch party suggests that little or no thought went into their chorus of disapprobation. It’s precisely as if they were waiting for an excuse to hang Todd Akin from the yardarm.
Then the Romney/Ryan campaign dropped first one shoe and then the other. First they issued a statement that focused on making it clear the Romney/Ryan team disagreed with Akin’s position (also taken by Paul Ryan before he became Romney’s running mate) that the victimization of the mother by rape does not warrant the victimization of the child by abortion. Now Romney has added his voice to the chorus calling on Todd Akin to withdraw from the Missouri U.S. Senate race. These actions make it plain. What the Romney/Ryan Republicans object to is Akin’s principled defense of the nascent child’s unalienable right to life in cases of rape. They mean to make an example of him in order to terrorize other GOP candidates into avoiding or surrendering that principled position. Their aim in doing so is to sap the foundations of the pro-life movement’s political cause. But, beyond this, they mean to sap the foundations in principle of the U.S. Constitution and the whole project of self-government of, by and for the people of the United States. In my WND column this week, I will explain why I think this is so. If you care about preserving America’s liberty, that explanation will interest you.