By Tim Wildmon
Should Congressman Todd Akin drop out of the senatorial race in Missouri over his misspoken words about rape? He used the expression “legitimate rape” when he, as he later said, should have used the expression “forcible rape.” He was being asked by a reporter about his views on the acceptability of abortion in the case of rape.
Make no mistake, he blew it with that terminology. He was trying to distinguish between a genuine, forcible rape and such things as statutory rape – where the minor female would be consensual in the act but it would still legally be a “rape.” And then there are the made-up accusations of rape as happened in the infamous Tawana Brawley case that Al Sharpton became famous for.
Getting into this type of discussion is politically futile. The question is academic. The first thing that would have to happen is for Roe v Wade to be overturned and no one thinks that is going to happen in the foreseeable future. If it did, it would only mean that laws regarding abortion would be made at the state level and there is no state in the union that is going to pass a law that does not allow for abortion in cases of rape.
But wow – the way in which the GOP establishment, the liberal media, and even many conservatives came down on Akin, you would have thought he had called our first African-American president a “clean” man or something. Oh wait … that was now-Vice President Joe Biden when he was running against Barack Obama in the Democratic primary four years ago.
So let me get this straight. Biden gets “punished” by the Democrats for calling a black man “clean” by being named to the presidential ticket, while Akin gets absolutely crucified by his fellow Republicans for a misspeak – as if there were any legitimacy to the idea that he was somehow “pro rape” or insensitive to rape victims?
This is nuts! And the manner in which it has been treated by some of his fellow Republicans is just downright shameful. It is clear that the Democrats are more loyal to their own than are the Republicans.
In the most recent case of Biden, while speaking to a predominantly black audience, he told them the Republicans want to “put ya’ll back in chains.” Obviously, Biden meant that metaphorically. But it was an offensive comment to many blacks, bringing up the imagery of slavery, and former Democratic governor of Virginia Douglas Wilder called it race-baiting. But there were no calls by Democrats for Biden to step down – no universal condemnation by the media.
Akin has been selected by the Republicans of Missouri to be their candidate. He has invested a year or two of his life working for this opportunity. To crush the man over a slip-up while speaking, when everyone reading this knows he did not mean to suggest rape was in any case “legitimate,” is just plain wrong.
It is important to the goals of the Republican Party nationally to win this Senate race in Missouri – and according to some polls this has hurt Akin’s chances, at least in the short term. I believe if it becomes apparent that he can’t recover from this gaffe in the next few days and another candidate of similar views would have a better chance he should remove himself. But let it be for practical reasons rather than giving in to this irrational and unjust pressure.
It’s a shame – but I guess in politics you are just one word away from finding out the friends you thought you had were really no friends at all.
Community columnist Tim Wildmon is a Lee County resident. He is president of the American Family Association, but the column represents his personal opinion unless otherwise noted. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.