Words have weight, something once said cannot be unsaid. Meaning is like a stone dropped into a pool; the ripples will spread and you cannot know what back they wash against. – Phillipa Gregory
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus appeared on CNN’s Out Front on Monday evening and spoke to Erin Burnett about the controversial statements made by Rep. Todd Akins, Missouri Republican, regarding rape. He called for Mr. Akin, who is running for Senate against Democrat Claire McCaskill, to “step aside and let someone else run for that office.” Chairman Priebus also said that he “prefer that Todd Akin do the right thing for our party and our candidates” and “not come” to the upcoming RNC Convention in Tampa.
I half-expected Reibus to cover his mouth and start yelling “Unclean! Unclean!”
If you haven’t heard what Akin said, yet, Fox2now.com has a recap of the story for you:
U.S. Rep. Todd Akin says he misspoke when making a comment about rape and abortion during the taping of The Jaco Report on FOX 2. That remark made national headlines and sparked responses from both Akin’s opponent, Sen. Claire McCaskill and presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.
During that interview the congressman and U.S. Senate candidate was asked whether abortion should be allowed in the case of rape.
Akin’s response was that it was his understanding from doctors that it’s rare for someone to become pregnant from rape. He said, “The female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down.”
He went on to say that punishment should be on the rapist and not the child. Democrats started circulating his comment after the show aired citing statistics regarding rape and pregnancy.
“It is beyond comprehension that someone can be so ignorant about the emotional and physical trauma brought on by rape,” said Sen. McCaskill through a statement sent to FOX 2.
The Akin camp responded with a statement indicating the congressman misspoke.
‘But I believe deeply in the protection of all life and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action.’
The resulting hue and cry from Republicans, Democrats, Liberals, “Fiscal” Conservatives (oops…repeated myself) vaulted this story to the top of the news cycle.
Nationalreview.com has posted the following editorial:
Some voters may nevertheless find a candidate’s theoretical view so abhorrent that they cannot support him, and it is a perfectly legitimate issue for opponents to raise. Most Republicans who hold the view that unborn children have a right to life regardless of the circumstances of their conception will have the wit to explain themselves in a way that prevents most voters who disagree from vetoing them for that reason.
While Akin is a stalwart conservative and an honorable man, we regret to say that he inspires no such confidence. That is one reason why Senator Claire McCaskill, the sitting Democratic senator, boosted him during the Republican primaries with ads calling him a “true conservative.” She knew that she is the weakest Senate incumbent on the ballot this year and that her only hope was to draw a weak opponent. Akin won a three-way primary with a plurality of the vote; there was no run-off. McCaskill’s strategy is now paying off.
Akin has backed off from his remarks, albeit with the politician’s excuse of “misspeaking.” People who make such remarks on television are typically capable of making more like them, or rather incapable of exercising the judgment to refrain. We suspect that this same lack of judgment will cause Akin to blow past tomorrow evening’s deadline for him to leave the race and allow the Republicans to select a better nominee. We hope the congressman, who surely wants to see a Senate with as much conservative strength as possible next year, will prove us wrong.
Abhorrent to some. Just plain stupid to others.
As a Christian man, who was born a month premature, with underdeveloped lungs, my heart is always on the side of the unborn.
My daughter was born with complications, and had to undergo cranial surgery at 5 weeks of age. I had to endure watching my precious little girl being split open from ear-to-ear.
Now she is a wonderful 25 year old, who meets her challenges of a “special” life head-on, with an ear-to-ear grin.
I. along with many others, understand Akin’s heart, but, unfortunately, while Democrats tend to shore up their ranks and defend their own, like a lioness defends her cub (see Bubba Clinton), Republicans tend to banish our wounded, like a leper to a Leper Colony.
And, Rep. Akin shot himself in both feet.
On June 23, 2009, for that very same nationalreview.com, that is now calling for Akin’s resignation, the great American, Dr. Thomas Sowell, wrote the following prophetic words:
The current intramural fighting among Republicans does not necessarily mean any fundamental rethinking of their policies or tactics. These tussles among different segments of the Republican party may be nothing more than a longstanding jockeying for position between the liberal and conservative wings of the party.
The stakes in all this are far higher than which element becomes dominant in which party or which party wins more elections. Both the domestic- and foreign-policy direction of the current administration in Washington are leading this country into dangerous waters, from which we may or may not be able to return.
…Unfortunately, the only political party with any chance of displacing the current leadership in Washington is the Republican party. That is why their internal squabbles are important for the rest of us who are not Republicans.
The “smart money” says that the way for the Republicans to win elections is to appeal to a wider range of voters — including minorities — by abandoning the kinds of positions Ronald Reagan held and supporting more of the kinds of positions that Democrats use to get elected. This sounds good on the surface, which is as far as many people go when it comes to politics.
A corollary to this is that Republicans have to come up with alternatives to the Democrats’ many “solutions,” rather than simply be naysayers.
However plausible all this may seem, it goes directly counter to what has actually happened in politics in this generation. For example, Democrats studiously avoided presenting alternatives to what the Republican-controlled Congress and the Bush administration were doing, and just lambasted them at every turn. That is how the Democrats replaced Republicans at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
Ronald Reagan won two elections in a landslide by being Ronald Reagan — and, most important of all — by explaining to a broad electorate how what he advocated would be best for them and for the country. Newt Gingrich likewise led a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives by explaining how the Republican agenda would benefit a wide range of people.
Neither of them won by pretending to be Democrats. It is the mushy “moderates” — the “kinder and gentler” Bush 41, Bob Dole, and John McCain — who lost disastrously, even in two cases to Democrats who were initially very little known, but who knew how to talk.
And, unfortunately for Akin, “words have weight”.