Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Republican Establishment Turns on Akin

Just in case you’ve missed the wall to wall coverage of Todd Akin’s political plight, here’s a brief recap.

He is currently a U.S. Congressman representing Missouri’s 2nd district. He recently won the Republican primary to run for U.S. Senate against incumbent Claire McCaskill.

On Sunday, he gave an interview with St. Louis television station KTVI in which he said in a question about abortion and rape:
“It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”

Later that day, the McCaskill campaign, seeing an opportunity released a statement saying:
“As a former prosecutor, Claire McCaskill has worked closely with hundreds of rape victims and intimately understands their trauma and pain. It is that experience that makes Akin’s statements so outrageous.”

Minutes later, perhaps oblivious to the McCaskill statement, Akin released his own statement and in a small excerpt said:
In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it's clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year.

By Monday, the Democratic party machine (including the President) and their cohorts in the national media and surprisingly the Republican establishment, were all calling for Akin to step down. He has until 5 p.m. Tuesday, August 21 to resign the nomination for the Republican Party to replace him. Afterwards, it will require a court order for a replacement nominee.

Later on Monday, Congressman Akin issued an apology.
"Rape is an evil act. I used the wrong words in the wrong way and for that I apologize. As the father of two daughters, I want tough justice for predators. I have a compassionate heart for the victims of sexual assault. I pray for them. The fact is, rape can lead to pregnancy. The truth is, rape has many victims. The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold. I ask for your forgiveness."

First, I was embarrassed by Akin’s comments. They were wrong. He is a little backward. But this misspeak is no cause for his resignation. The fact is, there are illegitimate claims of rape. Probably not many, but they do exist. We need only look as far as Norma McCorvey, the Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade. Her case falsely claimed that she was raped and was prevented from having an abortion.
But that is hardly the essential point of the Akin plight. The question is, is this comment a part of the character of Todd Akin. Is he an uncaring chauvinist who is hardened to the crisis of women who are raped, especially if that rape results in pregnancy. He is not.

Second, the really unbelievable drama of this story is that of the Republican establishment. I understand the McCaskill/Obama/DNC response. But Republicans?
What I’m been incensed at is the RNC and all its tentacles interfering with Missouri. Mitt Romney issued two comments on Monday against Akin; Karl Rove said his fundraising PAC won’t give money, the RNC is yanking advertising for Akin, etc, etc, etc. Many politicians have issued public statements, telling Akin to back out.


Why is the Republican establishment telling this Missourian-Republican-leaning voter that I cannot have the senatorial candidate for whom I voted? He did nothing immoral or unethical. He misspoke. He even apologized AND even asked for forgiveness. Yet this is not enough. They want him out. Why? Because unthinking, emotional, manipulating people are causing a raucous.

I want evaluation. This was an unfortunate mis-speak. Akin has apologized for his mistake. Let’s move on. A Republican establishment that adds fuel to the fire, shows that it is part of America’s problem, not its solution. And it shows itself unworthy of the support of people with brains who don’t go off half-cocked on an emotive crusade. I don’t want perfection. I want character. And that is one thing of which Todd Akin has plenty (take note Karl Rove, it’s character that counts, not dollars).

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Silversun Pickups Pick on Romney

OK, I’ll admit that until today I had never heard of the Silversun Pickups. But they had their attorney issue the Mitt Romney Presidential Campaign a “cease and desist” letter. Evidently, the campaign plays their music, or at least their popular song “Panic Switch” at certain events.

I’ll also admit that my curiosity got the best of me, so off to YouTube I went to educate myself on Silversun Pickups. That education lasted about 90 seconds. If I have any reason to question Romney’s fitness to serve as President of the United States, this choice of music would be it. “Yuck” is an understatement, but I couldn’t understand a word of the song. A search to the lyrics was even worse. What’s this about “do your fingers itch” and “are you pistol-whipped”?? Weird, Mitt. Really weird. I can understand it coming from a Los Angeles rock band, but it doesn’t need to be parroted by your campaign. Fire your sound guy!

But, that point notwithstanding, I don’t think the campaign has done anything illegal. Drawing from my radio experience, most venues have licensing agreements (making it legal to play licensed music at those facilities). Like if you go to Royals Stadium, they can legally play lots of music (assuming they have this license). They don’t have to call the artist up and ask for permission. And I know organizations can buy licenses with the major music labels. Churches buy a CCLI license so they can play all the licensed music. Secular venues would buy a BMI license of one similar.

I doubt the Silverspoon Dropouts (or was it the GoldenSun Chevy Trucks? ….urghhhh!) have their music privately copyrighted. The music industry licenses the music broadly. Otherwise every radio station in the country would have to call up the artist and ask if they can play their song. Program directors will not do that, thus the song won’t get played, thus people won’t know about, thus no one will buy the CD, thus your band will quickly be OBSCURE.

These folks are trying to make a political point. And it’s a stupid one. They don’t want to be associated with the Romney Campaign? How about Romney supporters buying their albums? Would they like to issue a “cease and desist” letter to all Republicans, or Romney-leaning Independents buying their product?

Though I wouldn’t touch their music (wrong simile, I know), the Romney campaign using Silversun Pickups’ music shows the best of America. In music, your politics do not matter. Art transcends party boundaries. Their music was appreciated by both Republicans and Democrats. Rather than celebrating that fact and the role they play as musicians in uniting Americans, the Silversun Pickups unforturnately chose to be as divisive as the President they support.