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).