- “We feel this is a case of ‘gotcha politics’. …Todd Akin is really getting a bad break here.” – Spokeswoman Connie Mackey for Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council.
- “[It’s not like] I’m the only person in public office who has suffered from foot-in-mouth disease.” – Todd Akin
- “I used the wrong words in the wrong way.” – Todd Akin
Using the wrong words in the wrong way would indicate that the message conveyed was not the message intended. The message conveyed by Akin was that he believed women who are “legitimately raped” can’t get pregnant. It is pretty clear that he intended to say women who are “forcibly raped” are less likely to get pregnant. He even said in his first apology on Mike Huckabee’s show that instead of “legitimately raped” he meant “forcibly raped.” Oh, okay. How is that better? The outrage is still there, the science is still junk.
Compare this to the faux outrage about Barack Obama’s statement from a few weeks ago, the one where he slipped in the phrase “if you’ve got a business” before returning to a phrase about building roads and bridges – “you didn’t build that”. The message intended tangentially related to businesses; it was about government’s role in infrastructure that all businesses could take advantage of. But the message – conveyed in a billion Republican-funded ads from now until November – was that Barack Obama doesn’t think business owners built their own businesses. Ha ha, Barack, gotcha!
If the punditocracy is playing “gotcha politics” and deliberately misinterpreting Akin’s words, it serves only to turn a false and offensive statement into a false, offensive, and ludicrous statement.
- “Rep. Akin’s statement was so far out of bounds that he should resign the nomination for U.S. Senate in Missouri.”- Senator Scott Brown, R-Massachusetts, Washington, D.C. politician
- “I am very concerned -- and I know many other conservatives are as well, because they have all written me today -- that if you stay in this race, … this could put the entire state of Missouri, this Senate seat, and even the top of the ticket, in jeopardy in Missouri” – Sean Hannity, New York-based conservative talk show host
- "Notable that Rex Elsass & Nick Everhart, Akin consultants, are in Columbus OH and a bit immune from Beltway CW/storm” – Ben Smith, Buzzfeed, Washington, D.C.-based journalist
You know who is immune from Missouri-based non-storm? Ben Smith of Buzzfeed. Akin's views may be out of the mainstream of America, but they fit right in with the mainstream of religious conservative thought. And the conservative voters of Missouri are the only ones that Akin is beholden to.
All this scorn from “establishment Republicans” plays right into his hands. It’s like the whole of America’s political journalists forgot what happened two years ago when the cranky Tea Party ran on a platform of setting fire to the Washington establishment, and they won! Or even how Claire McCaskill herself manipulated the Republican electorate in Missouri just a few weeks ago by calling Akin a dangerous outsider, knowing this was just the sort of label that would get right-wingers to vote for Akin over more electable opponents. And now he’s supposed to be in danger of putting the entire state of Missouri in jeopardy of falling into Democrats’ hands? Everyone knew he was going to say some crazy shit at some point in this campaign. Claire McCaskill sure knew it! I mean, all I’m saying is that Missouri’s Republicans all knew what they were getting when they voted for Akin in the primary, so I don’t think Missouri is any more or less “in jeopardy” than on primary day. Of course he's sticking it out, Scott Brown et al. Your condemnation only fuels him!
My hope is that widespread exposure to Akin’s words will increase Democratic turnout in Missouri, because it’s not like Republicans aren’t going to show up anyways.