The titanic denial of Todd Akin
One wonders what kind of cocoon Todd Akin has been living in these last few days. ABC News George Stephanopoulos sat down with the congressman and what became plain is that Akin hasn't a clue how badly he screwed up:
"We've given this a lot of thought. And that is the fact is that over more than a year period of time, a number of us ran in this Republican primary. Each of us had our messages. I was outspent by a large amount in terms of media. And yet by standing on principle and putting politics aside and talking about the foundations of this country, the people of Missouri chose me to be their candidate," he said.
The Republican Party and Super PACs have pulled their money from his campaign after Akin said "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down" on a local TV station Sunday.
Akin has since apologized for his comment, telling me this morning that "the word legitimate doesn't ever have a good reason to be standing next to rape. There is no rape that is legitimate."
The congressman, who sits on the House Science Committee, also admits that statement was medically wrong.
"The point of the matter is that, yes, pregnancy can happen as a result of rape. I understand that and I've acknowledged that fact. At the same time I don't apologize for the fact that I'm consistently pro-life. I believe in defending the unborn and I believe that based on those kinds of principles we can win this race," he said.
What's there to apologize for? You can't apologize for being stupid.
No one is asking him to apologize for being pro-life -- a straw man argument to be sure. And no amount of back filling will erase the fact of his towering ignorance. "Now you tell me" is not a defense when it comes to his uninformed opinion about pregnancy and rape -- including the magical notion that a woman can will herself not to get pregnant if she's assaulted. The idea that he now realizes that horse's ass opinion to be wrong is damning in and of itself.
Lawmakers don't have to be geniuses. Remember Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson worrying that Guam would capsize if we put too many soldiers ashore? That kind of idiocy voters will tolerate. But in matters that touch the rawest of emotions -- rape and abortion -- voters have a right to expect a candidate to not only have a grasp of the facts, but also the empathy and sensitivity to be able to discuss the issue without offending most of his constituency. Akins failed on both counts.
Akin is about to be steamrolled by the incumbent, Senator McCaskill. He's in denial about that. The Democrats are going to make Akin an issue in every race in the country. He's in denial about that. The opposition is also going to connect the dots between Akin and the top of the ticket. And he's in denial about that. Akins appears to want to make his "no exceptions" position on abortion a centerpiece of his campaign -- a losing proposition. Just ask Ralph Reed.
In short, Akin is a disaster as a candidate and if elected would be a disaster for Missouri. But there is very little chance of that happening, which means GOP hopes for capturing the senate must depend on picking up a seat in a far more competitive race.
And the party has got to find a way to innoculate the top of the ticket from the toxicity of Akin's remarks.