Legitimate rape: an update

Remember how the GOP establishment disavowed any knowledge of Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin after his “legitimate rape” logic? You know, it said it wouldn’t support him and wanted him out of the race because his abortion/rape stand was anathema to how the party was trying to present itself.

Well, this just in:

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has opened the door to getting back in the Missouri Senate race after weeks of insisting it was finished with Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.).

NRSC executive director Rob Jesmer on Wednesday said the committee would keep close tabs on the race, and hinted it might reverse its decision to abandon its nominee.

“There is no question that for Missourians who believe we need to stop the reckless Washington spending, rein-in the role of government in people’s lives, and finally focus on growing jobs in this country that Todd Akin is a far more preferable candidate than liberal Sen. Claire McCaskill,” he said in a statement. “As with every Republican Senate candidate, we hope Todd Akin wins in November and we will continue to monitor this race closely in the days ahead.”

And if that’s not enough:

Top conservatives announced their support for Missouri Republican Todd Akin’s embattled campaign for Senate, some reversing course after having earlier called for him to step down following his “legitimate rape” remarks.

Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum and South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint jointly gave their backing Wednesday after a final deadline passed for Akin to withdraw from the ballot. And Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, a party leader in the Senate, quietly dropped his previous opposition to Akin’s candidacy, and said he would support his fellow Missourian.

With Republicans struggling in their effort to pick up the four seats needed wrest control of the Senate this fall, some in the party have calculated that they must back Akin if they hope to win the majority. Missouri has represented perhaps their best opportunity to defeat an incumbent, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

It’s still a close race, and Akin can win. And if he does, that opens the gates to eternal Tea Bagger crazy.
Meaning the chances of stopping “legitimate rape” from becoming the law of the land will dwindle in every subsequent election.

‘Legitimate rape’: more on Todd Akin and the GOP

Take a good look at this picture:

On the left is Paul Ryan. He’s Mitt Romney‘s pick for the GOP vice presidential slot. On the right is Todd Akin. He’s an idiot.

Akin talked about “legitimate” rape yesterday. The Romney camp would like you to believe that it totally disavows Akin and everything he believes in.

But Bloomberg news service points out

No less than Paul Ryan, the Republican candidate for vice president, shares his views. Ryan, Akin’s colleague in the House, has sponsored legislation with him that also sought to distinguish between types of rape: Instead of “legitimate,” it used the word “forcible.”

What Akin’s remarks have unleashed is a discussion in the presidential race over social issues that will be hard for Republicans to control. They were reasonably sure they could paper over the differences between Ryan and his running mate, Mitt Romney, on Medicare. On social issues, the problem is the opposite: The difference between Ryan’s views and Akin’s could fit on a Post-it note. …

Yet Ryan and Akin are in the mainstream of the prevailing House Republican view on abortion.

Not only did Akin and Ryan co-sponsor legislation redefining rape, Ryan ran for Congress as a strong pro-lifer and has a 100 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee. “This includes support for the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” the committee notes. Last year Ryan and Akin were co-sponsors of the Sanctity of Human Life Act, also known as “personhood” legislation, which would give a fertilized egg the same rights as a human being and would outlaw some forms of birth control.

Actually, calling Akin an idiot is unfair. Because he isn’t an outlier in Republican politics. He just expresses the views of the far-right Tea Bagger wing. The reason he won the nomination in Missouri is because his constituents have fundamentally (and fundamentalist) insane beliefs.

Those beliefs, according to Creative Destruction, include:

- Evolution is false; the earth is actually 6,000 years old and humans and dinosaurs roamed the earth at the same time.

- The theory of global warming was created in a conspiracy between environmentalists and climate scientists to destroy the American way of life.

- Barack Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya who got a scholarship to Columbia University as a foreign student.

- The Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the U.S. State Department.

- Barack Obama has a plan to confiscate your guns. Part of this plan is the “fast and furious” scandal which the Obama Administration created to gin up support for gun control.

- The United States was founded as an explicitly Christian nation.

- Gay people are more likely to be pedophiles than straight people.

- NAFTA is part of a plan to erase the border between the U.S. and Mexico and replace the United States with a federation called the North American Union.

These are just their greatest hits. They’ve got a ton more on the B-side of their album.

The problem is there’s no way to argue with them, because these “facts” have no basis in reality. When one side is dealing with reality and the other is mired in fantasy, there is no convenient “middle ground” to occupy. Wrong is wrong, and accepting an illegitimate point makes the compromise illegitimate.

The Republican voters in Missouri got the candidate they wanted. And his beliefs are their beliefs. To them, it’s just an inarguable fact that a “legitimate” rape doesn’t lead to pregnancy because women’s bodies will shut down the fertilization process. There is no scientific basis in reality for this argument, except in a world where basic science includes the fact that men and dinosaurs roamed the Earth at the same time (i.e. “The Flintstones” as historic documents). What Akin said is the foundation of the right-wing belief system concerning women and sexuality.

Just one other point. The guy who conducted this interview demonstrates why television and newspapers are failing to inform the public. The second Akin came up with his “legitimate rape” comment, the very next thing that should have come out of the interviewer’s mouth was: “Are you serious?”

Instead, he just went on with his list of questions. Interviewers have to listen to what their subjects are saying and then follow up with: “What scientific basis do you have for that?” “Who told you that?” “Do you know others that believe that?”

I probably wouldn’t have been good on the follow-up question, though. My response when I read the initial report on this was: “Are you f—ing kidding me?”

That kind of question ends an interview pretty quickly.

Man on dog day afternoon

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

Image via Wikipedia

Since former Pennsylvania senator Man-on-Dog is getting his 15 minutes of fame before the GOP realizes it has come up with another lost cause as a front runner, let’s go back in time to see where this canine nickname comes from. (I don’t think Googling “Santorum” will help with this one.)

Here’s an excerpt from a 2003 interview with the Associated Press.

AP: OK, without being too gory or graphic, so if somebody is homosexual, you would argue that they should not have sex?

RICK SANTORUM: We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that [have] sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose. Because, again, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family. And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn’t exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created, it was created in Griswold – Griswold was the contraceptive case – and abortion. And now we’re just extending it out. And the further you extend it out, the more you – this freedom actually intervenes and affects the family. You say, well, it’s my individual freedom. Yes, but it destroys the basic unit of our society because it condones behavior that’s antithetical to strong, healthy families. Whether it’s polygamy, whether it’s adultery, where it’s sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.

“Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that’s what? Children. Monogamous relationships. In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality . . .”

Now, words do come back to haunt. So a couple of days ago, on CNN, he was asked why he would list homosexuality with pedophilia and bestiality.

His answer: “I didn’t connect them. I excluded them.”

Seriously? So he didn’t say that? And remember, earlier this week he didn’t say he was against giving money to black people when he was videotaped saying he was against giving money to black people.

What a stooge!

No doubt. Great movie

Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten from my favorite Hitchcock movie: “Shadow of a Doubt.” A tale of two Charlie’s. One good, one evil. Look at the scene toward the end when the Charlies are on the train. Watch her expressions change just before and after the train starts moving.  This is an impressive emotional display, taking place in less than a minute. Boredom to empathy to confusion to awareness to terror.

The 1943 movie is about an empathic uncle and niece. They are soulmates, but young Charlie Newton (Wright) is the good half of the soul and Uncle Charlie Oakley (Cotten) is the dark side. The premise: Uncle Charlie is an East Coast serial killer of wealthy widows eluding the authorities while hiding out with his sister’s family in California. His namesake niece adores him. Though the cops are on his tail, there are two suspects in the murders, one remaining in the East. And the police aren’t sure who the real murderer is. Uncle Charlie worms his way into the family and into the community; a sophisticated, intellectual easterner on the path to becoming a pillar of the community. Even young Charlie adores him. But her pedestal of adoration is chipped away, because in her desire to know all about him, she discovers things she never imagined about her uncle and her vision of the world.

Thornton Wilder wrote the screenplay, along with Sally Benson and Alfred Hitchcock‘s wife Alma Reville. Wilder had already captured American idealism in “Our Town,” for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1938. He was in the Army when he wrote the “Shadow of a Doubt” screenplay. Perhaps this later, darker version of “Our Town” came from the gloom engulfing the world because of World War II. Even in 1943, as horrific as things  were, people didn’t realize how evil the world could turn.

The movie contains another dynamic, which was probably understood in the 1940s, but is more apparent to 21st century sensibilities. Young Charlie is entering womanhood, and she and her uncle share a secret that no one can ever find out about. Her revelations concerning her uncle come when they’re alone, sometimes in her room, behind closed doors. When she confronts him, his response isn’t to lie, but to tell her to keep his secret, because otherwise, it will tear up her family. Though there’s no sex involved, this is about incest.

There are number of great scenes between the two: Cotten’s chilling dinner-table commentary on “silly wives,” a visit to a seedy bar in an idyllic American small town, young Charlie’s threat to kill her uncle and the clip above.

Though the final minute and a half seem to be a letdown, listen closely to the pastor’s eulogy in the background. As far as the world is concerned, Uncle Charlie was a great  human being, a  shining light that was extinguished too soon. Only Charlie, and her detective boyfriend, know the truth. “Our Town” has its secrets, found in shady bars and behind closed doors. Uncle Charlie show us the dark side of “Our Town” an idealized entity, concealing an unimaginable evil.

Hitchcock’s daughter said this was her father’s favorite movie. It’s one of Hitchcock’s treasures that shouldn’t be missed.