Where in the world is Congressman Todd Akin and what the hell is he doing?
That is the family friendly version of the most asked question among high-ranking Republicans and journalists looking for a scoop.
If Akin can hold off calls for him to step down as the GOP Senate nominee in Missouri until 5pm today, Republicans cannot remove him. They are stuck with him like a millstone around their neck.
On Monday, the Congressman announced that he was staying in the race. It sounds as if he is not taking any calls until after the 5pm deadline today.
He has released an apology ad – though what exactly he is sorry for remains unclear. He says he is sorry for the words he used but he is not sorry for what is in his heart.
As a political strategist, let me translate that for you: I am sorry I said out loud what I believe in my heart – I meant to keep that to myself.
His statement about “legitimate” rape and a woman’s body’s ability to shut down during an actual rape is rooted in 13th century beliefs. People were legitimately outraged – especially victims of rape that legitimately became pregnant as a result.
But the outrage is not shared outrage; his comments were not universally condemned. Nor were they condemned for the right reasons by many.
We should not be redefining what rape is by making some rape more ok and some rape less ok. This is the majority opinion in America and this is where the source of the great majority of outrage about Congressman Akin’s statement.
Among Republicans, however, there is a different outrage.
Some are outraged that Akin said it out loud. Others are outraged that Akin used the word “legitimate” and not “forcible” when describing rape. It was Congressman Paul Ryan, the vice presidential nominee of the Republican Party, that joined with Congressman Akin in trying to legislate what rape is forcible and therefore illegal from all other forms of rape which they would permit.
The GOP Platform includes a call for a Constitutional amendment to ban abortion. There is no exception for rape, including incest, or life of the mother. None.
If W. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have their way a fertilized egg will be treated like a person and the United States Constitution will force rape victims to carry that pregnancy to term against their will, as punishment for a crime someone else committed.
The rapist could then remain in the woman’s life, as rapists have some, or all, parental rights
It is this group that expresses faux outrage over what Congressman Akin said. Their policies are identical to the sentiments he expressed, they just find it inconvenient that he said it out loud.
Another group, more true to their beliefs, finds no reason for outrage. Congressman Akin simply used one wrong word.
Whatever their beliefs about rape and potential pregnancy they do share Akin’s belief and Romney’s belief and Ryan’s belief and the belief of the Republican Congress and the policy expressed in the platform of the Republican Party: a fertilized egg is a person and a woman is merely a vessel and must be compelled to deliver a child no matter the consequences to her health, no matter what her opinion is and no matter if she was forcibly and violently made pregnant by a criminal.
The basic fact is that Republican’s are uncomfortable with a few of the words Congressman Akin used. They are not, however, uncomfortable with the policy position he was expressing. The record shows that they march in lockstep with Congressman Akin.
About Bill Buck
Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP. He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.