22 August 2012

The party of Akin

Republicans nationwide have been stampeding to distance themselves from Todd Akin's toxic choice of words and rhetorical style on abortion -- but in terms of actual substance, his views are very much the party mainstream.

Last year Akin and VP nominee Paul Ryan co-sponsored HR 3, an anti-abortion law which would have limited its rape exception to "forcible rape" only, a sub-category apparently the same as Akin's "legitimate rape".  Ryan, like Akin, holds the personal view that there should be no rape exception at all -- that abortion should be prohibited even in such cases.

The Republican national party platform includes a plank calling for a Constitutional Amendment totally banning abortion, with no exceptions for rape, incest, or anything else.  This plank was voted final approval only late yesterday, after the Akin firestorm had been raging for two days -- so not even this controversy was able to get the party to moderate its position.

The omission of a rape exception from the platform plank cannot be dismissed as a mere oversight, either.  For example, the 2008 Republican platform had the same language; John McCain, the Presidential nominee that year, held more moderate views and had urged that a rape exception be added, but the party refused to include one.

The initial Romney/Ryan response on Akin included the statement that "a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape."  But this flatly contradicts the Republican platform.  Given Romney's notorious history of flip-flopping, and Ryan's Akin-like voting record, how can we trust them to keep their word?

Since their sweep of the House and many state legislatures in 2010, Republicans have pushed hundreds of laws restricting or banning abortion.  The worst of these have been unable to take effect due to Roe v. Wade, but since whoever is President for the 2013-2017 term will appoint up to three Supreme Court judges, that barrier is unlikely to survive if Obama loses.

Rachel Maddow reviews how widespread this extreme restrictionist stance -- and Akin's weird belief that rape almost never results in pregnancy -- are among Republicans:

This is what the Republicans are: the party of reducing women and girls to forced breeding stock for violent criminals.  We should never forget it and we should never let the rest of the electorate forget it.  A vote for Republicans at any level is a vote for that.

Further commentary from Norbrook and Murr Brewster.

[Image at top is from Politics Plus.]


Blogger Leslie Parsley said...

Exactly - and this is why it so imperative that people vote for Obama and not for a third party candidate.

22 August, 2012 10:10  
Blogger Robert the Skeptic said...

There was a time when I believed that the Conservatives only "mouthed" their desire to overturn Roe V. Wade in order to garner the Massively Moron voter bloc, knowing full well behind closed doors that in reality such a policy would create a HUGE upswing in the need for social services, education, prisons, etc. due to the effect of drawing millions of unwanted children into the world.

I don't believe this any more - I fully believe that Conservatives now DO WANT huge populations of needy and desperate people to create even more wage and income disparity which will further ingratiate the uber-wealthy.

I think that Conservatives look at the poor in other countries and compare them to the poor in this country believing that our underclass has more room to further fall. What I think the Conservatives forget, though, that opposed to the poor of most other countries, the poor in the US are WELL ARMED.

22 August, 2012 12:01  
Blogger ReasonBeing said...

" Given Romney's notorious history of flip-flopping, and Ryan's Akin-like voting record, how can we trust them to keep their word?"---we can't. Especially when we know that Ryan and the rest (or at the least 200+ GOP Reps who endorsed the bill)of the disagrees with that statement.

I truly have a hard time understanding how any woman can vote GOP. Cognitive dissonance or not asking the relevant questions of their faith are the only answers that I can come up with.

As a side note, I love the diagram at the start of the post. Very telling, yet so simple.

22 August, 2012 13:55  
Blogger Norbrook said...

Thanks for the link. The sad part is not just that Akin's ideas are widespread among Republicans - as bad as that is - it's that it's just a part of a package of beliefs. They don't believe in science, the economic ideas they espouse have been shown to be complete failures, and they're proposing doing away with many of the programs and functions that their own voters depend on.

22 August, 2012 14:18  
Anonymous NickM said...

The fundamental point for me is this.

My wife told me of Akin's utter bizzareness. Now Akin (and others) seemed to her to have an essentially medieval grok on gynecology and this bizarre idea that conception can only occur if the woman enjoys sex or something and therefore in their view it is de-facto not rape type rape. Now as my wife outlined this "argument" I had to correct her.

It is not medieval. It is based upon Aristotle. Now don't get me wrong Aristotle was a great writer on many things but he was wrong on many issues. For example he believed goats breathed through their ears. Now obviously he was a great philosopher and his ideas on many things are still valid today but not everything. We all get some stuff wrong.

Interestingly as far as the US religious right goes he significantly antedated Christ.

23 August, 2012 03:13  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

LP: That's for sure. There's far too much at stake to throw a vote away on a "message" nobody will notice.

RtS: That may play a role, but I think the religious motivation here is the real motivation. It's often hard for secular Westerners to understand religious fanatics, and we tend to think their claimed religious motives must be a cover-up or pretext for some underlying "real" motive, usually economic, but that's because we're not religious and don't "get" the religious mentality (see Sam Harris on bin Laden).

RB: Most people vote on the basis of who they think will be better at job creation, regardless of what else is in the platform. In other countries we've seen totalitarians come to power by claiming they could handle an economic crisis better. The people who would vote Republican based on straight economics, ignoring the social totalitarianism, are just following the same path.

Some people, though, just don't realize how extreme the Republican ideology is. For them, Akin has provided a teachable moment.

Norbrook: Their long-standing reality-denial makes this stuff possible. As I said a few posts below, given a party that treats creationism and global-warming denialism as legitimate, in the long run you can't not have this kind of thing.

NM: I really doubt it's anything to do with Aristotle or even the Middle Ages. The modern troglodyte right is cut off by its own ignorance from the history of ideas, even bad ideas. They just make up out of whole cloth whatever they need to to justify their ideological preferences, then act as if it's true. It isn't more complicated than that.

23 August, 2012 04:33  
Anonymous NickM said...

OK Infidel. I'll buy that sort of but it is not necessarily that simple. Not to me anyway. Let's face it. I'm 38. I am therefore young enough not to recall institutional sexism in the UK. But I suspect you are wrong. OK, it is their ideology. An ideology I find utterly bizarre in this century. And that makes me think of root causes here. And let's face it to have such odd views (and they are perversely odd) requires some form of metaphysical structures. I am not saying this is right (it is disgusting) but it does exist. And unless we do not accept that reality we can't fight it.

Let us be honest here. OK let me be honest here on behalf of a former housemate Eli, a doctor who is the fellow of the Royal College of Gynecologists. I can imagine her laughing her sodding ass off at such pignorance. Eli did five years at at a top-notch medical school and specialised in OBGYN as I did in astrophysics. What did Akin specialise in? I am not pulling rank here but you know you don't take your car with dodgy transmission to a plumber do you?

And something I have always taken to be the mark of a smart and moral person is not shooting their gobs off over things they know sod all about.

I fix computers for a living. Would you, would anyone employ me if I didn't know it was all down to electrons in doped silicon and instead thought I could do it by talking to "sprites"? Akin's view on how conception happens is just as bizarre. And he seems to regard for whatever peculiar reasons of his own that women enjoying sex is somehow wrong. Well, I think that is wrong because, apart from any other sub "Handmaid's Tale" nonsense sex is always more fun if your partner is also enjoying themself.

I ref your tg-line. And I do think the whole thing is so odd there is something old and odd behind it.

23 August, 2012 05:42  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

NM: I really see no reason for thinking this is at all complicated. We're talking about knuckle-dragging Deliverance extras, not philosophers. I'd be surprised if Akin has ever even heard of Aristotle. Most of them have probably never even read much of the Bible. They don't like abortion because of cultural inertia, the rantings of semi-literate spittle-flecked preachers, and anxiety about empowered women. They think of, or vaguely hear about, various random nonsense to justify the prejudice. That's all. Aristotle? You're applying art criticism to a bird dropping.

23 August, 2012 18:35  
Blogger Tommykey said...

I thought of a pro-choice bumper sticker idea:

Abortion is not a problem that needs to be solved.

23 August, 2012 20:09  
Anonymous Bacopa said...

Had no Idea that Clayton Williams was still around. RIP Ann Richards. The day you lost to W was the day Texas, followed shortly by the rest of the country went to hell.

And if there was some magic "shut that down" secretion, why isn't someone researching this?

Get people out to vote. This shit is important, and judicial appointments are extremely important.

23 August, 2012 21:33  
Blogger uzza said...

We're against abortions in cases of rape because God Himself designed our human bodies to abort in cases of rape.
How can you not see the logic in that?

25 August, 2012 05:22  

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