Akin made a stupid remark. But the hysterical reaction to it was even stupider.
Todd Akin is a man unfit for the U.S. Senate, all sides seemed to agree this week, whipping themselves up into a sanctimonious fury over his foolish aside about female biology. We heard this week a lot about “insensitivity” to violence from establishment elites who blithely accept violence in the womb. We heard gasps about dangerously narrow definitions of “rape” from defenders of Bill Clinton (who surely appreciated Akin’s “legitimate” distinction if no one else did) and from apologists for Roman Polanski, who, as Whoopi Goldberg once asserted, never engaged in “rape-rape.”
And let’s not forget that Barack Obama hired as one of his top Department of Education officials a gay-rights activist named Kevin Jennings, who once glibly counseled a “15-year-old” student thought to have been statutorily raped by an older man: “I hope you knew to use a condom.” Jennings is also known for having been “inspired” by Harry Hay, a supporter of the North American Man Boy Love Association.
Don’t expect Obama to receive any questions from the press about these views of his first “Safe Schools Czar.” No, outrage in this culture is restricted to those deemed unenlightened in the nuances of avant-garde morality. According to its porous scorecard, Christianity is bad for women while Islam is good for them. Pro-life countries receive scoldings from Hillary Clinton, while the one-child policy of China, which kills female infants, isn’t “second-guessed” by this administration, as Joe Biden put it on a visit.
In a culture that panders to pro-abortion feminists like Sandra Fluke, thought crimes always rank higher than real ones. Words, not deeds, drive pols from public life. So Akin has to go. He simply harbors the wrong thoughts and no apology will be sufficient from him until he changes his position on abortion. Beneath all the hysterical extrapolations from his remark, which grew wilder and wilder as the days passed, lay that essential demand: approve of killing unborn children conceived under circumstances of rape or be deemed “anti-woman.”
This culture of hectoring explains why Mitt Romney rushed to the cameras upon hearing Akin’s remark to pronounce abortion in those cases “appropriate.” In a rotten culture, proof of one’s “civilized” bona fides comes from such shameless pandering.
An authentically conservative party would find Romney’s unprincipled position far more chilling than Akin’s gaffe. If unborn children gain or lose their right to life depending upon the circumstances of their conception, then the party has already conceded that that right doesn’t exist. Ronald Reagan understood the implications of that concession and never wavered in his defense of the right to life of all unborn children, not just some of them.
Instead of rejecting this media-determined culture of empty and opportunistic outrage, which rests on nothing more than poisonous Planned Parenthood-style propaganda, panicky GOP officials reinforced it this week by treating Akin as a monstrous leper. His stupid remark was thereby turned into a supposedly wicked one and treated as a great crisis for the party.
A party less cowed by political correctness and less in thrall to conventional wisdom wouldn’t have cannibalized its own so quickly. Even from a narrowly strategic standpoint, the frothing made little sense. Without even bothering to consult grassroots Missouri conservatives who elected him or even find out if they had a viable plan B, RNC officials called for Akin to be obliterated and ruled out any future money to him. Didn’t it occur to anybody that he might stay in the race, in which case these fulminations would simply serve to hand victory to the Dems before the race even began? For all the talk about “pragmatism” and “diplomacy” this week from country club Republicans, they didn’t display any towards a candidate who won a primary fair and square. Is this how the Romney administration plans to conduct diplomacy?
Making a bad situation worse, party bosses joined the media mob in brutalizing Aiken not for any high crime but for a single dumb remark. The same country club Republicans who rallied around Arnold Schwarzenegger after he was credibly accused of assaulting women demanded that the Missouri congressman leave the race immediately for a mere comment. If social conservatives had any doubt as to their disposable status in the party — which they shouldn’t , since they have been treated like fodder for years — they can add the hair-trigger purging of Akin to their list of complaints.
In Romney’s GOP, moderates can make any number of mistakes (starting at the top of the ticket) but conservatives are called to perfection. Should they fail, GOP officials will waste no time sacrificing them to the gods of political correctness.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online