The Spectacle Blog

Vive La Difference (Biden/Akin)

By on 8.20.12 | 3:21PM

Last week, Democratic Vice President Joe Biden uttered an idiotic, offensive, race-baiting statement, telling a mostly black audience that Mitt Romney wants to "put y'all back in chains."

This week, Republican Congressman and candidate for US Senate Todd Akin uttered an idiotic, offensive, rape-baiting statement, making the insane suggestion that a woman's body can naturally prevent pregnancy following a "legitimate rape."

For your perusal, an example of the different reactions from members of each offender's political party:

Democrats in respose to Biden:

  • From Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephaine "Never Heard of Joe Soptic" Cutter, "The bottom line is that we have no problem with those comments."
  • From rap music mogul Russell Simmons: "Joe Biden's truthful comment that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would put "y'all back in chains" sat fine with me."
  • From Al Sharpton: Republicans "don't have the moral standing" to criticize Biden because they call Barack Obama "the food stamp president."
  • Georgetown University Professor Michael Eric Dyson, on the Ed Schultz radio show: Biden's statements can't be criticized by the GOP because we have "a Republican Party that has played dog whistle politics and whose expertise is in racial codes calling President Obama a monkey, an ape, an un-American, a Kenyon, somebody who was not born in America, a communist, and on and on and on."
  • And from President Obama himself: "His phrasing is a distraction from what is at stake....We don’t spend a lot of time worrying about the chatter and the noise and this and that... It doesn't mean anything, just fills up a lot of airtime."

Republicans in response to Akin:

  • From presidential candidate Mitt Romney: "Congressman’s Akin comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong...What he said is entirely without merit and he should correct it."
  • From Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), head of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, "Congressman Akin’s statements were wrong, offensive and indefensible.  I recognize that this is a difficult time for him, but over the next twenty-four hours, Congressman Akin should carefully consider what is best for him, his family, the Republican Party..." (In other words, Cornyn is calling on Akin to drop out of the race.)
  • From American Spectator columnist Quin Hillyer, "Todd Akin's statement on rape, etcetera, are wrong on at least three fronts at once -- and so wrong as to be politically disqualifying...Akin should step aside and let the Missouri Republican Party replace him on the ballot."
  • From the editors of National Review: "Step Aside, Todd Akin." They note that Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, perhaps the most vulnerable Democrat incumbent in the 2012 Senate elections, spent her own campaign funds to try to help Akin win the GOP primary because "she knew that she is the weakest Senate incumbent on the ballot this year..."
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) along with at least two other Republican senators, Ron Johnson (WI) and Scott Brown (MA), and Republican candidate for senate, Heather Wilson (NM), have called for Akin to get out of the race (though McConnell's suggestion was slightly more gentle than the others.)

The difference between Democrats and Republicans in these two back-to-back examples of foot-in-mouth disease simply serves to highlight what readers of these pages already know: While Republicans sometimes deviate from their stated principles, at least they have some principles; and when they do deviate, they tend to be punished by their own as much as by the media, who offer no such scolding to Democrats in similar situations.

I am skeptical that Akin is smart or humble enough to drop out of the race, particularly in the next 24 hours which is what would be necessary (specifically by 5 PM Tuesday, local time) for the Missouri GOP to replace him on the ballot. As Quin Hillyer has suggested, I hope that every Republican "big gun" calls Rick Akin personally and urges him to drop out, including telling him that he will receive no support from the party, even if that means McCaskill getting re-elected. (Can you imagine any such pressure by Democrats on a Democrat?)

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