Thursday, August 23, 2012

It's Isaac, not Akin: Legitimate Rape and the Republican Convention

Republicans are now stuck with the bad timing of Todd Akin's offensive comments that "legitimate rape" rarely causes pregnancy because the victim's body fends it off. That he could choose to remain a candidate while watching the national pile-on proves him to be selfish as well as stupid.

With Akin's comments reeking like a smelly bus passenger, I just want to get as far away from them as possible. But now the web-sphere is jumping with response that doesn't lay blame on Todd Akin, but on "Republicans." A clever song by Taylor Ferrera that's already earned more than 70,000 YouTube views lists all the scenarios that count as "illegitimate rape," just so you know--because, as her lyric notes, "Republicans have never experienced ra-aaaa-ape."

YouTube is filled with angry replies to Akin; Facebook is jumping with ire toward the right. Media outlets from bloggers, Huffington and Beast to every cable and print news source suddenly have risen from their summer torpor in righteous indignation. And of course, Republicans are just as shocked and disgusted by Akins' words as Democrats, and equally embarrassed that despite his apology, he won't just withdraw and go away.

This must make Obama strategists smile. They've been trying to distract from the sour economy and polls showing the populace less well-off than when he took office by suggesting Romney is anti-woman. Romney, too, decried Akins' statements and urged him to withdraw, but no matter what, Democrats are going to stretch this out as far as they can, and eager reporters are going to resuscitate the story, because it causes such wonderfully photogenic emotional reactions.

In this context, I'll be off with my husband and son, to cover the Republican National Convention in Tampa this coming week. I'll be blogging daily, reporting on the large and small events that the GOP hopes will redirect the conversation to economic issues, the strengths of Romney and Ryan. Party distinctions are sure to emerge consistently in the surge of energy created by this large, enthusiastic group.

So the Akin flap is effectively over, despite efforts by Democrats to maintain the story. He's one guy, and the economy is of much greater importance than his obnoxious gaffe. Plus, there's no controversy--nobody supports him, nobody defends him and given his dead-in-the-water campaign, nobody cares about him.

Already, Akin's replaced in the news by Isaac. Tropical Storm Isaac, that is, which may ramp up and become a hurricane in time to provide a different kind of wind for the Republicans. Even if not a hurricane, the weather forecast includes some powerful displays by Nature to accompany discourse on power by men. Should be fascinating and memorable. On to Tampa!

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