Tag Archives: Akin

Putting Its Worst Face Forward

Every day, a new headline paints a picture of today’s Republican Party. It’s a party the Republicans of my era wouldn’t recognize.

First we had Senate candidate Todd Akin asserting that victims of “legitimate” rape don’t get pregnant. (We have “lady parts” that “shut stuff down”…).

Then we had the GOP Rep. from Tennessee who explained that AIDS can’t be transmitted through heterosexual sex. (Tell that to the folks in Africa…)

This morning, Arizona newspapers announced that infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio would be speaking at the Republican Convention.

Arpaio, who is under investigation by various law-enforcement agencies including the Department of Justice, is best known for his anti-illegal immigration fervor, which tends to extend to the harassment of perfectly legal citizens who have the misfortune of looking Latino. He is also known for maintaining horrific jail conditions, including the erection of a “tent city” that has been compared to a concentration camp, in which he held people pending trial. (Not convicted felons, just people accused of something.) He has also reintroduced chain gangs, pressured inmates to donate organs….Not to belabor this, but he isn’t exactly a poster boy for enlightened criminal justice policies. Most recently, he has become the face of the “birthers,” insisting that President Obama was born in Kenya.

Arpaio’s racism and brutality aren’t exactly a secret. And while he is popular with others of his ilk, his approval rating in Arizona is around 37%–higher than we might wish, but hardly at a level to explain the decision to give him a role at the Republican Convention.

Republican officeholders have tried to distance themselves from Akin, but they undermined that effort with a platform plank confirming their agreement with his position. (That plank: adamant opposition to abortion, with no exception for rape or incest.) I haven’t heard of any efforts to push back against homophobia, or the profound ignorance most recently expressed by the Representative from Tennessee. And now, they extend an invitation to speak at the Convention to a man who is utterly loathed (and with good reason) by every Latino who has ever heard of him.

Add to all of this the Romney campaign’s decision to double-down on a welfare ad that every credible news source agrees is flatly untrue–an ad that is basically a very loud “dog whistle” to racism–and the picture that emerges is pretty ugly.

Some strategist in the GOP has evidently concluded that Romney’s only path to victory is through the mobilization of the old, angry white guys who “want their country back” from the rest of us.


Alien Worldview

Wow. Just wow.

When Todd Akin went off on his ignorant rant about “lady parts,” it prompted a number of folks to turn over the rock under which he and his fellow “conservatives” live–and it turns out his crazy isn’t limited to women’s reproduction.

Salon raised the reasonable question, “why is this guy on the House science subcommittee?” and quoted the genius on climate change: “In Missouri when we go from winter to spring, that’s a good climate change. I don’t want to stop that climate change you know. Who in the world wants to put politicians in charge of the weather anyways?”

Unsurprisingly, Akin also rejects the “theory” of evolution.

The article also noted Akin’s firm grasp of history, made clear in his belief that the Pilgrims came to the New World to escape socialism. (He must get his history lessons from David Barton.)

This would all be funny if Akin were the only elected official with this sort of delusional worldview. But what’s really scary is how many “fellow travelers” he has. Several of them are in Indiana. A friend of mine shared a You Tube in which Linda Lawson berated Eric Turner for expressing his opposition to the “rape or incest” exception by explaining that women would pretend to be raped in order to obtain an abortion.

I don’t get it.

How do these willfully ignorant culture warriors get elected? What is it about women and science and basic logic that repels them?

And most important, what will it take to engineer a return to sanity?