To summarize - Todd Akin claimed that women had a system that sensed when they were being raped (check that, legitimately raped, whatever that means) which caused their uterus to shut down, preventing pregnancy.
Thanks to the Internet, the responses were almost instantaneous, and vociferous. Said response varied from laughing and pointing to righteous offense. Fellow Republicans almost broke their fingers making shame-shame motions at him, and nearly displayed red-shift backing away from him. I was reminded of the scene in Dumbo where the elephants took all agreed to disavow the titular pachyderm out of embarrassment for his actions. except I foresee no miraculous vindication for Mr. Akin here.
To be clear, he was roundly pilloried for his statements. Presumed presidential nominee Mitt Romney made it abundantly clear he did not hold the same views as Mr. Akin, making it clear he supported allowing abortions in the case of rape or incest. (How kind of him)
There were more than a few suggestions that he had shit the bed so badly, he'd never be able to clean off in time for the election. They hoped they could quickly bring in someone who did have the stink of failure and medieval-level ignorance of biology on him. But Akin chose to stay in the race.
So the Republicans were left with an odd puzzle - do they write the election off, or find a way of salvaging this walking fiasco? The answer is somewhat predictable.
The folks at The Atlantic Wire are tracking what they describe as "The backlash to the backlash". The strategy seems to be taking a two-prong attack:
1) He SAID he was sorry.As a rule, if an opponent does something wrong, addlepated, or just plain stupid, you pounce on it like a cat on a mouse, and never let it go. If you're lucky, you can stop talking about the issues altogether, and just obsess on the mistake.
Contrariwise, if someone on YOUR side makes a similar mistake, the moment he apologizes, that's it. It's utterly forgotten, and any attempt to bring it up again is mercilessly attacked as an attempt to distract the public from the issues.
Surely you see the problem.
2) It wasn't THAT ridiculous. The things he said rose the bar for the act of Saying What You Only Meant To Think. But since he's decided to stay in the race, the rest of the party is forced to...well, maybe not agree with what he said, but at least try to soften the crazy a bit.
So while they can't exactly pull out doctors' reports showing the existence of an intrauterine panic room, they're trying to get mileage out of the idea that it at least sounds plausible. They draw attention to the fact that stress, along with many other criteria, can throw off a woman's body chemistry to the point that even if an egg is fertilized, it may not adhere to the walls of the womb, or even after that, may miscarry. There's no attempt to prove Akin is right, just that he might not be as wrong as everybody (rightly) thinks he is.
The Democrats have made hay while the sun shone, and made a very good case that Akin's mindset is representative of the Republican mindset in general. A mindset that still wants to put blame for rape on the woman, while at the same time grant her magical powers for surviving it. It all merges into an idea that raps is somehow Not That Big A Deal. Combine that with the "war on women" in the acts of attempting to limit, revise, abridge, and if necessary, re-spell the rights of a woman to choose what happens to and within her body, and you get a picture of a party that no rational person would want near the panel in an elevator, let alone in charge of a country.
Now why would they even choose to make this case, when there's oh so much juicy economic dynamite to play with? Simple - most people don't grasp how money works, don't want to do the math, and get a glazed look in their eye as you try to explain it to them. Believe me, I've tried. I can't TELL you how many "percentage vs. dollar amounts" conversations I've had that still end with "But that number's bigger".
Rather then give people a primer on math, it's easier to get them to see the things that will affect them directly, no numbers required. And sadly, The republicans are doing a fine job of handing th Democrats more ammo. Each thing a Republican says over the last few weeks comes off sounding worse than the last. And Romney is quick to make clear he doesn't agree with what these yukkapucks say, but it's a case of accretion - with each wacky thing a republican says, a little bit of the stink is draw to Romney, as he is the largest political body on their side of the cosmos.
And when the crazy statements are coming from his own damn running mate, it becomes harder to distance from them. Last week, Paul Ryan gave an interview in which, defending his position that there should be no excuses for abortion, he referred to rape as a “method of conception.”
Jesus Fucking Wept.
Remember when spelling “potato” wrong was the worst you could expect from a politician?
I would have those days again.