Panic in the party

For Your Consideration

Peter CavanaughAugust 30, 2012 

I totally agree with Mike Huckabee on this one.

"The Party's leaders have for reasons that aren't rational, left Todd Akin behind on the political battlefield, wounded and bleeding. In a Party that supposedly stands for life, it was tragic to see the carefully orchestrated and systematic attack on a fellow Republican. Who ordered this "Code Red?" -- Mike Huckabee -- Letter to Supporters -- 8/23/12.

Everything all started when Congressman Todd Akin, running for the U.S. Senate in Missouri, was being interviewed early Sunday morning, Aug. 19, on KTVI -TV in Saint Louis. Discussing possible exceptions to an absolute ban on abortions, Akin came up with a doozy when he observed, "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." As nuts as that sounds -- and is -- poor Todd didn't make that up all by himself.

In his book "Why Can't We Love Them Both: Questions and Answers About Abortion," Dr. John C. Willke, former President of the National Right to Life Committee, claims that the trauma associated with "assault rape" makes "a woman's body less habitable and thus lessens the possibility of pregnancy."

Although the scientific community at large has declared this allegation intellectually baseless, Mitt Romney himself welcomed the endorsement of Dr. John Willke in 2007, declaring in an official campaign release -- "Dr. Willke is a leading voice within the pro-life community and will be an important surrogate for Governor Romney's pro-life and pro-family agenda."

So it's a mystery why, in less than 48 hours, Todd Akin was utterly castigated by fellow Republicans for parroting what investigation reveals was a fairly popular ideological fantasy. Almost every major party figure faithfully fell into immediate obeisant lock step line without further question or commentary in calling for Akin's withdrawal from the Missouri race.

And that's the part that scares me. Who panicked? Who did order this "Code Red?" It sure worked. Sort of.

It doesn't seem to have been Mitt Romney. Displaying characteristic out front leadership, Mitt waited till everybody else went first before bravely intoning, "Todd Akin's comments were offensive and wrong and he should very seriously consider what course would be in the best interest of our country," It wasn't until another 24 hours passed that Romney summoned up enough testicular fortitude to add, "Today, his fellow Missourians urged him to step aside, and I think he should accept their counsel and exit the Senate race."

But Akin wasn't afraid of the big, bad Mitt. He's in the fight till the finish, not only against sitting Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, but also in opposition to powerful pressures from virtually the entire national Republican establishment. Mike Huckabee is the only clear and -- I must say -- heroic exception to obviously top-ordered consensus. But, again, just who is "on high" in all this with firm control on a remarkably efficient and, I admit, functionally enviable lever?

I assure you such a display of unequivocal, automatic, mindless unity would never occur in Democratic circles. Hah -- Are you kidding me?

That's why those who repeat allegations that "Obama could have done anything he wanted his first two years in office with a Democratic majority in the House and Senate" ignore one plain fact. Reality. Factoring into the mix a large segment of "Blue Dog" (i.e., "conservative leaning") Democrats in the House and, more importantly, a Republican minority in the Senate still large enough to block dozens upon dozens of progressive initiatives with the threat of a filibuster, Barack didn't stand a chance.

So it is that -- as much as I abhor Akin's since rescinded recital on "legitimate rape" and hope Ms. McCaskill trounces him thoroughly in November -- I must salute Todd Akin's unwavering dedication to his beliefs and Mike Huckabee's loyalty in backing same.

Ultimately, the idea of inherent, God-ordained resistance to rape sperm is really no crazier than other right-wing delusions of the day, including demonizing Obamacare, denying the desired destruction of Medicare and Social Security, insisting that "trickle down" still works, stoking the flames of yet another profit-laden Mideast war and, yes, even hoping we can be forced to pretend that an acorn is an oak tree in defining "personhood."

However -- all that doesn't help in determining who -- or what -- ordered "Code Red" on Congressman Akin.

There's an unknown big hand moving our way.

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