Grasping Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

I think the best summary of the Missouri Senate campaign that I’ve seen so far starts with this:

Here’s the thing, if you’re running for the Senate and you have to cut a spot that assures voters that you think rape is bad and you now know that women don’t have a goalie in their vajay-jay to stop sperm in case of “legitimate rape”, you’re in big trouble.

I didn’t think I’d live long enough to see an ad worse than “I’m not a witch” but I was wrong. I regret the error.

I appreciate that the post highlights that this isn’t just about the risk of repeal of Obamacare, losing this seat impacts judicial nominations.

I’ll be honest, as a woman, if I saw Todd Akin’s name on a ballot, I don’t know if I could cast a vote for him even though I realize I would need to strategically in order to see my preferred political outcomes that have nothing to do with abortion become reality. When someone is so out-of-touch that they can’t take a serious look at the issue of a major criminal act, then I don’t believe they should be serving in government. When they are so unbelievably misinformed that they believe there’s some magic switch women can flip when they don’t want to become impregnated during a specific sexual act, well, they shouldn’t have any role in defining education or health policies.

As a female voter, I’m constantly hit with ads telling me that policies dictated by anatomy are ALWAYS AT RISK and that this election will be the one to see my rights DIRECTLY BANNED FOREVER. They stop only slightly short of saying that if a Republican is elected in this country, it will turn into a nation not unlike The Handmaid’s Tale. Needless to say, I tune it out.

Even with that filter in place, Akin’s remarks are simply inexcusable. The things he said aren’t even said in polite company, mostly because polite company probably wouldn’t be able to keep from making faces at the sheer stupidity of his understanding of how reproduction works even if they were left in stunned silence at his dismissal of the impacts of rape.

I truly hope that the women of Missouri get a better candidate later today. With someone like him on the ballot, there can’t be a true debate over the actual issues that women – whether on the right, left, or in the center – might want to discuss when it comes to healthcare and access to services. There won’t be room to make the argument that perhaps taxpayers shouldn’t have to foot the bill to fund everyone’s favorite birth control because with Akin on the ballot, he might just assume that women don’t really need birth control at all since we can apparently just “shut that whole thing down.” It really doesn’t matter what he says now, those will be the arguments that people will hear. And really, is that unbelievable that those arguments might stick with a few folks? It’s less unbelievable than the idea that a 65-year-old father doesn’t know about the birds and bees and wants to make public policy on his misinformation.

UPDATE: I think this is an excellent post from Clayton Cramer on why Akin’s statement just isn’t backed up by data no matter what he claimed as his source. I guess what really disturbs me about that situation is that it’s not just a fundamental knowledge issue, it shows that he’s not remotely serious about his beliefs in order to defend them, and he doesn’t do any basic research at all before taking a position on public policy. Clayton sums it up best:

This is one of the reasons that I try to emphasize to ideologues of all stripes that if you go looking for evidence that backs your position, you will find evidence that backs your position, and you will miss the evidence that doesn’t.

Go read his entire post.

10 thoughts on “Grasping Defeat from the Jaws of Victory”

  1. “Akin’s convenient misconception about pregnancy gave him an easy out when it comes to abortion. He gets to take the tough line on abortion — make it illegal in all cases — but then sooth his guilty conscience by believing some horseshit about women having ways to nonetheless dispose of an unwanted pregnancy. It’s moral cowardice, but I bet you anything Akin thinks he’s a martyr. ”

    From another post on the same blog.

  2. It could be argued that we get candidates like that, thanks to our long history of casting “strategic” votes. It might be worthwhile to sit back and review strategy.

    Really, do I want somewhat like contributing to judicial nominations and confirmations?

  3. With the caveat that most politicians have some policy position that they take without researching it carefully…

    This shows, at best, that Akin hasn’t studied the issue of abortion seriously.

    I’m reminded of Sebastian saying that he likes to study an issue enough so that he can construct an argument to support the opposite side.

    Akin didn’t do this. He thus enabled an event which was the political equivalent of shooting himself in the foot.

    1. An equally important factor is that many religionists will believe whatever is necessary to support their faith, even if it flies in the face of all physical evidence or scientific investigation. I see mostly religionists flying to Akin’s defense.

  4. While I would not want to defend Akin as the best possible choice for the U.S. Senate, he is no worse in going off half-cocked on a subject which he cares strongly about than vast numbers of other politicians. He has doubtless read somewhere (as I have read) that rape seldom leads to pregnancy. It fit with what he deeply wanted to believe, and so he didn’t bother to research it before giving the answer that he gave. If he had even said, “I’ve read that…” it would have been given him an easier out.

    It may be too late for him to retrieve the chances of victory over McCaskill. Our side, unfortunately, has to be way better than the left to overcome the MSM advantage that they enjoy.

  5. Why do people outside Missouri give a rat’s behind? Don’t donate to him.

    But if this means Republicans can make a national issue the next time a Dem threatens race war, well, then maybe it’s worth giving up the seat.

    1. Did you not read the part of this post that highlights the national issues which will be impacted by his loss of a seat that was otherwise up for grabs?

    2. “Why do people outside Missouri give a rat’s behind?”

      Because Akin’s vote on legislation would count just as much as my representative’s vote, from my district of Pennsylvania.

      I used to donate to a national celebrity who was only a representative in the House, on the theory that at least he offset the vote of my own hack in my own district.

  6. When I mentioned what Akin said to my Wife the other day, she nearly had a Fit, then said “Please tell me he’s NOT from Ohio” (where we live). When I assured her that he was from Missouri, she said “Good! I hope that Democrat Senator out there likes the next 6 years in Washington, because any Woman with half a Brain will Vote FOR the Dem just to let the Republican Party know that they need to get Candidates with Brains!”

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