The internets are abuzz today with the news that Todd Akin—the Republican legislator made infamous for describing how legitimately raped women rarely get pregnant (SHUT UP, SCIENCE) in his crazy attempt to justify why pregnant rape victims don't deserve abortion access—won't withdraw from his Missouri Senate race.
Akin says he intends to keep campaigning to represent all of the otherwise disenfranchised, independent voices out there who think the same stupid things he does:
Akin then referred to the potential for his campaign to attract more independent voters. “I’ve been so encouraged by good friends who are closer than brothers, and I realize that there are now a lot of other bravehearts that don’t fit into the political parties exactly,” he said. “I believe there is a cause here, and there is a part of the message that’s missing, and a lot of the people feel left out of the parties.”
By bravehearts I assume he's referring to the state's rapist vote, which no other trailblazer has been brave enough to openly court before.
Meanwhile, Romney and other GOP leaders are publicly urging Akin to just STFU and bow out already, not because they disagree with his position on abortion but because the general public has been uniformly repulsed by Akin's plain speaking. Even as Republicans condemn Akin now for his "indefensible" views, it's important to remember that last year, Republicans tried to redefine rape in order to cut thousands of women off from abortion access.
Republicans also introduced an unprecedented 1,100 provisions restricting abortion access last year, the most extreme of which would have let pregnant women die rather than have an abortion.
And really, Republican legislators have been spreading the offensive rape-victims-can't get-pregnant myth around as "fact" since 1988. Most recently, Romney was proudly endorsed by the same kook who's been linked to Akin's "legitimate rape" claims:
During his 2008 presidential campaign, Mitt Romney welcomed the endorsement of a pro-life doctor linked to Rep. Todd Akin’s widely condemned statement that “legitimate rape” rarely leads to pregnancy.
Which is why all this self-righteous frothing coming from the GOP strikes me as incredibly insincere, and why voters shouldn't swallow it any more than they should Akin's hollow apology.
Personally, I hope Akin stays in the race. His stupidity gives Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill mountains of ammunition for her campaign, while keeping GOP and their gleeful misrepresentation of women's plumbing (and basic sex ed) in the news cycle better than pro-choice activists could on their own. And as the GOP itself is fond of saying, "Never rape a gift horse in the mouth."