Republican Congressman and Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin is only guilty of saying what the Republican Party officially thinks.
Akin's since-apologized-for remark about "legitimate rape" was mind- bogglingly offensive and betrayed an ignorance of science remarkable even for a red-state Republican. But it was the casual, offhand, everybody-knows-this tone that Akin employed that so alarmed his party's bigwigs.
For many years, the GOP has been playing a dangerous, deceptive, and dishonest game: pretending to be populist and mainstream, while in fact successfully staging a radical, corporate-sponsored revolution that poleaxed the middle and working classes, punished the poor, and rewarded only those with inherited wealth or big paychecks.
That, in part, is what the culture wars have been all about: a diversion, a ploy financed by the likes of the Koch brothers to rile up the yahoos and rednecks; to get the white, Christ-fearing public all worried about people with dark skin and those crazy gays; and to warn apple-pie-eating moms and dads about the dangers of birth control and the likes of Planned Parenthood, who, after all, aim to abort America right out of existence.
Frankly, the American public — or at least a large enough swath of it — has been sufficiently gullible or uninformed in recent years to fall for it.
But Akin's crackpot rape comment has served as an alarm, a warning to the independent voters who will determine the outcome of November's national election that the inmates are about to take over the asylum. Akin voters interpret freedom of religion to mean the right to believe what Christian fundamentalists tell you to believe; they want most birth control to be considered premature infanticide, and all abortion first-degree murder.
Women between 18 and 35 should be especially alarmed. That generation has been able to take for granted their right to choose; now, they should be able to see that the threat to eliminate it is real. That's a good reason to vote against Romney and his ilk.
In fact, that is exactly what has Karl Rove so worried; he fears the jig may be up.
While the Republican establishment were busy calling for Akin to bow out of his senate race, the GOP platform committee meeting in Tampa, Florida, in advance of the party's national convention were approving a party platform calling for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion — with no exceptions for cases of rape or incest.
Akin is no renegade. He is the embodiment of today's Republican Party.
It was an act of unbounded hypocrisy (although self-serving political expediency) for Rove and Mitt Romney to attempt jawboning Akin.
Though not too long ago a supporter of a woman's right to choose, Romney may now favor a rape, incest, and welfare-of-the-mother exception to the Republican's big-daddy, no-abortion platform plank. But his running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan of Minnesota, was a sponsor of national personhood legislation. Personhood is the idea, the crude belief, that life begins at conception. (Arizona has gone one step further, legislating this year that life begins two weeks before conception.)
This is the very stuff that Akin lives and breathes and that once — during the Mississippi primary — Romney himself flirted with. Think Bill Clinton, smoking but not inhaling.