FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Romney-Akin Axis

by BINOY KAMPMARK

If a campaign can self-destruct in an inferno of imbecility, then this must surely provide a good recipe for it.  Aiken’s grasp of reality, at least when it comes to those of the opposite gender, is slim, caricatured and severe.  Enter then, the disastrous move that requires a contrition tour to rival that of Bill Clinton, the antics of Congressman Todd Akin and his remark about “legitimate” rape.

For Aiken, Mitt Romney backer, promoter and slugger, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. [Pregnancy] But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something.  You know, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”

This is familiar territory for Aiken, who is a devotee of that line of thinking that Medicaid funding should be only applied to abortions in cases of “forcible rape”.  He sponsors bills to that effect, and has a coterie of zealous followers.  That rape might itself have its own taxonomy would be remarkable, even for Akin.

Individuals such as Dr. John C. Willke, who promoted the idea in the mid-1980s that rape, given its awe-inspiring brutality doesn’t lead to conception, share the curious pattern of thinking that afflicts the Missouri representative.  For Willke, a woman might well be “uptight” in the face of such a traumatic encounter.  “The tubes,” he has stated rather graphically in a treatise lacking an iota of scientific merit, “are spastic.”  In an article in the Life Issues Connector (April 1999), Willke claims that, “Assault rape pregnancies are extremely rare.” In the lurid figures he proceeds to recount, he finds few conceptions to warrant a mention.  Women, strange creatures, dare not conceive before the invasions of the molesting phallus.

Disturbingly, at least for Romney, Willke was a man who endorsed the Romney campaign for president in 2007, and has, in turn, been embraced by Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association.  The words of the Romney for President Campaign were unstinting in their praise, leaving a trail that must, surely, be making the GOP candidate worried.  “I am proud to have the support of a man who has meant so much to the pro-life movement in our country.” As for Fischer, he will be remembered for organising a revolt against the appointment of Richard Grenell as Romney’s national security spokesman.  The reasons, as are well known, was Grenell’s interests in batting, sexually, for the other side.

To spice the political cooking for the GOP, Akin so happens to be on the House science committee, where he extols the virtues of creationism and suspects those naff conspirators behind climate change.

And, just to make the connection with the Romney camp interesting, Mitt’s running mate Paul Ryan is a snug co-sponsor of the Akin bill limiting Medicaid.  While Akin pits hits paltry wits against the incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill, he is proving to be something of a mad sore in the side of the Romney-Ryan camp.  Even inventive foolishness has its limits.

The gender gap, a curious chasm that characterises discussions about American politics, is immense between Democrats and Republicans.  The gap has been roughly 10 percent in recent times, and it may well have widened with the antics of the Missouri Congressman. Enter, then, the apology tour of the Akin set, propelled by Ryan himself. “I was misinformed and I recognise that,” he told Matt Lauer.  Akin doesn’t do sheepish well and should best retreat.  In time, the Ryan-Romney team may well send him packing for good, wheeling out occasionally for laughs.  As it stands, that’s all Akin is good for.

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email:bkampmark@gmail.com

COMING IN SEPTEMBER

A Special Memorial Issue of CounterPunch

Featuring recollections of Alexander Cockburn from Jeffrey St. Clair, Peter Linebaugh, Paul Craig Roberts, Noam Chomsky, Perry Anderson, Dennis Kucinich, Michael Neumann, Susannah Hecht, P. Sainath, Ben Tripp, Alison Weir, James Ridgeway, JoAnn Wypijewski, John Strausbaugh, Pierre Sprey, Conn Hallinan, James Wolcott, Laura Flanders, Ken Silverstein, Tariq Ali and many others …

Subscribe to CounterPunch Today to Reserve Your Copy

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

Weekend Edition
February 12-14, 2016
Andrew Levine
What Next in the War on Clintonism?
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Comedy of Terrors: When in Doubt, Bomb Syria
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh – Anthony A. Gabb
Financial Oligarchy vs. Feudal Aristocracy
Paul Street
When Plan A Meets Plan B: Talking Politics and Revolution with the Green Party’s Jill Stein
Rob Urie
The (Political) Season of Our Discontent
Pepe Escobar
It Takes a Greek to Save Europa
Gerald Sussman
Why Hillary Clinton Spells Democratic Party Defeat
Carol Norris
What Do Hillary’s Women Want? A Psychologist on the Clinton Campaign’s Women’s Club Strategy
Robert Fantina
The U.S. Election: Any Good News for Palestine?
Linda Pentz Gunter
Radioactive Handouts: the Nuclear Subsidies Buried Inside Obama’s “Clean” Energy Budget
Michael Welton
Lenin, Putin and Me
Manuel García, Jr.
Fire in the Hole: Bernie and the Cracks in the Neo-Liberal Lid
Thomas Stephens
The Flint River Lead Poisoning Catastrophe in Historical Perspective
David Rosen
When Trump Confronted a Transgender Beauty
Will Parrish
Cap and Clear-Cut
Victor Grossman
Coming Cutthroats and Parting Pirates
Ben Terrall
Raw Deals: Challenging the Sharing Economy
David Yearsley
Beyoncé’s Super Bowl Formation: Form-Fitting Uniforms of Revolution and Commerce
David Mattson
Divvying Up the Dead: Grizzly Bears in a Post-ESA World
Matthew Stevenson
Confessions of a Primary Insider
Jeff Mackler
Friedrichs v. U.S. Public Employee Unions
Franklin Lamb
Notes From Tehran: Trump, the Iranian Elections and the End of Sanctions
Pete Dolack
More Unemployment and Less Security
Christopher Brauchli
The Cruzifiction of Michael Wayne Haley
Bill Quigley
Law on the Margins: a Profile of Social Justice Lawyer Chaumtoli Huq
Uri Avnery
A Lady With a Smile
Katja Kipping
The Opposite of Transparency: What I Didn’t Read in the TIPP Reading Room
B. R. Gowani
Hellish Woman: ISIS’s Granny Endorses Hillary
Kent Paterson
The Futures of Whales and Humans in Mexico
James Heddle
Why the Current Nuclear Showdown in California Should Matter to You
Michael Howard
Hollywood’s Grotesque Animal Abuse
Steven Gorelick
Branding Tradition: a Bittersweet Tale of Capitalism at Work
Nozomi Hayase
Assange’s UN Victory and Redemption of the West
Patrick Bond
World Bank Punches South Africa’s Poor, by Ignoring the Rich
Mel Gurtov
Is US-Russia Engagement Still Possible?
Dan Bacher
Governor Jerry Brown Receives Cold, Dead Fish Award Four Years In A Row
Wolfgang Lieberknecht
Fighting and Protecting Refugees
Jennifer Matsui
Doglegs, An Unforgettable Film
Soud Sharabani
Israeli Myths: An Interview with Ramzy Baroud
Terry Simons
Bernie? Why Not?
Missy Comley Beattie
When Thoughtful People Think Illogically
Christy Rodgers
Everywhere is War: Luke Mogelson’s These Heroic, Happy Dead: Stories
Ron Jacobs
Springsteen: Rockin’ the House in Albany, NY
Barbara Nimri Aziz
“The Martian”: This Heroism is for Chinese Viewers Too
Charles R. Larson
No Brainers: When Hitler Took Cocaine and Lenin Lost His Brain
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail