By Patrick Martin in the USA:
Akin affair highlights hypocrisy and ignorance in US official politics
23 August 2012
Republican Congressman Todd Akin continued Wednesday to reject demands that he step down as the party’s candidate for the US Senate seat from Missouri, three days after making himself a national symbol of ignorance and bigotry with his declaration that women who were raped were unlikely to become pregnant or need an abortion.
Defending his opposition to abortion even in the case of rape, Akin told a local television interviewer in St. Louis, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” He added that even if pregnancy resulted from such an assault, “the punishment ought to be of the rapist and not attacking the child.”
Akin won a narrow victory in the Republican primary August 7, defeating two equally reactionary candidates, self-funded millionaire businessman John Hovde and former state treasurer Sarah Steelman. The latter had the backing of former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin and much of the Republican Party establishment.
Akin’s remarks Sunday touched off a firestorm of public criticism, much of it from his Republican colleagues. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his choice for vice president, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, both urged Akin to withdraw by a Tuesday 5 p.m. deadline, which would have allowed the state Republican Party to name a replacement for the contest with incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill, who was trailing in the polls against all three potential Republican opponents.
Ryan has been linked to Akin in the House Republican caucus as the co-author of legislation that would redefine rape, creating two categories of the crime, “forcible” (Akin’s “legitimate”) and otherwise.
The Republican National Committee, the Senate Republican Campaign Committee, and the super PAC founded by former Bush White House aide Karl Rove all announced they would withdraw all financial support for Akin, taking an estimated $10 million off the table for the fall campaign.
Missouri Republican Senator Roy Blunt also issued a statement demanding that Akin step down, backed by a quartet of former Republican senators from the state—Christopher Bond, John Danforth, Jim Talent and John Ashcroft, the ultra-conservative Christian fundamentalist who was Bush’s attorney general.
It is evident from this reactionary lineup that the Republicans were concerned not with the position taken by Akin, but with the political uproar and media backlash sparked by his pig-headed ignorance, which have damaged Republican prospects of winning the Missouri seat.
According to the calculations of both big business parties, the Missouri contest is one of a handful that will decide which party controls the Senate, giving it the upper hand on a wide array of legislation, in particular the tax and regulatory issues that are of enormous significance to corporate America.
The Democrats currently hold a 53-47 majority, but must defend 23 of the 33 seats that are up for election November 6. The Republicans must gain at least four seats to win control if Obama is reelected, or three if Romney wins and Ryan, as vice president, becomes the tie-breaking vote.
While the Republican establishment demands Akin’s removal as the party candidate in Missouri, the commission drawing up the Republican Party platform for adoption at next week’s convention in Tampa, Florida approved an anti-abortion position identical to Akin’s.
The commission voted Tuesday for language opposing abortion without exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the mother, as well as backing the claim that a fertilized egg was a “person” under the terms of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, entitling a pinhead of protoplasm to the same legal rights as a human being.
Akin himself seemed to have taken heart from the platform vote as well as support for his continued candidacy by right-to-life groups and the evangelical Christian lobby. In an appearance Wednesday morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” he said he would accede to demands of party leaders that he not attend the Republican National Convention in Tampa but would remain as the candidate.
Asked if he would categorically not change his mind about withdrawing and allow the state Republican Party to seek a court order to appoint a replacement—something which is still possible until September 25—he visibly hesitated, then said, “I’m never going to say everything that could possibly happen; I don’t know the future.”
The Akin affair puts the spotlight on one of the salient facts of modern American politics—the domination of ultra-right elements that have only minimal support in the population, but whose influence on the Republican Party, and through it on the Democratic Party and bourgeois politics as a whole, is inordinate.
Akin, whose father, grandfather and great-grandfather were steel company executives, has called for the abolition of the federal school lunch program and school breakfast program, voted against funding autism research, opposed increases in the minimum wage, and called federal loans for college students “a stage-three cancer of socialism.”
GOP vice presidential contender Paul Ryan declined to explain what is meant by “forcible rape” in abortion legislation he co-sponsored with embattled Rep. Todd Akin: here.
Akin for the Truth: How Are US Religious Fundamentalists Any Different Than Middle Eastern Ones? Here.
Todd Akin, Allen West Lavished Government Money On Staff After Losing Reelection: here.
Todd ‘Legitimate Rape’ Akin no longer sorry he’s a jackass: here.
One Poll Finds Zero Percent Of Blacks Support Romney: here.
Did Romney really have moral qualms about putting Bain’s money into arms manufacturers? Here.
- Rant of the Week – Todd Akin won’t go away (realtalkrealdebate.wordpress.com)
- Todd Akin dogged by his own foot in mouth: Editorial (nj.com)
- Did Mourdock Just Lose the Senate? (commentarymagazine.com)
- The Republican Rape Advisory Chart (alternet.org)
- Todd Akin Likens Claire McCaskill To ‘One Of Those Dogs,’ Fetching Taxes, Bureaucracy (AUDIO) (huffingtonpost.com)
- Todd Akin campaign keeps fundraising numbers under wraps (kansascity.com)
American politics and their consequences are terrifying !
Yes, that is true. Fortunately, there are women’s movements and other counter-forces, also in the USA.
As my gran would have said, “He doesn’t know his arse from his elbow.”
Good job he’s not a violinist…
Talking about violins and right wingers (in this case in the Netherlands, not in the USA), see the cartoon about cuts in arts at
Ryan Budget Facts: Bernie Sanders – U.S. Senator for Vermont
The International Action Center will be marching and urges all progressives to join in with the Coalition to March on the RNC in Tampa, FLA on August 27 marchontheRNC.com! And on September 2, we will join with the Coalition to March on Wall St South wallstsouth.org in Charlotte, NC for a March for Jobs and Justice at the start of the DNC.
Only 4 days until we March on the RNC!
People are flying in, buses are leaving. On August 27th, people will join the Coalition to March on the RNC from around the country to rally in Perry Harvey Sr. Park (1200 N Orange Ave. Tampa, FL 33602) and demand good jobs, healthcare, affordable education, equality, and peace.
We will oppose the Republican and 1% agenda of poverty, war, and hate. We say government money be used for human needs, not wars overseas and corporate greed. With that, we are promoting a People’s agenda where change is possible through action in the streets. The whole world will watch as we March onto the Republican National Convention to say NO to the Republicans and 1 percenters.
We are uniting groups within Tampa and throughout the country, and we will be greeted by different speakers from different movements across the country.
-Aaron Black, from Occupy Wall St.
-Medea Benjamin, from Code Pink
-Leah Bolger, from Veterans for Peace
-Joe Iosbaker, from United Anti-War Coalition
-Ben Carroll, from Coalition to March on Wall St. South
-James Ingle, vice president of IBEW local 1205
-Carlos Montes, prominent leader of the today’s immigrants rights movement
Buses and caravans are leaving from around the country. 3 buses are leaving from New York City, caravans from the Midwest, as well as buses from Miami, Jacksonville and Tallahassee, FL which will be arriving this weekend and on the opening day of the convention. Together, we will demand good jobs, healthcare, affordable education, equality, and peace. On a world stage, we will march into history.
Our stage is set, and our portolets and speaker system have been bought. We have assembled a massive unified Coalition that will gather at Perry Harvey Sr. Park on August 27th. We are developing a great line up of speakers. On the day of the march there will be tables around the park from different groups as well as an Information Hub, located near Scott St. This will be important for protesters, as it will give information on endorsing groups, information on the day and action planned, and serve to answer any questions people may have. With that there are opportunities for volunteering, which can also be found at the Information Hub. For speakers, we ask that they check in at the Media Center.
With only four days away, everything is being finalized in what will be one of the largest protests in Florida’s history. Rain or shine, people will come from around Florida and the rest of the country to say NO to the Republican and 1% agenda.
The Coalition invites everyone to attend the protest on August 27th. We are a broad group uniting everyone against the Republicans and the 1%. Only through unity is there strength, and together we can oppose the Republicans and fight back!
WHAT WE NEED:
With only four days left we still could use money for rain panchos, flyers, banners, and other logistical things for the 27th. Donations can be made by check to the “Coalition to March on the RNC” and sent to PO BOX 5765 Tampa, FL 33675 or made to ourpaypal account:
For groups wanting to have a table at the rally, we need you to register here:
August 27th, 2012, Be at Perry Harvey Sr. Park 10 a.m. Located at 1200 N. Orange Ave. Tampa, FL 33602
Park north of Perry Harvey on the side of the streets if you can, otherwise use this map:
Inline image 1
From 10am to Noon, we will be hearing speakers and groups from around the country: http://marchonthernc.com/organizations.
>From there we march to the Tampa Bay Times Forum to say NO to the Republican agenda. We plan to march through the streets of Downtown Tampa to demand good jobs, healthcare, affordable education, equality and peace. Contingents will be divided into the demands. For labor unions and working families they will march under the good jobs contingent. For others, they will march under their respective demand. After arriving at Protest RNC Square, located at the intersection of Borein St. and Nebraska Ave., we will have a final hour of speakers. Within sight and sound of the convention center, we will promote our People’s Agenda. We will be in front of the whole world to say NO to the agenda of the Republicans, and NO to their 1% corporate backers. We say government money be used for human needs, not corporate greed, nor wars overseas.
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