Once upon a time, Republicans tumbled on to a workable strategy to win elections: the politics of personal destruction. The idea was to accuse their enemies of such horrible deeds and conduct that, even if they couldn’t be proven, it would stain the victim’s reputation for decades. This, it turned out, is a vital strategy for the GOP because their policies had become impossible to sell to the public at face value. Better to focus the public’s attention on the (made up) rumored pedophilia of a Democrat than to have to defend more tax cuts for the rich.
This morally bankrupt approach to politics really came into its own when Bill Clinton took office. The right began circulating vicious rumors that would presage the absolute depths they would sink to with the election of the first African-American president in 2008. Of course, that he’s black probably has nothing to do with the loathing they feel for him. Really. But Clinton’s harrowing came first: rumors of secret black helicopters swooping down on unsuspecting patriotic militias, a string of murders and, of course, rape.
It’s true that Bill Clinton is a notorious philanderer and womanizer, but rapist? Let’s say he did have sex with women against their will, according to Todd Akin’s definition of “forcible” or “legitimate” rape, it wasn’t rape at all! The reality is that the one woman who accused Clinton of rape gave opposing statements and had a muddled story corroborated by two women who admitted they had personal vendettas against Clinton. Is Clinton a dick? Yup. Did he abuse his position to get laid. Yup. Did he rape anyone? It’s possible but unsubstantiated in any way so probably not.
On the other hand, did Todd Akin say exactly what he meant? Oh, he most certainly did! Why do you think the right threw him under the bus so fast? Because he said something offensive to women? AHAHAHAHAH! That’s a good one! Hold on, let me catch my breath! WOOOFFF! That sure is funny!
No, they turned on him like a pack of jackals because he broke the cardinal rule of conservative politics: DO NOT SPEAK THE TRUTH ABOUT WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO. Full stop. End of.
Akin said, out loud, precisely what the GOP thinks about women, rape and pregnancy:
“It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it’s really rare,” he said. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”
As has been repeated, ad nauseam, pregnancy by rape is not rare in the slightest (about 5% of rapes result in pregnancy. There is no worldview in which this is rare) and the very idea that a woman’s body would “shut the whole thing down” is not supported by any real science.
But that wasn’t the part which was supposed to remain secret. Republicans mangle science on a regular basis. It’s kind of their calling card. No, the part that set off the firestorm from the right was the phrase “legitimate rape.” The idea that women are whores that have it coming is both widespread and deeply embedded among conservative politicians. It used to be a fringe belief and that is why Republicans rarely spoke out against making exceptions for women who were raped or the victims of incest. These days, the fringe is the mainstream so now? No more exceptions! But how to justify punishing women who have already been violated? Take away their victimization. Redefine “rape” so any woman not physically beaten to the ground wasn’t really raped. This is the bill Akin tried to pass last year. This is what Akin really meant and he did not misspeak in the slightest other than to forget to lie.
Democrats defended Clinton because, even though he was a cheating douchebag, it was obvious that the right was orchestrating the unsubstantiated attacks on him. The Republicans turned on Akin because he told the truth. This sums up everything you need to know about the GOP: they lie all the time. About everything. Nonstop. And easily duped conservatives like LiberalLogic101 will happily carry that water for them. It must be nice to not have to think for yourself…
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