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Todd Akin at rally, sign says
On Sunday, many of us were worried that Todd Akin would "get it" and drop out. We understood both that his statements were incredibly offensive and why they were. The Republican base and the evangelical part of that base may get that his statements were offensive but do not get why. That's why it was safe to be gleeful about Akin. Understanding this dynamic (the sign in the picture is a clue) will allow us to peel off independents and moderates from the Republicans' grasp both now and in the future. More below the orange squiggle of power.

Update: I changed the title due to a commenter's suggestion. This is really about the mindset of the entire GOP and Akin is just an example.

First consider Akin's apology:

This was the "morphed" apology. The original apology was as follows:

"I misspoke one word in one sentence on one day."
Here's the original statement with the word Akin with the word he is referring to bolded. Everything is intended and not considered by him a gaffe.
"It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child."
In Akin's mind what was offensive was that rape would be legitimate or OK. Note how Brian Fischer also focuses on this word.

"What Todd Akin is talking about is a case of real, genuine rape."
What they think we find offensive is that they appeared to justify rape, calling it "legitimate" -- that's true but it's not the half of it. So, Akin and both his defenders and Republican detractors think this is the only thing offensive about his statement. OK, the saner of his detractors realize his "science" is really bizarre and creepy.

Note how they still focus on the "one word" meme and try to make themselves like Jesus.

All of us realize what is even more offensive is the accusation that women would make up that they were raped in order get an abortion. They just assume the "real" reason is much more nefarious.  They also tie it back to the original Roe v. Wade case where Norma McCorvey supposedly used rape as an excuse to get the case tried. Pro choice women were just like their "mother" Eve who deceived her husband.

You can see how my interpretation is correct by seeing the followup explanation to Dana Lausch:

AKIN: You know, Dr. Willke has just released a statement and part of his letter, I think he just stated it very clearly. He said, of course Akin never used the word legitimate to refer to the rapist, but to false claims like those made in Roe v. Wade and I think that simplifies it….. There isn’t any legitimate rapist…. [I was] making the point that there were people who use false claims, like those that basically created Roe v. Wade.
Both Todd Akin and I have served as ruling elders in the PCA denomination. We have to take an oath to subscribe to the Westminster Standards. In the Westminster Larger Catechism is a prohibition against the imputation of motives because it violates the Ninth Commandment. This imputation of motives is not limited to Todd Akin or to the issue of abortion. Both the Republican candidates and its Religious Right base do it all the time.

Simply put, Republicans in general and the Religious Right in particular do not trust the American people. People who are pro choice do so because they are "sluts". Scientists who warn about global warming are elitists and are enriching themselves with government grants. African Americans and "illegals" are impersonating "real" voters. In contrast, the Apostle Paul notes in 1 Corinthians 13 that perfect love "bears all things, trusts all things, hopes all things." The Apostle John says that "perfect love casts out all fear". The Westminster Larger Catechism in condemning the imputation of motives cites Nehemiah 6 where Nehemiah's enemies who were imputing motives to Nehemiah were just making things up.

Oftentimes, we get stuck in the minutia of policy and such. The imputation of motives is at the root of our divided American heart. Even if the specific policies of a candidate may be more "moderate" if you vote for a Republican you empower hate and division in this country. This whole issue can be summarized (and sold to independents) as follows:

Republicans: they don't trust you. You shouldn't trust them.

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Comment Preferences

  •  You got the title a bit wrong (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rblinne

    It should have read, "The Twisted Minds of the GOP."

    A thief thinks everybody else is a thief; a liar thinks everybody else is a liar; and a Republican thinks everybody else is as selfish and heartless as they are.

    by rubyduby7 on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 08:35:12 AM PDT

  •  Besides all of the other things he said that were (0+ / 0-)

    just awe-inspiringly horrid, I found his use of the term 'that whole thing' dismissive and insulting.

    Implying that some rapes must be okay, that women lie, that woman should not be trusted with their own bodies, that their betters (rich white men) should make decisons for them all show the contempt these people have for women.

    I think 'that whole thing' shows how willfully ignorant he is of human biology and especially the female half of it.

    Thank you for the diary, I knew about but hadn't applied the imputation of motives to this situation.

  •  This whole "misspoke" thing has been (0+ / 0-)

    misinterpreted.

    He was supposed to lie. He did not, instead revealing what he really felt, thinking, perhaps, that what he believes is a lot more commonly accepted than it really is. He totally doesn't get that part, because he's surrounded himself with like-minded people for so long, he thinks that hardly anyone out there could really disagree with the concept of there being different levels of rape. That most reported rapes are just sluts lying after having changed their minds, that most women who claim to have been raped didn't even bother fighting back to defend their virtue, which they should have been willing to die over.

    •  He was supposed to lie but he was deluded (0+ / 0-)

      Akin did not surround himself with people like that it's simply organic. It was what he lived and breathed amongst the home-schoolers in the Kirk of the Hillls church in St. Charles. By isolating from the greater society their fear fills in the blanks that experience would have corrected.

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