October 22, 2012 by Nash Riggins
Missouri Congressman Todd Akin has once again put his trivial, chauvinist ideologies on display after referring to his female opponent as a “dog”.
Mr Akin, who has served Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District in the House of Representatives for 11 years, continued his tumultuous, self-destructive bid for a seat in the US Senate at a fundraiser in Springfield, MO on Saturday, where he made his latest gauche remark.
“She goes to Washington, D.C. It’s a little bit like one of those dogs – ‘fetch’ – she goes to Washington, D.C., and gets all of these taxes and red tape and bureaucracy and executive orders and agencies and brings all of this stuff and dumps it on us in Missouri,” Mr Akin said of his opponent, female incumbent Claire McCaskill. “It seems to me that she’s got it just backwards. What we should be doing is taking the common sense we see in Missouri and taking that to Washington, D.C., and blessing them with more solutions instead of more problems.”
To be fair, Mr Akin didn’t exactly come out and call Senator McCaskill a bitch – even the angriest of feminists would be forced to admit that clearly wasn’t the context of his poorly constructed analogy. Yet if the last three months of the aspiring Senator’s campaign have shown America anything, it’s that the offensiveness of Akin’s statements are not so much a matter of context, but rather a matter of the conviction with which the statements are made.
Mr Akin’s first illustration of his trivial convictions was aired in August 2012, when he was asked if his firm pro-life stance on abortion allowed for any exceptions, such as rapes that result in pregnancy. Akin infamously answered as follows: “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.”
Cross-party condemnation justifiably ensued. Indeed, the majority of Republican politicians called for Akin to withdrawal from the race, and some even called for him to stand down from his seat in the House of Representatives – after all, the man serves on the House Committee for Science, Space and Technology.
Akin was swift to apologise by saying that he “misspoke”; however, the damage had clearly already been done. On a side note, Mr Akin might be interested to know that over 32,000 pregnancies in America are caused by rape every year; that being said, more trivial still was the subsequent poll by SurveyUSA, which reported that 13% of Missouri adults agreed with Akin’s unscientific assertion, whilst 11% were unsure what to believe.
It would have been wise of Mr Akin to end his drivel there; however, the Republican candidate has unfortunately since continued to flex his scientific-prowess. Only weeks after stating his nonsensical opinions surrounding what constitutes “legitimate rape”, Akin went on to state that the morning-after pill should be outlawed, because it is a scientific equivalent to abortion. Yet once again, Mr Akin apparently lacks a clear fundamental understanding of just what it is he’s against. After all, the morning-after pill contains the exact same hormones found in birth control pills, and merely utilises said hormones to a much higher capacity – that is to say, the pill does not terminate a pregnancy, but simply delays ovulation in order to avoid pregnancy.
Since then, Akin has continued to shoot himself in the foot whilst courting Missouri’s female vote. After his first debate against incumbent Claire McCaskill, Mr Akin joked that she did not act very “ladylike,” and has aggressively defended his vote against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act – a bill which aimed to ensure that women are paid more competitive salaries in the workplace. In fact, not even Akin’s wife Lulli has been able salvage a single female vote from amongst the extensive damage her husband has done.
Last month, Mrs Akin tactlessly continued her husband’s evocation of rape by asserting that the way in which her husband is being condemned by other politicians for his statements equated to acts of forced sexual intercourse that occurred in the eighteenth century.
“Party bosses dictating who is allowed to advance through the party and make all the decisions – it’s just like 1776 in that way,” she said. “[They] rose up and said, ‘Not in my home, you don’t come and rape my daughters and my … wife. But that is where we are again.”
While this remark falls about thirty yards short of making any sense whatsoever, it may have encouraged Republican Mike Huckabee – one of Todd Akin’s few remaining friends – to throw Saturday’s fundraiser in an effort to get Akin’s campaign back on track. Yet as always, Mr Akin’s refusal to regulate the words that emerge from his abnormally large mouth have reduced Mr Huckabee’s efforts to naught.
On the one hand, it’s great to know that there is indeed one politician in America who is brave enough to say exactly what’s on his mind – indeed, how are people ever to elect a fitting representative without knowing that individual’s deepest convictions? Yet on the other hand, it should be duly noted that the impulsive sharing of one’s personal beliefs is not nearly as effective when those beliefs are 100% scientifically false.
Even if voters were able to overlook Todd Akin’s blatant misconceptions surrounding women’s health, in what 21st century legislative body should room be made for a man so prone to pompous displays of male chauvinism? With any luck, Mr Akin will choose to disappear from the limelight after 6 November and have a long, hard think about women’s rights, medical science and how to think before he speaks. Yet if Todd Akin has taught us anything since August, it’s that he is anything but lucky, and the stubbornness of his Dark Age science will no doubt continue to represent 13% of Missourians for many years to come.