I hesitate to say anything at all about the one and only Vice-Presidential debate of 2012 which happened last Thursday. Full disclosure: I was sloppy drunk while watching it, and I missed some of it while moving among rooms for reasons I don’t need or care to elaborate. I took some notes of what I could hear while many of us were talking over it at an impromptu viewing party that changed venue twice, but they’re mostly illegible. So I’m about to phone this in and I recommend you just stop reading right now. Really. There’s a lot of porn on this internet thing, and if for some reason that isn’t your bag, there are pictures of cats too. So a lot to do. Then again, maybe Biden and Ryan will kiss?
I was surprised at first by the ferocity and duration of the controversy surrounding Missouri Rep. and Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin’s embarrassingly boneheaded remarks about the female reproductive tract’s alleged powers of discernment. The excoriations you’d expect to hear in response to an aging white male wax scientific about “legitimate rape” have been in ample supply from both parties. Even the insufferable Sean Hannity called his comments “a terrible mistake” on his show Tuesday night, and the next co-president of the United States, Mittens Romney, earlier that day called upon Rep. Akin to leave the race.
But then I got to thinking about why this is such a huge flap. Why should anyone be surprised that a republican has some seriously backward views? Obviously his comment about rape was as stupidly incorrect on the facts as it was ignorantly dismissive of the horrors, but stunning ignorance is a stock-in-trade of the modern republican party. I guess that’s the point really: Akin’s mumbling struck a nerve precisely because he’s again revealed the ugly truth of the far-right pro-lifers which have increasingly become the standard bearers of the republican mainstream. They’re so tragically or willfully misinformed in order to cling to their manifestly bogus stance on reproductive rights that it was inevitable one of them would detonate a land mine on camera sooner or later.
What’s really interesting (read: disgusting) is how transparently political the fallout has been.