Anti-Abortion Crowd Blames Media, Tells Akin: Do Better PR.
The anti-abortion crowd, lying at the bottom of the moral heap after Todd Akin’s outrageous comments about rape, has tried to climb up in two ways. First, it’s been blaming the media, which is a favorite whipping post. And second, it’s been chiding Akin (and other anti-abortion politicians) to do better PR.
The first sentence of a press released by the National Right to Life Committee after the controversy broke consisted of a quote from the group’s president, Carol Tobias:
"The mainstream news media is once again demonstrating its eagerness to use any excuse to portray a Republican presidential ticket as out of the mainstream on abortion, while ignoring the truly extreme positions taken by the pro-abortion candidate -- this year, President Obama.”
The press release continued: “The mainstream news media is again busy ginning up stories exploring the outer parameters of the abortion-related policy positions of pro-life Republican candidates.”
The “outer parameters”? It’s clear that the largest anti-abortion group in the country does not want to have a debate on whether a woman who has been raped has the right to an abortion. It’s whole press release extenuates on the subject, even trying to backpedal for Paul Ryan.
“Much has been made of Congressman Paul Ryan's cosponsorship of the "Sanctity of Human Life Act" (H.R. 212),” the press release says. “This resolution-like bill affirms the general principle that every individual member of the species homo sapiens should be recognized as a human being. It does not contain any prohibition of anything, or any penalty for anything.”
Other anti-abortion advocates took the tack that Akin was just being clumsy.
Pat Robertson said Akin’s comment was “dumb,” but said Republicans should stop acting like they are in a “circular firing squad” and should support Akin. “So he screwed up,” said Robertson. “He made a dumb remark.”
Phyllis Schlafly said: “They’re making a big thing about an unfortunate remark.”
Erick Erickson said, “I’ll take Todd Akin’s inarticulate remarks over an infanticide supporter any day of the week.”
Gary Bauer did not defend Akin. “The Republican Party of Missouri is among the most conservative in the country, and according to one recent poll 64% of self-identified Republicans disagreed -- and 51% strongly disagreed -- with what Akin said,” he said.
And Bauer was apoplectic that anti-abortion politicians like Akin can’t get their script down. “What is so breathtaking to me is why our candidates make these kinds of errors,” he said. “If you believe in no exceptions on abortion and if you are running in a critical Senate race, you have to be prepared to deal with the worst possible questions, because they will come up. It's not fair, but Republicans only get one strike and they are out.”
Trevin Wax, managing editor of the Gospel Project, even provided a model script, replete with canned sympathy for the rape victim.
I’m not sure Akin has got the message yet, though.
“We’re created by God for some special purpose,” he told Mike Huckabee when announcing his decision to stay in the race.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story “The Koch-Adelson Ticket."
Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter
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