Rep. Todd Akin is awesome. I mean in that in the literal way: The Missouri GOP Senate nominee is deserving of awe. I, for one, stand in awe of his ability to produce not one but a steady stream of bizarre—dare I say ungentlemanly?—comments. And I'm not simply talking about your garden variety, 'abortion doctors are terrorists' wing-nuttery. I'm talking about high quality, "Is it Akin, or is it The Onion?" type stuff.
The latest is, technically, not new. It's from a speech he gave on the House floor in 2008 condemning the aforementioned abortionist-cum-terrorists. Slate's Amanda Marcotte flagged it in a piece yesterday illustrating that Akin has a long history of fringe commentary about women and abortion.
Here's the relevant section (emphasis added):
You find that along with the culture of death go all kinds of other law-breaking: not following good sanitary procedure, giving abortions to women who are not actually pregnant, cheating on taxes, all these kinds of things, misuse of anesthetics so that people die or almost die. All of these things are common practice, and all of that information is available for America.
Put aside the fact that, as Marcotte noted, the unsanitary, dangerous conditions are the ones Akin would have women return to by pushing abortions into the proverbial back alley.
Abortions for women who are not actually pregnant? What's next? Forced abortions for men? There's got to be a video clip of him somewhere raising the prospect of government cooperation with space aliens trying to impregnate human females (question: Would that count as legitimate rape?).
As Steve Benen writes today on the Rachel Maddow blog, "It's not unreasonable to wonder whether Todd Akin is some kind of liberal performance artist, making a statement about the absurdities of modern conservatism." Or as Comedy Central's Indecision blog, which didn't even have to make anything up to be funny, headlined: "Todd Akin Is So Pro-Life, He Opposes Abortion in Cases of Non-Pregnancy."
Of course this is only the latest Akin gem, following on his denunciation of Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill as comporting herself in an insufficiently "ladylike" manner during a recent debate. And of course Akin would still be a little known prospective senator but for his comments that people who suffer "legitimate rape" don't get pregnant.
So yeah, Akin remains a joke and a bad one. But his actually ascending to the Senate would be the worse kind of unfunny joke—and incredibly it's still very possible—especially with Republicans and their allies closing ranks behind him.