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Rep. Todd Akin decided not to shut the whole thing down yesterday—he's still running for Missouri Senate (opens in new tab) despite being almost universally panned for his nutso comments on rape and pregnancy, made in an August 19 interview. To recap, his exact words were:
"Well you know, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, well how do you, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. First of all, 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."
Yikes. No wonder why the highest echelons of the Republican party, including Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, have pleaded with Akin to stand down. But, as the old election cliché goes: Democrats fall in love, but Republicans fall in line. The GOP will focus on the win no matter how flawed the candidate, so with the right finesse, Rep. Akin can totes put this all behind him and snag Claire McCaskill's Senate seat. Here's a little advice for Rep. Todd "In-It-To-Win-It" Akin:
Set the record straight. Republicans bristled at the mention of "legitimate rape," but the phrase had a precedent back in 2011: the distinction of "forcible rape" in the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. The offensive phrase was later taken out of the bill, but lucky for the GOP, the incident didn't seem to tarnish any reputations longterm. The bill's co-sponsor, after all, was none other than Paul Ryan. The day after Akin made his comments, he went on Mike Huckabee's radio show and explained (opens in new tab), "I was talking about forcible rape. I used the wrong word." All he has to do is to hammer that home to Republicans who didn't bat an eyelash the first time around.
Find the perfect spokesperson. Now that Akin has explained himself, he'll have to find a woman who's willing to take one for the team, who was sexually assaulted on a date and was totally okay with her non-legitimate—'scuse me, non-forcible rape. Everyone knows rape only counts if a masked man jumps out at you from the bushes, amirite, ladies? Publicly, Akin will have to concede to mainstream biologists that our ladyparts don't, in fact, have special sperm-killing powers while we're getting raped, but he should feel free to surrepticiously hand out that study on magical uteruses that at least one Republican delegate (opens in new tab) is sure exists.
Deflect to the economy. Once Akin has that pesky ladystuff out of the way, he should be laser-focused on the "real issues"—the economy. Because of course money has absolutely nothing to do with sex, and people are tired of hearing about this irrelevant reproductive rights crap, anyway. It's not as if a woman's access to birth control or abortion has any bearing at all on her financial future.Oh wait… (opens in new tab)
Nona Willis Aronowitz is an editor and writer who thinks a lot about love, sex and politics. She tweets at @nona.
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