Rep. William Todd Akin made remarks that make him unfit and unelectable for the Missouri Senate campaign.
He now famously stated, regarding the possibility of pregnancy resulting from rape, “It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”
He has claimed that he got rhetorically confused:“I used the wrong words in the wrong way, and for that I apologize…[the error] was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold.”
Let’s concede that his language got balled up, which, parenthetically, I don’t believe, save the mistake of using the word “legitimate” instead of “actually a sexual assault.”
If he now says he does not believe that authentic sexual assault is less prone to cause an unwanted pregnancy, that is a direct contradiction of the sentiment of the original statement.In complex Rhetorical Theory, we call that a “lie.”
It would take a monumental – perhaps uniquely monumental – self-obsession, and a wrong-headed self obsession at that, since this is not in his long-term interest, to stay in the race.
Rep. Akin has brought up the hoary cliché, “I’m not a quitter” (Richard Nixon looks good by comparison with his usage);that is apparently the level ofAkin’s sophistication.
Akin’s opponent, Sen. Claire McCaskill , wants him to stay in the race – of course: she wants to win, and if she loses, she doesn’t care about the governing quality of the winner.Few politicians do, to their patriotic shame.
All serious Republicans have urged Akin to step aside, as he has lost the financial backing and good will of all good conservatives.
Before the end of today, Rep. Akin – there is no up-side to remaining in the race, for you or Republicans or the country.
Professor Vatz teaches political rhetoric at Towson University and is author of The Only Authentic Book of Persuasion(Kendall Hunt: 2012, 2013)