I thought it would be a good idea to get this cartoon out of the way quickly, because it’s unlikely this character is going to be around for long.
Congressman Todd Akin has apologized, but he hasn’t been too specific about it. It’s unlikely that the scales suddenly fell from his eyes on the subject of rape, because his kind of Neanderthal attitude wasn’t developed in a day. He’s apologizing because it’s come to his attention that the general electorate in Missouri isn’t as receptive to his worldview as his primary voters were, and the national Republican Party has pulled the plug on his funding.
Establishment members of the GOP, in turn, are lining up to condemn him not because of his beliefs, but because he had the bad form to publicly articulate the line they’ve been peddling—after the primaries are over and during the general election campaign, when ultraconservative dogma has a way of becoming thought-crime. It's hurting the GOP brand.
A demarcation exists between pro-lifers who make exceptions for rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is in danger, and those who allow no exceptions whatsoever. Rep. Akin is in the latter group.
So is Paul Ryan, and this leads one to a fascinating and inevitable conclusion about the man’s character. Presumably, Mr. Ryan came by his position about the sanctity of life out of moral conviction. If given the chance, would blithely pass a national law forcing all women to conform to his beliefs, so convinced is he of his own rectitude. It’s a matter of conscience, and we can grant him that.
Yet, now that he has joined Mitt Romney’s ticket as a vice presidential candidate, he has decided that his rock-solid convictions can take a back seat to the official party line—Mitt Romney’s more moderate line, which allows for exceptions.
It’s nice to know that even the most rabid social conservatives are capable of compromising their beliefs for the sake of expediency. It makes them more…human.
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