Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Friday, October 21, 2016

Whenever politics gets stranger than fiction — say, when a grown man talks about things like “legitimate rape” and a woman’s magical sperm zapper — I can’t help but wonder about behind-the-scenes conversations that no one covers.

Take the Todd Akin debacle, for example. He’s the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Missouri.


I know.

Last Sunday, he sat down in a St. Louis television studio equipped with a running camera and working microphones. Nevertheless, he proceeded to have this exchange with reporter Charles Jaco, who asked Akin to explain why he opposed abortion in the case of rape.

AKIN: “Well, you know, people always want to make that one of those things, well, how do ya, how do ya, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question? It seems to me, 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. But let’s assume that may that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be in the rapist and not attacking the child.”

JACO: “OK. Let’s move to the economy.”

OK — let’s move to what?

You’ll notice I added no ellipsis between Akin’s comment and Jaco’s response. That’s because the only thing missing in this exchange is the common sense God gave a goose.

Here’s what I want to believe: Somewhere in that studio, a producer was screaming in Jaco’s little ear-thingee, “Jaco! JACO! Did you hear what he just said? Ask him what he means by ‘legitimate rape.’ Ask him what doctor on planet Earth told him a woman’s body can zap away sperm. For cryin’ out loud, ask him anything that indicates you were actually listening to what he said.”

Surely, a producer, cameraman or even an intern tried to jolt Jaco awake, but the effort was lost to a technical glitch. That’s what I want to imagine, anyway. Instead, I keep seeing that table in the back of the bar. It’s full of high-fiving, right-wing consultants cackling over another member of the mainstream media failed to challenge a ludicrous Republican claim.

“Works every time, man,” one of them shouts as the others laugh. “Just have to keep make ’em scared to death that we’ll call their editors and accuse ’em of liberal bias.”

Something else I’m wondering: How did Mitt Romney go from counseling Akin on Monday to “correct” his statements to demanding on Tuesday that he resign?

I imagine a series of huddles with staffers.

  • Great post! I am sure there was a lot more saucy adjectives used but I bet this was pretty accurate.

    By the way, did you catch Sarah Palin’s take on this whole thing. Not unexpectedly she managed to turn this into a moral tale about HER. At least in the beginning, that is. About halfway through the Susteren interview (where else?) she goes into full word salad mode (ala Couric) making no sense whatsoever. Even gal-pal Greta seemed confused about what she was trying to say. It was pretty hilarious to watch.

    • jarheadgene

      Gonna have to google that one….I love a good laugh, at the GOP Cheerleading Bobble-Head, in the morning…..smells like……..Victory.

    • She was trying to tailgate. Once that was over, her complete lack of understanding revealed itself, yet *again*.

  • There are a lot of bizarre interviews and comments being made that the media seems to be either complicit or afraid to ask tough questions for fear of earning liberal media status. An example involves the GOP new “energy policy” which focuses on authorizing the Keystone pipeline to expedite oil imports, at a time when our dependence on oil imports declined from a high of 60% in 2005 to less than 45% in 2011 as a result of domestic oil production, more efficient vehicles, increased awareness, and the oil boom in the Bakken and Three Forks oil fields in North Dakota. Instead of encouraging increased domestic oil production, more emphasis on alternative energies, better public transportation and other ways to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, the GOP is determined to find ways to increase it! How come nobody is challenging their illogical position on this issue?

    • Personally I think that liberal media thing is simply an alibi. I have seen precious little liberal bias and I suspect this is merely a cover by corporate media for not exposing the conservative fallacies and lies.

      • I agree. Most American media outlets are actually center-right, and they are always careful not to put politicians on the spot by asking them tough questions. If people want to get a taste of real liberal media, subscribe to a European channel…I have, and I must say that, even if we disregard the conservative Vs liberal issue, they tend to offer more world news and specificity on the issues they cover.

        • cmc1026

          What the h**l are you watching? The national media got Obama elected first over Hillary then over McCain. You know, the media like Chris Mathews who gets chills up his leg and ‘almost’ forgot Obama black. If the media went after Obama like it went after Palin he would be done.

    • JackieAllen

      I’ll tell you why! Some folks believe that the earth has unlimited resources, and that
      the earth is capable of ‘fixing’ anything that man can do to destroy the natural world.
      Big oil is not about to admit that it’s money which makes their world go round. NOt
      to worry about the number of species actually going extinct because of our ignorance. Worrying about ‘end times’ and actually believing that this will occur
      soon–and being grateful to see it. I could go on. Logic, reason, common sense, problem
      solving, etc. are silly things. Our nation is chock-alock filled with this kind of
      individual who often times, contributes 0 to society at large. We should be
      falling down on our knees praying to ‘whatever gods may be’, that in our lifetimes,
      we will not be facing extinction, like other living things.

  • howa4x

    What, Mitt change his position? Unheard of.
    If he keeps running from fights and contraversey, how is he going to stand up to all those scary people the Neo-cons talk about? Will he run from the Mullas in Iran when they talk back to him? Can he get tough with anyone? Mitts team would have you believe that he is a stand up guy but he has a tendency to reinvent the past or change the conversation. When Mitt stood in front of all the conservatives and pledged allegience, did he even dream a situation like Akins would come up? So sensing the polls and seeing he is loosing badly with women, he back pedels from the GOP platform, and his own choice of VP, and throws Akin under the bus, and reaches for the etch-a sketch to try an get to the middle by saying he would be for abortion in cases of rape or incest only. I know that this change comes as a shock to many since he opposed it during the primary.(this man has more positions than the Kama sutra)
    He is trying to get off these pesky soical issues but his party keeps dragging him back to make sure he is still one of them. I’m sure Akin thought Mitt had his back covered since he chose Ryan, a man who co sponsored 35 bills in house calling for the very same stances on abortion that he did and even used the term legitimate rape in all of them. Akin is not going to back down and bow out since he thinks he is only saying what every conservative thinks, so the issue will now stay alive, and Ryans past role no matter what they say now stays alive too. It’s like Mitt handed Paul the magic etch-a-sketch and said shake hard man, we have to give you a make over, it worked for me. This is the same scenario in reverse since Mitt was a Massachuttes moderate, and he now turned into a severely conservative canidate, whereas Ryan was a severly conservative house member and Mitt despertly is trying to move him to the middle. Mitt thought by now he would be there too but.. The problem is we live in a media driven world where the past is just a button push away retrieving it from some archive of tape. So every time Ryan tries to move away from the past like magical Mitt does, a C-Span tape pops up showing Ryan giving a speech on the house floor saying all those statements that everyone is condemning Akin for .
    Obama dosen’t really have to say another word, just play the tapes of what these two were, and show what they are tryng to become. It’s like the old acts on early TV where actors would run into a dressing room and come out as somebody else.
    Problem is the issues are too great to have people with no convictions they will stand by, other than trying to win

  • Jed

    A lot of what Romney says reminds me of that song ‘Earth ,Wind and Fire’ put out decades ago with the words, “something happened along the way….”.
    In 2002, when campaigning to be Governor of Massachussetts, he said, “I will fight to defend a woman’s right to choose”. Well, as the song goes,”something………way”.
    The something? The neocons, GOP,Tea Partiers, the religious right.

  • I enjoyed that !!

  • CaptainWes

    He can’t be so pro-Life and against abortion that he would, to the tune of $75M, buy into the company that recycles aborted fetuses into fertilizer. He is, after all, a Capitalist.

  • DurdyDawg

    I’m still wondering.. How can one be pro-life and at the same time be pro-war.. How does that make sense? As far as the media goes, their either pathetic wimps or else they are personally trying to control the election single handedly.. (well, it worked with ‘reefer madness’).

  • JackieAllen

    I have no idea what a ‘liberal media’ is, or looks like. BUt I surely do know what comes
    forth from conservative media outlets. WOW!!! The issue here is how on earth some
    clown can make STUPID statements and then get off ‘scot free’? Here is a man (Akin) who
    has a ‘bible thumping’ degree from some Christian establishment. Whatever else he has
    going for him–but people must wake up as to the brand of people we are sending into
    positions of leadership!! Look at Texas—we’re filled with rednecks, Tea Party nuts,
    and other folks who vote the Akins of the world into office. Being uneducated, ignorant
    of basic scientific knowledge which should be common knowledge,, should frighten people silly. This is just a ‘hint’ of what can come from any religion gone crazy with political


    This is the funniest political article I have read since Molly Ivins passed on. Thanks for the humor. It makes the real more palatable.

  • BlueSpheres

    America amazes me. One party openly supports citizens walking around with automatic weapons. The other party does not. Wouldn’t every American citizen want to to vote for the 2nd party – even if there are 20 other election-year issues? Why is this even a race? I live in the (for-ever) developing world where lack of education or information or poverty among our common citizenry could be blamed for the ill-informed choices that they often make during elections. But in America – where people can read and have enough food to eat every day? Quite bewildering …..

    Btw, Ms. Schultz – thank you for a brilliant article!