Ringside Seat: Breaking the GOP's Still Akin Heart

Republicans learned a number of lessons from the 2012 elections. They learned they need to reach out to Latinos. They learned that younger Americans aren't too fond of them. And they learned a lesson that was summed up in three words: "No more Akins." That would be Todd Akin, the Missouri Senate candidate whose bid was torpedoed when he shared with the voters his colorful views on the likelihood of rape resulting in pregnancy (almost non-existent, he said, if in fact it's a "legitimate rape," because "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down"). There was also, don't forget, the equally gynecologically insightful Richard Mourdock, who opined that if you're raped and become pregnant, "that is something that God intended to happen." One party strategist after another whispered frantically, "Ix-nay on the ape-ray!" to no avail.

But they just can't help themselves. Today, the House Judiciary Committee was debating a bill to make all abortions illegal after 20 weeks, and when Democrats tried to amend the bill to include exceptions for rape and incest, the bill's sponsor, Arizona Congressman Trent Franks said it wasn't necessary, because "the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low." Over at Republican party headquarters, faces were immediately planted in palms. Franks went on: "But when you make that exception, there's usually a requirement to report the rape within 48 hours. And in this case that's impossible because this is in the sixth month of gestation. And that's what completely negates and vitiates the purpose for such an amendment." Try to figure out what that's supposed to mean. That once you've reported a rape, you can't then become pregnant and later need to seek an abortion? It's hard to argue with Gabriel Gomez, the Republican candidate in the race to fill John Kerry's Senate seat, who when asked about Franks' comments, said, "I think that he's a moron."

But the GOP has a seemingly endless supply of not just morons, but morons who think they know a great deal about how ladyparts work and can't wait to share their knowledge with the rest of us, all while working hard to take away women's reproductive rights. And then they act terribly insulted when they're accused of waging a "war on women." Fortunately, the public has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.

So They Say

“Actually, if they willingly knew that this was classified information, I think action should be taken, especially on something of this magnitude. I know that the whole issue of leaks has been gone into over the last month. I think something on this magnitude, there is an obligation, both moral but also legal, I believe, against a reporter disclosing something which would so severely compromise national security. As a practical matter, I guess it happened in the past several years, a number of reporters who have been prosecuted under it, so the answer is yes to your question.”

Representative Peter King, dispensing questionable logic on journalism

Daily Meme: Immigration Overhaul

  • The immigration bill has been more than slightly overshadowed by NSA coverage this week, but things and still movin' and shakin' up on the hill. 
  • But will Congress vote on the legislation before the July 4 recess? Summer, among other things, killed the 2007 bill.
  • And lots of legislators are not ready to commit.
  • Or are determined to water down the reform.
  • Here's an explainer for where the Senate bill currently stands.
  • Obama endorsed the bill, and the White House is in PR mode
  • SEIU and the AFL-CIO are also ramping up support. Overall, immigration-reform supporters are outspending detractors 3-to-1.
  • However, in the places where immigration reform could have the biggest impact, life goes on, with either side hardly paying attention to the other. “National debate doesn’t always take into account the complexities of the people’s situations.”

What We're Writing

  • The government is saying that national security has been compromised by Edward Snowden’s intelligence leaks. But has it? Paul Waldman writes that the government’s argument isn’t too persuasive.
  • Few believe underdogs such as Barack Obama circa 2004 can become president until it happens. So, how’s a Democratic upstart to get to the White House in 2016? Break from Obama, says Walter Shapiro.

What We're Reading

Poll of the Day

For the 45th straight month, more than two-thirds of America disapproves of the way Congress is doing its job. A whopping 78 percent of those polled said they thought Congress was performing poorly, and 59 percent of the total called them out for not being able to solve problems, making gridlock by far the biggest reason voters are upset with legislators.  

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