It is not Dishonorable to be Honorable

Chris Johnson, whom Donald has labeled as Defender of the Faith, sums up my feelings on the Todd Akin affair both here and here. Darwin also has an eminently sensible take. Meanwhile, Akin continues to labor under the delusion that he can still defeat Senator McCaskill this November, bolstered by this preposterously over-Republican sampled poll showing that he maintains a one point lead. Evidently his idiocy extends to issues beyond rape.

What’s remarkable is that a hefty proportion of conservatives are calling for Akin to withdraw. When Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Ann Coulter and (kinda sorta) Rush Limbaugh are all urging you to get out of the race, it’s a sign that it’s not just establishment “RINOs” that have turned against you.

Now I do also think that Levin and our own Bonchamps make good points about Democrat hypocrisy on this issue. That said, those few who continue to defend Akin are relying on the most obnoxious tu quoque strategy in order to justify Akin’s continued presence in the Missouri Senate race. Chris and Dana Loesch have been Akin’s most ardent supporters on twitter. They haven’t necessarily defended his statement, but they have insisted that because Democrats say and do much viler things, and because leftists tend to rally around those Democrats who say and defend stupid things, it’s wrong for conservatives and Republicans to insist that Akin get out. They argue that conservatives opposed to Akin are being cowards who are chickening out in the face of Democrat aggression.

First of all, I would argue that the more cowardly and politically weak-minded thing to do is to essentially cede what should be a fairly easy pick-up for Republicans. More importantly,  blind partisan loyalty is not a virtue to be emulated, and the proper response to gutter politics is not to get in the gutter with your opponents.

Let’s take a look at two comments left on Bonchamps’ post.

Yes women get pregnant from rapes. No your body doesn’t shut that down. If a man ejaculates semen into a woman, she can get pregnant whether it’s consensual or it’s rape. I knew a woman who did indeed get pregnant after being gang raped. It happens. Apparently you folks think rape is a joke. Hardy har.

This was downright erudite in comparison to this one:

i hope all of you get raped and then you can feel what it is like, bunch of hypocrites

If you read the comments on Congressman Akin’s facebook page announcing that he is staying in, you’ll see comments from conservatives supporting him, comments from conservatives politely asking him to step down, and comments from unhinged leftists who think that Akin’s comments are a sign that he and all Republicans want women shackled and subservient. Twitter is alive with comments from the likes of Michael Moore:

Don’t let the Repubs paint Akin as a lone nut. HE is THEM. They all believe this: Gov’t MUST have control over what women do w/ their bodies

This is a sentiment that has been echoed in various corridors.

There’s really no charitable way to put it: these people are obviously out of their gourd. These are people not interested in dialogue, nor or they people who can be reasoned with. Yet these are types of people that Akin supporters, in a sense, want to emulate. Instead of being reviled by the viciousness or ruthlessness of the hyper-partisans on the left, some on the right are consumed with the idea of “fighting fire with fire.”

Don’t get me wrong. The Akin supporters (by and large) have not said anything nearly as dumb or vile as these people. Yet instead of recognizing the behavior of the other side as something anti-social and to be avoided, it’s as though certain conservatives see this, dig in their heels, and insist on playing a somewhat milder version of the same game.

A lot of the people on the right behaving like that think that they are simply following in the path of the late Andrew Breitbart. Breitbart, of course, was largely beloved on the right because of his take no prisoners attitude, and because he had an amazing ability to beat the left at their own game. But there’s a difference between sticking to your guns and blind partisan loyalty. I can sympathize with individuals who believe that Republicans are too soft at times and easily back down from political fights. Yet, I don’t think it’s a bad thing that Republicans actually are willing to hold other Republicans’ feet to the fire. In other words, there is nothing dishonorable about being honorable. I don’t think blind partisanship is something we need more of.

16 Responses to It is not Dishonorable to be Honorable

  • Logical reasoning is not the strong suit of leftists nor Todd Akin apparently. Does he not recognize that his statement essentially says that if a woman is raped and gets pregnant she must not have been stressed out? If she’s not stressed out it’s a short step to saying she must have liked it. This is the same ballpark as that Repub opponent and loser to Ann Richards in Texas who made some buffoonish comments himself about this subject.

    I must say that Dem oppo research is light years beyond Repubs. The Dems knew apparently that Akin was a loose cannon and made a wonderful patsy for the Dems even before the primary vote. Repubs in Missouri were clueless though. Are the Repubs ready this fall for the little surprises that the Dems have ready? I doubt it.

  • Claire McCaskill wants him to run. She considers him a wounded bird now and is ready to squash him.

  • I don’t want to get unhinged in denouncing Akin either. That’s something else I’ve been seeing as well from some on the conservative side.

    He made a terrible blunder, yes. He should quit the race, yes.

    But what he was trying to say was not the monstrously evil thing that the hysterical left is making it out to be. It shouldn’t have been said a) because it has NOTHING to do with the morality of abortion and b) the man obviously cannot articulate these finer points of anatomy.

    I’m not going to look at the man as an evil villain.

  • Well to be fair, what the democrats are usually defending is far more egregious than some politically incorrect use of terminology. In other words its usually the result of either criminal or immoral behavior on the part of the dem.

    If we as conservatives want him to step down then it should be to the extent that the severity of the offense requires stepping down as a matter of justice or prudence.

    That being said conservatives can be their own worst enemies because of the tendency to have our own fall on the sword for what is hardly a “legitimate” capital offense.

  • ” Does he not recognize that his statement essentially says that if a woman is raped and gets pregnant she must not have been stressed out? If she’s not stressed out it’s a short step to saying she must have liked it. ”

    No, you see, people who think this is what he said are the ones who lack logical reasoning abilities. People are reading absolutes into what he said, when he used words and phrases to indicate that he believed rape pregnancies were rare, but still possible. COULD he have meant “she must not have been stressed out”? Maybe, but I doubt it. I don’t think he ever insisted that stress = no pregnancy 100% of the time or even implied it. In any case, we simply don’t know what he meant at that moment.

    My hunch: he was trying to say that he didn’t believe that rape pregnancy happened often enough to justify the constant invocation of the “hard cases” (of which rape is one) to support legalized abortion. It is common knowledge that the vast majority of abortions are not performed on rape victims – anywhere between 97-99%, from what I have read.

    He didn’t need to get into this issue to simply say that abortion is never justifiable, no matter what the circumstances.

  • I agree, Bonchamps. I think part of what is driving the angst against him is sheer frustration. He made comments that harm the pro-life cause politically, and he seems unable and/or unwilling to put personal political ambition aside for the good of the country. But his comments were merely stupid, and not indicative that he personally hold odious political views.

  • If the Missouri re-elects McCasKILL babies and America re-elects Soetoro, leader of the choom gang, it will tell us more about Missouri and America than about the two hate-filled liars.

    Abandon hope.

  • It’s one thing to make a stupid comment – and what Akin said was very, very stupid. What does it say about women who were raped and made the courageous decision to have the baby? Are you going to tell them they weren’t “really” raped? It’s that he became stubborn and prideful and mistakes his stubbornness for principle. And Akins doubled down on stupid during his interview with Hannity today. He said he honestly didn’t know that women could get pregnant via rape. What, did he think sperm need a signed consent form? I’m as pro-life as anybody, but what Akins did not only hand our enemies ammo, he gave them an tank division. His comments play into all the worst stereotypes people have of pro-lifers: that they are ignorant bible-thumpers who are “anti-science” and that they are insensitive toward women. And now he apparently believes God gave him a mission to lead the country. No, where this could lead to is the Dems keeping control of the Senate, even if Romney is elected. Obamacare stays and what chances do those future to-be-aborted babies have then?

    I’m not saying he should have abandoned his principles – but you can state them without stepping in it like he did. And saying “But look at what Dem pols get away with” won’t work either. We’ve been pointing out the hypocrisy for years – it doesn’t stop them because the media shields and protects Dems and savagely exploits any GOP gaffes (just ask Sarah Palin). They are working hard to present Akin as “the face of the Republican Party.” While I pray that most voters will see though that, some gulliable idiots may be swayed – and if they are in swing states, that might be enough.

    I still think the wind is at our backs and remind myself that it is still August, not October. This might not be a fatal error, but it was a big unforced one, in a race we should have won in a walk, and I’ve felt as angry at Akin all day as I felt at John Roberts when the SCOTUS ruling on Obamacare came down – 2 men who might end up dragging the country down because of their own egos.

  • This whole episode is interesting to me. Akin makes an incorrect statement in reliance on material published by pro-life forces that proves to be wrong (apparently). Thus he accidentally embarrasses himself, his party and the pro-life movement. Instead, of making the best of it by removing himself from the race he insists on staying in. Understandable but selfish — or at least insufficiently selfless. This I understand. I also understand the Dems grabbing the opportunity to take profoundly unfair (and weird) inferential liberties with his statement to render it callous rather than simply mistaken. But Donna V?

  • Mike: I am not saying he is callous (although he is certainly ignorant of biology). What I said that that he will be portrayed by libs as someone who doesn’t care about women, because that is the charge they always made, and his words can very easily be twisted to look that way. Like I said, if you are saying someone who was raped can’t get pregnant, how do you think a woman who has been through the terrible experience of rape and DID get pregnant and DID have the baby feels to be told she must have consented in some way or she would not have conceived? Sure, he may have meant well, but no amount of spin or explaining is going to make that comment acceptable.

    Perhaps in a normal election year, he could have apologized and gotten away with that. But this is NOT a normal election year. The balance of power in the Senate determines the fate of Obamacare. If he had recognized that and stepped down, I would think of him as an honorable man. But instead, pride and ego has driven him to compound his error and possible disaster may result – disaster not only to the people of Missouri, but to the people of the United States.

    Well meaning people can do terrible things, Mike. And politicans who assure themselves that only they and they alone can do the Lord’s work scare me.

  • Honorable to allow that a controversy from error make room for someone the people in Missouri want to speak for them.

    Dishonorable that the President saw this as an opportunity to have something to say to his Press Corps after many weeks away from them.

    Dishonorable that the tolerance the liberal democrats demand does not include those who have different moral standards.

    Dishonorable that mudslinging has become the form of communication for liberal democrats to the detriment of citizens, young and old, here and abroad.

  • Also, if I may add, I believe life begins at conception and that is true whether the baby was conceived during a rape or not. I do not fault Akin’s stance on that. But – Lord, if they announced tomorrow that all abortions EXCEPT those conceived through rape and incest were illegal, I would be doing handsprings, not because I don’t care about the babies conceived via rape and incest, but because the number of abortions in this country would be reduced by 99%.

    The number of pro-life Americans are growing – but they define themselves as “pro-life” in different ways. Most people feel disgust at the thought of late-term abortions, other people would ban abortions past the first trimester and require parental notification of underage children seeking abortions. Yet, we still live in a country where babies can have their brains sucked out a day before the due date and 16 year olds who can’t buy beer legally yet are getting their second abortion. It is the replusion with that that (I believe) the pro-life movement needs to tackle first. Many people who hate the thought of late-term abortions say they’re OK with abortion in the case of rape and incest. They’re wrong, but let’s go after the areas in which there is broader agreement first, before we jump to the rape and incest question. This is a battle of hearts and minds, and it is really stupid to jump into what is, for many, the thorniest, more difficult part of the abortion debate before while the aspects of abortion that are more obviously wrong and evil to the “squishy middle” continue unabated.

    Let me use an analogy to slavery. If you traveled in a time machine back to 1850 and found yourself in a Northern town, you would find quite a few people who would agree with you that slavery is terrible and should be against the law. A smaller group would agree that “black people are humans like us.” An even smaller group would agree that “blacks are as intelligent as whites.” And very few would agree that “blacks should be able to be doctors and lawyers and should be able to marry white people.” Even very liberal whites in the 1850’s would have had a very difficult time with that – not because they were evil, but because they were creatures of their times, just as the “squshy middle, not against abortion in all cases” people are products of our time. So, you start with “Slavery is evil” and go from there. That’s not a denial of the fact that blacks can be equals in all ways, or that even products of rape and incest are humans deserving of life – it’s a recognition of where public opinion was (and is) at this point in time.

    Gee, will somebody let me know if I’m making sense here? ;-) I feel I’ve expressed myself so clumsily.

  • You are doing fine. I got your point and that’s what counts. Now to react,….

    1. Know that you are right. Life begins at conception. That is not debated or debatable. It is a scientific fact. And a moral certainty. On that point the argument is complete and robust. The rest follows in fairly straightforward logical fashion.

    2. How to make progress toward getting rid of abortion? The detailed strategy for getting rid of abortion is more a matter of prudential judgment. The Church will welcome an effective strategy. I prefer open discussion and confrontation (and I want to do it in front of an audience, not just one person). The strategy is to perform an abortion procedure on pro-abort arguments in systematic fashion. Keep pulling them out into the bright light, piece by piece, — that’s gross when you think about it, which is just what I intended.

    It is slow work, but you will not lose — they can never win on the merits. When you reduce the pro-abort to hysteria, you won. And make sure the observers/readers see what you did; do a good recap. Be kind to your opponent, show that you like and respect him personally, and go home a winner. The pro-abort will not admit having lost, but you might have helped a number of observers to the truth. Serve it out generously!

    You are doing fine.

  • Donna V,
    I understand and agree with your fundamental point, which is that something is better than nothing. I also would be thrilled if the law of the land permitted abortions only in cases of rape or to save the live of the mother. Not perfect, but only fools let the perfect be the enemy of the good. My quarrel is only with the notion that Akin said or even implied that rape victims cannot get pregnant. That is simply not true. He said it was rare and explained one reason why. It turns out that his reason may be shaky, though that is not entirely clear, and he can be faulted for not responding more thoughtfully. But he never remotely suggested that a rape victim could not get pregnant or that a pregnancy was proof that the sex was consensual. Only a person who deliberately twists words can make that accusation.

  • “Let me use an analogy to slavery. If you traveled in a time machine back to 1850…”

    … or more precisely, 1854, you might find Abraham Lincoln making the same kind of argument you suggest. He used the actions and words of the Founding Fathers and later statesmen to demonstrate that even though the Declaration and the Constitution allowed slavery, the framers had reached a moral consensus that it was a bad thing that should not be allowed to exist indefinitely. If slavery were not wrong, he argued, why would past Congresses and presidents have placed restrictions upon the slave trade, or attempted to set geographic boundaries beyond which slavery would not be permitted? Lincoln did not, prior to the Civil War, believe that action to free the slaves in existing slave states was warranted (so abolitionists thought him too soft on the issue), but he believed that slavery should be confined only to existing slave states and NOT allowed to expand into new territories via the Kansas Nebraska Act (which made him dangerously radical in the eyes of the pro-slavery crowd). That way, he figured, slavery would eventually die out on its own. (Or to uborrow the words of a much later SCOTUS justice concerning Roe, it was “on a collision course with itself.”) Of course, the Civil War broke out before that approach could be tried. What you are suggesting, Donna, is taking the same approach to abortion today that Lincoln took toward slavery in the 1850s.

  • To a certain extent, I think it is pretty amazing that a 100% pro-life candidate does not have an answer to that question. If we are going to win the debate.. we need to be actually capable of debating.

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