Akin, Ryan, rape and Republican hypocrisy

Republican hand wringing over the crude remarks about “legitimate rape” made by GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin in Missouri is perhaps the starkest of many recent examples of that party’s hypocrisy.

The Romney-Ryan ticket is distancing itself from Rep. Akin, not because they disagree with his ignorant views about rape victims not having the right to abortions, but because they fear Akin will expose what they and their party are all about.

Fierce opposition to women’s reproductive rights, including the right to decide whether or not to bear a child, has been the agenda of the Republican Party for quite some time now.

The GOP platform adopted when George W. Bush was selected as the nominee for president included a no-abortion, no-exception, plank that would force rape victims to carry pregnancies to term.

When Sarah Palin was the party’s vice presidential candidate in 2008 she campaigned openly in favor of the position enunciated by Akin the other day.

In 2010 almost all the GOP candidates for the U.S. Senate and House embraced the Akin position.

Now we see Romney, Karl Rove, Mitch McConnell and a slew of other Republican leaders calling upon Akin to pull out of the Senate race.

Why the big freak-out from GOP leaders?

Is there any demand for Rep. Paul Ryan to step down as the candidate for vice president? As co-sponsor with Akin of every single one of Akin’s radical anti-women’s-rights bills, Ryan and Akin are birds of a feather.

Paul Ryan also has the distinction of cosponsoring with Akin HR 3, the third bill passed when Republicans took over the House in 2010. That bill attempts to redefine rape, distinguishing between “forcible” and supposed other kinds of rape!

In 2011 a “personhood” amendment that re-defined an egg at the moment of conception as a “person” was too radically right to pass even in Mississippi. Yet a only a year later Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum – the major GOP presidential candidates – supported it.

Ryan co-sponsored with Akin a national version of that personhood amendment in the U.S. Congress.

Romney passed up the Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell as a choice for his vice presidential nominee because McDonnell, due to his backing for forced invasive procedures for women who seek abortions, had become known as Gov. Ultrasound.

Yet Romney picked Paul Ryan, who had introduced a federal version of the same ultrasound bill into the U.S. Congress.

The concern by Republicans over the Akin remarks has nothing to do with disagreeing with what he said. The concern is that when the voters hear what Akin said they may realize that Akin’s positions, which are repulsive to the majority of Americans, are the positions of the Republican Party itself.

Photo: Brian Ray/AP