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Aug/12

25

Huck Rides In

One clown rushes to the assistance of another.

Via CNN:

Tampa, Florida (CNN) – Mike Huckabee participated in a conference call Friday night with hundreds of Baptist pastors and Christian talk radio hosts in Missouri that was organized to coordinate a robust defense of Rep. Todd Akin as he faces pressure from Washington Republicans to drop his Senate bid against Democrat Claire McCaskill…

Speaking harshly about establishment Republicans who have tried to force Akin from the Missouri race, Huckabee at one point compared the National Republican Senatorial Committee to “union goons” who “kneecap” their enemies.

The former Arkansas governor said party bosses were “opening up rounds and rounds” of ammunition on Akin and “then running over with tanks and trucks and leaving him to be ravaged by the other side.”

“This is unprecedented, to see to this orchestrated attempt to humiliate and devastate a fellow Republican,” Huckabee said of Akin, who has deep ties to the Christian conservative movement. Akin spent Thursday in Florida meeting with evangelical leaders and evaluating his political future.

All we need now is Santorum.

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Aug/12

24

The Science of Akin

From the Guardian, one possible theory for the source of Akin’s idiot ‘science’:

The idea that rape victims cannot get pregnant has long roots. The legal position that pregnancy disproved a claim of rape appears to have been instituted in the UK sometime in the 13th century. One of the earliest British legal texts, Fleta, has a clause in the first book of the second volume stating that:

“If, however, the woman should have conceived at the time alleged in the appeal, it abates, for without a woman’s consent she could not conceive.”

This was a long-lived legal argument. Samuel Farr’s Elements of Medical Jurisprudence contained the same idea as late as 1814:

“For without an excitation of lust, or the enjoyment of pleasure in the venereal act, no conception can probably take place. So that if an absolute rape were to be perpetrated, it is not likely she would become pregnant.”

This “absolute rape” is not quite the same as Akin’s “legitimate rape”. Akin seems to be suggesting that the body suppresses conception or causes a miscarriage, while the earlier idea of Farr relates specifically to the importance of orgasm. Through the medieval and early modern period it was widely thought, by lay people as well as doctors, that women could only conceive if they had an orgasm.

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Aug/12

20

Junk Science Watch

Todd Akin lends an assist to the Democrats (the New York Times reports):

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In an effort to explain his stance on abortion, Representative Todd Akin, the Republican Senate nominee from Missouri, provoked ire across the political spectrum on Sunday by saying that in instances of what he called “legitimate rape,” women’s bodies somehow blocked an unwanted pregnancy.

In a senate already filled with clowns, Akin would fit right in. But I doubt that he’ll get the chance.

Obama must be laughing.

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Aug/12

11

The Tea Party: “More Paul than Santorum”

David Kirby and Emily Ekins write in Politico:

The Republican National Convention this week announced speaking slots for libertarian Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and social conservative Rick Santorum. Both claim the “tea party” brand. However the 2012 primary season reveals that the tea party playbook is more Paul than Santorum.

Conventional political wisdom for at least two decades has held that Republican primaries are won by emphasizing values issues to placate socially conservative voters. Observers point to Santorum’s strong showing in the presidential primaries. Exit polls, however, reveal Santorum never won a majority of the tea party vote in any primary.

Republican candidates must increasingly win over both Paul and tea party supporters on economic issues. Libertarians and the tea party movement are intertwined in ways the campaigns and the media have yet to fully appreciate.

Tea party supporters are actually united on economics, but split on social issues, we find, compiling data from local and national polls with dozens of original interviews with tea party members and leaders. Roughly half the tea party is socially conservative, half libertarian: fiscally conservative, but socially moderate to liberal.

Libertarians led the way for tea party disaffection with establishment Republicans. Starting in early 2008 through the early tea parties, libertarians were more than twice as “angry” with the Republican Party as social conservatives; more pessimistic about the economy and deficit during the Bush years, and more frustrated that people like them cannot affect government. Libertarians, including young people who supported Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign, provided much of the early energy for the tea party and spread the word through social media.

In fact, 91 percent of tea party libertarians are more concerned about taxes and jobs than gay marriage and abortion, according to a New York Times poll. Religious bona fides will not win the tea party vote in primaries. The tea party’s strong libertarian roots help explain why more and more Republican candidates are running as functional libertarians—emphasizing fiscal issues such as spending, tax reform and ending bailouts, while avoiding subjects like abortion and gay marriage—and winning…

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Jul/11

9

Bachmann’s Pledge

It’s probably inevitable that Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin find themselves getting compared with each other but this piece of news reminds me that, for all her, uh, foibles, the former Alaska governor comes far closer to representing a live-and-let-live “western” conservatism than does the congresswoman from Minnesota:

Michele Bachmann became the first presidential candidate to sign a pledge, vowing to support a constitutional amendment that defines marriage between a man and a woman, and which calls for a ban on all pornography.

“The Marriage Vow – A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family,” sponsored by the Family Leader, an Iowa-based conservative organization, equates same-sex marriage with bigamy and polygamy and calls on candidates to promise to be faithful to their spouses.

The two-page pledge includes a “Declaration of Dependence on Marriage and Family” that blames several factors for the deterioration of traditional marriage including “quickie divorce” and unmarried couples living together. The pledge also describes homosexuality as a choice and not genetic.

A choice? Interesting.

You can see the whole thing here and judge for yourself, but Bachmann’s decision to sign what is, to put it at its kindest, a somewhat clumsily worded pledge has proved more than a little controversial.

As for the attack on “quickie” divorce (to the extent that there is really such a thing), it is idiotic, an example of the pursuit of unhappiness that would serve mainly to enrich lawyers and flimflam counselors.

Then there is this:

[support for] Humane protection of women and the innocent fruit of conjugal intimacy – our next generation of American children – from human trafficking, sexual slavery, seduction into promiscuity, and all forms of pornography and prostitution, infanticide, abortion and other types of coercion or stolen innocence.

The clause is poorly written (I had to add that “support for”) and much of it is relatively standard GOP fare, but the inclusion of pornography stands out. If Bachmann is opposed to child pornography and, more generally, coerced participation in pornography, then (quite obviously) fair enough. But it is also possible to read this clause in the way that ABC (inevitably) chose to do – as a declaration of support for a broad taxpayer-funded jihad against what the likes of the Family Leader might consider to be porn. On that topic, I note that the pledge of marital fidelity set out elsewhere in the pledge includes a vow “to resist the lure of pornography destructive to marital intimacy.”

TMI

Needless to say, Rick Santorum has also signed.

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Jul/09

3

Religious Right crack-up continues

Now it’s Sarah Palin’s turn.   That icon of right-wing identity politics, revered for her populist authenticity  and lack of any taint of elite intellectualism, shows herself either to be involved in an as-yet-to-be-revealed scandal, or so nakedly ambitious that she lightly breaks her commitment to the people of Alaska.   Can’t wait to see how her apologists will spin this bit of hypocrisy.

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