Another GOP Senate candidate pulls an Akin
Tom Smith wants to go to Washington. Unfortunately for him, like a growing number of Republican male candidates, he just doesn’t comprehend rape . . . and can’t stop talking about it.
Open mouth; insert foot.
"My stance is on record, and it’s very simplistic: I’m pro-life, period," said Mr. Smith, a former coal company executive from Armstrong County.
However, he stumbled when asked about how he would convince a daughter or granddaughter who was the victim of a rape that she should carry her potential child to term.
Mr. Smith replied that he "lived something similar to that with my own family, and she chose life. I commend her for that."
He added that his daughter wasn’t the victim of a rape. Asked what the similar situation entailed, he said she became pregnant out of wedlock.
Asked if having a child out of wedlock is similar to rape, he replied: "No, no, no, but put yourself in a father’s position, yes. It is similar. This isn’t …" He trailed off, then continued: "But back to the original [question], I’m pro-life, period."
He later reasserted that he was not comparing pregnancies from rape and from out of wedlock: "I said I went through a situation. It’s very, very difficult. … I believe life begins at conception. I’m not going to argue about the method of conception. It’s a life. And I’m pro-life. It’s that simple."
It’s all very well and good that Mr. Smith is anti-choice in all cases. At least that’s an intellectually honest position.
After all, if abortion is murder, then it’s murder whether the pregnancy resulted from failed birth control, rape, incest, alien abduction, or the unexpected explosion of a nearby fertility clinic. It doesn’t become less-murder if the pregnancy will be traumatic, if not permanently damaging, for the unwilling mother.
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t agree with Smith’s position. I think it is a stance which is irrational and ignorant of science. A fertilized egg is not a chicken, nor is a blastocyst a human.
I’m just saying the position is intellectually honest and consistent. But . . .
Smith didn’t answer the question, how he would convince a daughter pregnant via rape to carry the rapist’s child; he instead talked about how his daughter got pregnant through consensual fornication out of wedlock, which he thought to be quite similar, and how difficult it was for him to deal with her decision-making process (presumably because she was the one making the decision).
The meta-message apparent in his reply is what really sticks in my craw.
Smith doesn’t seem able to understand that consensual sex and rape are two very different things. To him, a pregnancy is a pregnancy. This view denies women their basic humanity. A woman is just an oven to bake the cake, and not a human herself. An object.
Does he consciously think that women are objects? Or is he just unable to consider anything beyond his own perspective? After all, he made the answer not about how to convince his daughter of something, but about how stressful the situation was on him.
Smith likely won’t see so great a backlash as Todd Akin, even though his comments are equally offensive. The difference? Akin had a chance. Real Clear Politics presently shows Smith behind his Democratic opponent, incumbent Bob Casey, by 14.5 points.
That gap will probably widen, and changing up candidates isn’t too likely to help. The GOP will sweep this one under the rug.