Todd Akin has made several legitimate mistakes over the course of his flaccid political career. Appearing on MSNBC today to say more stupid shit about rape was among them, and judging by his apparent dogged wrongness in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, it won't be the last.
Akin, for the uninitiated, is the former Missouri Senate candidate who torpedoed a very real chance at victory over Democrat Claire McCaskill in 2012 when he defended his "no abortions for rape victims" stance on local TV by saying, and I quote: "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has a way to shut that whole thing down."
I feel terrible for the wife of any man who knows so pathetically little about the female body.
Akin later apologized, but the damage was done. McCaskill's victory was sealed without the embattled Democrat having to do so much as lift a finger, and Akin remains an object lesson on the sort of person who should not run for treasurer of the local Rotary Club, much less the US Senate. The sort of person who, simply by opening his mouth, undoes months of efforts on the part of Republicans who are trying to build a more woman-friendly image in the runup to midterms. He is to the American conservative movement what Fredo was to the Corleones. Even has the same hairline.
But Akin, like all great idiots who are so dumb that they have no idea how dumb they are, is not finished talking.
Today, he appeared opposite Chuck Todd on MSNBC to promote his new book about how hard it is for white Christian men to boss everyone around nowadays. The interview almost immediately devolved into an impassioned defense of the phrase "legitimate rape." Akin explained that he's not sorry he said it, after all, that it was actually an abbreviated version of the police term "legitimate case of rape," as though that changes a fucking thing. Like a child hurriedly changing the subject after being caught trying to set the family cat on fire, Akin then tried to point out that he believes Bill Clinton is a rapist and that Hillary Clinton basically endorsed rape by defending that child rapist back in the 1970's. Then he argued with Chuck Todd's point that experts have stated that acute stress of sexual assault doesn't prevent ovulation, and then Todd Akin was like, um, yeah it does, and there were a bunch of people working on my campaign that were conceived by rape, and also I love children. This is not a glib oversimplification. This is how the interview went.
Overall, Todd Akin said "legitimate rape" approximately 17,000 times. It was glorious in a kind of horrible way.
Wonk twitter immediately exploded with the sort of Did That Really Just Happen? giddiness that characterizes their reaction to most political trainwrecks that seem ripped from a Veep script. While it's fun to hoot about a guy who fell of the turnip truck and onto MSNBC to say dumb crap about rape, let's not lose sight of where Akin's idiocy originates in the first place. He, along with a significant portion of the American right wing, believes that rape victims should be forced to carry their rapist's fetus to term, and then give birth to it, which is even more fucked up than branding some rapes more "legitimate" than others.