Republicans Have a Storm Coming
Republicans have had a bad summer. It all started out with Mitt Romney's refusal to release his tax returns, which turned into a badly thought out reaction to Senator Harry Ried's baseless claims that Romney had not paid any taxes for ten years. Then it moved on to Paul Ryan and his budget. Unfortunately, Obama has wanted to have this debate for a while. Romney just gave it to him. Now, things have gotten bigger.
Let's start with Representative Kevin Yoder's naked swim in the Sea of Galilee. It all started out innocently enough. Yoder and several other fellow House Republicans were on a "fact finding" mission to Israel, which included a visit to the place where Jesus is said to have walked on water. Then, things got, well... wild. Apparently there was a drunken frolic, which culminated in Yoder jumping "into the water without a swimsuit." This paints House Republicans in a most unfavorable light. Unfairly, of course, because most Republicans were not at the Sea of Galilee to bear witness to the naked Congressman. However, none of the Republicans were at all pleased with Yoder when the FBI began an investigation.
Yoder later apologized for his immodest actions. But apart from causing much snickering among Democrats and the public at large, this story has little potential to impact votes. It was what came next that really scared Republicans. Todd Akin, the Missouri Republican nominee for Senate, said something incredibly stupid. Here is the full quote from the now infamous interview; "It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare, If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”
Republican leaders, worried about the damage this would cause to their hopes of recapturing the Senate, begged Akin to step down. Akin, unfortunately, still has not stepped down, and he doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. His remarks were not poorly worded. He did not misspeak in any way. Akin just doesn't know the details about how a women's plumbing is supposed to work. And this guy is on the House Committee for Science, Space and Technology. This enormous blunder will not help Republicans narrow the gender gap.
Akin later dodged a second interview, this time with CNN. The host, Piers Morgan, was reduced to interrogating Akin's empty chair, where Morgan labeled Akin a "gutless little twerp."
Akin co-authored a failed piece of legislation redefining rape to include the nefarious term "forcible rape." (Akin's partner in that shady days work was none other than Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan.) It does not help Republicans that the parties platform now has a stance calling for a constitutional amendment banning abortion, without exceptions in the case of rape. This probably won't go down well at the convention.
Speaking of the convention, it seems Republicans may face yet more to dampen their spirits. Tropical Storm Issac is about to turn into Hurricane Issac, and may be headed right for Tampa. It is due to arrive sometime around Monday, when Republicans are set to begin their National Convention. This is not a good sign for Republicans, who, after a summer of relative tension, where hoping to avoid a storm.