The GOP has had one hell of a time lately with its male elected officials saying completely ridiculous things about women. Mr. Akin had a well-known zinger regarding the consequences of “legitimate rape” and the actions that victims should take, and Paul Ryan fumbled his attempt to defend the statement while simultaneously distancing himself from it. My thought was that, somehow, these ridiculous statements would have sent out a warning via whatever the equivalent of the listserv is for Republican politicians. You know, something to the effect of, “Do not say anything blatantly stupid or possibly indicating you do not sympathize with rape victims. Here is a pamphlet from a seventh grade health class, which should help you learn relevant facts about the female body. If you are in doubt, DO NOT SPEAK TO THE PRESS.”
Tom Smith, however, seems to be speaking out on the subject for no discernable reason except to embarrass himself and his party. He first, last week, gave the following soundbite to the Associated Press:
Tom Smith: I lived something similar to [rape] with my own family. She chose life, and I commend her for that. She knew my views. But, fortunately for me, I didn’t have to…she chose the way I thought. No don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t rape.
AP: Similar how?
Smith: Uh, having a baby out of wedlock.
AP: That’s similar to rape?
Smith: No, no, no, but…put yourself in a father’s situation, yes. It is similar. But, back to the original, I’m pro-life, period.”
And then, after what I am certain was a backhand across the face and an order to quit talking until it was directly off an approved teleprompter script, another gem came out this week as he greeted two women after introducing Paul Ryan in Pennsylvania:
Can someone please just shut this guy up already? I am not big into politics, but never before has an election so divided me on two of the subjects close enough to me to cause a strong opinion: My bank accounts and my reproductive organs. Paul Ryan is the VP nominee, nothing to be done about his comment, and Akin is dead in the water, but the last thing the Republican party needs right now is another group of dumb soundbytes to alienate the 53% of voters this fall who are women, and possibly a decent portion of the other 47% who, despite being men, are going to be turned off by blatant ignorance. It’s going to take a lot to sway conservative women from the hit to the financial statements and subsequent shoe purchases that another Obama term would bring, but by God do I see everyone trying.