Friday, August 24, 2012

Republicans Finally Agree with Democratic Stance on Abortion: "It's a distraction."

Morning Edition had a three minute piece on Rep Akin's rape/aborition comments  . . .

Morning Edition host Steve Innskeep cites an LA Times report
"that in 2008 Romney touted the support of the doctor behind the Akin theory  that raped women don't get pregnant. . . 

Then he goes on:
Since that detail of the story emerged, the Romney campaign has only agreed to local interviews under the conditions that the reporters agree not to ask about Akin or abortion.

"It's a distraction.  We don't need any distractions, especially the week before our convention."  Republican consultant Ed Rogers says this controversy is a gift to Democrats and an albatross for Romney.

"It's cost him days when he could be having a message about something else, particularly about the economy.  And instead of having a message about that, we're talking about one of the wackiest things said in American politics this year . . ."

Let me get this straight.

1.  Discussion of abortion is a distraction from more important issues?  It seems to me for the last 30 years the Republicans have been using abortion as a distraction from the more important issues, because it got them money and votes.  But now that discussing abortion hurts Republicans and helps Democrats, it's suddenly a distraction. 

2.  Romney refuses to have interviews unless Akin and abortion and Romney's past support for the doctor Akin cites as the source of his 'raped women don't get pregnant' remark are off the table.  Is that also going to be a condition for the presidential debates?

3.  Republican consultant Rogers dismisses Akin's abortion view as irrelevant because it's  "The wackiest thing said. . ."   Let's play that back again slower.   Akin sponsored anti-abortion legislation that Paul Ryan co-sponsors that includes banning abortion in the case of rape and incest and he justifies this because rape victims can't get pregnant.  And this is irrelevant?  Republicans refuse to talk about it?  Sorry, it's not on my agenda, next question please - one about the economy. Why don't they just plead the fifth?

The 'distraction,'  it seems to me, is that attention is being put on Republican attempts to shut down every woman's access to abortion, even rape victims.  The Republican political agenda is intended to put the spotlight on the areas where they think Obama is vulnerable, and far from the areas where they are vulnerable.  

This is a distraction only if you are a paid consultant whose job it is to manage what Americans are talking about, because you've failed miserably in that agenda management.  Because one of the wacko (that's the Republican consultant's word not mine) politicians that you've helped get elected has escaped his handlers and said publicly what he really believes.  And you know that there are a bunch more wacko politicians out there who could do the same thing. (I heard some of the Alaska versions talking crazy like this when I was blogging the legislature.)

The Republican Platform on Rape and Abortion

If you google "Republican National Platform" there are a lot of links that pop up talking about the platform and abortion - but they are all news outlets and blogs talking about the platform.  Finding the platform itself is proving more difficult, at least for me. (If anyone has a link, please put it in the comments!)

C-Span reports that the draft platform has been sent to delegates for adoption on the first day of the convention, Monday. offers the 2008 platform.

C-Span has video of the Republican Platform meetings.  I haven't looked at them, but they might offer some interesting insight into the thinking (yes, it's still thinking even if you don't agree with the conclusions)  behind the Platform.

NPR reports that the platform has language that would essentially ban all abortions including the 'wacky' Akin's desire to ban abortions for rape and incest victims.
. . .  one of the least controversial issues discussed this week is abortion.
With little discussion, the committee on Tuesday adopted the same anti-abortion language it included in GOP platforms in 2004 and 2008. It seeks passage of a constitutional amendment that would extend legal rights to the unborn, essentially banning abortion.
The language in the platform includes no exceptions for rape or incest.
So, while the Republican establishment is working overtime to distance themselves from Akin's comment about rape victims spontaneously avoiding pregnancy, they are pledging to  ban access to abortion even for rape and incest victims.  The most positive thing about this whole incident is that some Republicans understand that Akin's comments were bad.  (Not necessarily bad policy, but bad PR.)

Looking at the Republican Convention website - there are no tabs that link to the Platform.  Going tab to tab, I could find this mention of platform in "Features"
Some delegates will be chosen to represent their delegations on one of the four standing convention committees (Resolutions, sometimes referred to as the “Platform Committee;” Credentials; Rules; and Permanent Organization).
 The 'Get Involved" tab offers us the word platform, but a different meaning:
You can sign up to receive newsletters and other updates, join convention social media conversations or get an up-close look at convention events through our website, blog and other platforms designed to create a convention without walls.
Maybe they're just waiting for it to be approved by the convention, but I'd think they would be proud of it and want to post it on their website.  But - I don't do this often - what do I know?


  1. Note that our own Alaskan Senator Murkowski goes to painful lengths to find Atkin’s comments “incredibly offensive” – but NOT the idea of banning abortion, even in the case of rape, or incest, or to protect the life of the mother.

    In fact the sole motivation and concern she has expressed is only over the potential effect this controversy might have on the electability of the Republican party, and that these issues are not “things we need to be talking about.”

  2. Expanding what Jamie said and in relation to what you said, Steve -"Not necessarily bad policy, but bad PR":
    It seems to me that much of the hand wringing and "having the vapors" , including telling Mr Akin to step down, on the Republican side is more than merely PR related. It is a cold, calculated (and cynical? ) set of moves to get rid of him in the time required by Missouri law to make a replacement who might beat Ms McCaskill - which is the real objective.
    As per the "distraction" issue- thank you!
    Good questions, good framing, good job!
    Alaska Pi

  3. Maybe, Jamie, scientists should be studying Republican warming - as the ice starts melting under the feet of traditional Republicans.

    Thanks Pi - PR, in my mind, included getting Republicans elected.

    Someone else emailed me a link to a post that explains that the Republicans are intentionally hiding the Platform, but someone put a copy got up long enough for Politico to grab it.


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