Why Bob's Achin' for Akin

Friday, August 24, 2012


Bob talks about how the Todd Akin story this week shows us how increasingly, when politicians talk -- even just to audiences of their own supporters -- everyone is listening.

Vic Chesnutt - Degenerate

Comments [5]

Will Caxton

Mr Garfield plays an audio clip of Yasser Arafat making a statement. Mr Garfield then reports that Mr Arafat "Meanwhile, on Palestinian TV", made a statement that seems contradictory. No context for the remarks is given: were these two speeches made on the same day, or were they years apart, possibly reflecting a change in position? (The word "meanwhile" seems to imply they happened at the same time, but the "Western audience ... Palestinian TV" part suggests otherwise.) Further, the second statement is only described; there's no audio of the actual voice of Mr Arafat, because "it was in Arabic, and what was said in Gaza stayed in Gaza". Evidently not. What's the source of the statement in Arabic? When was it made? Why is there no audio of it? It may be surprising, but there are Arabic speakers who listen to "On the Media" who would be interested in hearing what Mr Arafat really said, rather than what someone says he said. Who did the translation, and how reliable is it?

Aug. 29 2012 10:57 PM
Mike White from Westland, MI

I hope you cover this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-slansky-/paul-ryan-said-something-_b_1832377.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false

Aug. 27 2012 04:21 PM
Micha Rieser from Cambridge, MA

I found it interesting that Bob conflated so many things together in this story. I think there is a real difference between the types of statements that are all lumped together - as gaffs, or as targeted communications.
On the one hand, you have Biden's statement. This was a statement that stated exactly what Obama's Administration and The Democratic party has been consistently saying. He used different language, perhaps language influenced by the audience, but the substance of what he was saying is unchanged from the more general public statements of the administration.
On the other hand, you have Akin "legitimate rape" statement and Romney's "No one has asked for my birth certificate" statement. These two statements are qualitatively different from Biden's. Akin publicly stated what the Republican Party believes and stands for - even writing it into their party platform. Romney made a "joke" which is a call out to the fringe Birther wing of his party, while at the same time he denies that he questions Obama's citizenship. However, why make this joke if you are not trying to draw attention to this fringe?

Conflating all these statements under the same umbrella is a false equivilancy. The statement by Biden is simply an inartful phrasing of a standard Democratic position. The statement by Akin is uncovering a position that the Republican party holds, but would rather not have made public in this way. Romney's statement is a wink and a nod to an extremist part of the Republican party that he needs to appease to have any chance of winning. Only these latter two count as messages targeted to one audience as discussed in the story - messages that are denied when talking to non-true believers.

Almost any Democrat would wholly agree with the content of Biden's statement, even if they disagreed with the phrasing - it is publicly part of the party's message. I'm not certain you could say the same about Akin's or Romney's statements.

Aug. 27 2012 02:15 PM
Ed from Larchmont

Yes, Atkins got confused. (The woman's body can hold semen for 3-5 days so if the woman ovulates in that period after relations, she can get pregnant.) But he got confuses, perhaps he imagined there was a mechanism on the other side. By 'legitimate' he meant, of course, a rape that would cause hormones like adrenaline to be released. But you're right, better not make a mis-statement.

Aug. 26 2012 03:19 PM

Can't forget this week's othere nominee for idiotic and mendacious utterances to their own faithful. I'll let Mark Steyn of the National Review Online read the nomination:

"California’s Barbara Boxer opened the bidding this week in her familiar low-key style. 'There is a war against women, and Romney and Ryan — if they are elected — would become its top generals,' Senator Boxer told a Planned Parenthood meeting. 'There is a sickness out there in the Republican party, and I’m not kidding. Maybe they don’t like their moms or their first wives.' Reichsmarschall Romney and Generalissimo Ryan are both still married to their first wives, so it must be the moms. No wonder Ryan wants to throw his off a cliff."


Aug. 26 2012 12:06 PM

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