It's interesting to witness the furor surrounding GOP Rep. Todd Akin, his remarks about "legitimate" rape and how his ties to Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's newly-minted veep candidate -- how they've sponsored tons of bills to do an end-run around Roe v. Wade by crimnializing abortion without the "moderate" excptions for rape and incest.Everyone from Dana Milbank to Ann Coulter have speculated how the Akin controversy will blow back on the GOP presidential ticket, particlarly after Akin defied party leaders Monday and refused to withdraw from his race against Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill. The brouhaha has laid bare the fact that, despite assertions to the contrary from Republicans, Akin's positions have laid bare the fact that Akin's position is pretty much baked into the modern conservative movement, and will in fact be a part of the GOP's platform when the convention launches in Tampa next week.
Poll after poll shows that the view - that abortion should be illegal under any circumstances, even in the cases of rape or incest - is quite far from the American mainstream; just five percent of the public agree with that view. The Akin situation has proven that a majority of Republicans, at least those in control of the party, believe it. There haven't been demonstrations in the streets calling for a return to the coat-hanger, back-alley days of yore; in fact, asked on an individual basis, most parents of teenage girls and young adults - myself included - believe that at least the option of "contingency contraception," including Plan B, morning-after pills as well as surgical pregnancy terminations - shoudl be available, should the family choose to use it. Or not.
Most voters want to know where the hell's my job - a position President Obama has been consistently addressing in his stump speeches, while simultaneously arguing that he has a plan to Romney's carefully couched proposals to pull the nation out of the economic doldrums. Obama consistentlty leads Romney in polls on likeability, trust and other "he cares about people like me" questions. Romney's campaign remained flatlined, even after naming Ryan to the ticket, a move calculated to generate GOP excitement leading into the convention.