Richard Mourdock: Questions About Rape and Abortion Have Become a Problem for Some Republican Candidates This Year.
Shortly after 5, on Wednesday, I was wrapping up a conversation about “rape gaffes” with Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. She has had a lot of conversations like this, especially about the U.S. Senate race in Indiana. An internal poll for Rep. Joe Donnelly now showed him up by 9 points over Republican state Treasurer Richard Mourdock. A previous poll had showed Donnelly up by 7 points. Mourdock’s own polling suggests, at the very best, a tie. All because Mourdock had said “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen,” and had chosen a televised debate as the place to say that.
“Anytime somebody mentions rape,” said Dannenfelser, “the other side thinks it’s over for that candidate. But voters are smarter than campaigns think they are. Women are smarter than they’re cracked up to be. Mourdock did a good job explaining what he believes.”
I hung up and greeted my inbox. The first story: “Republican Congressional Candidate Opines on ‘The Rape Thing.’ ” John Koster, who’s running for the new 1st district in Seattle’s suburbs, had wondered whether “putting more violence onto a woman’s body and taking the life of an innocent child that’s the consequence of this crime” was really the way to deal with the aforementioned Thing. Among his endorsers was, of course, the SBA List. And the only reason that either issue had come up so awkwardly, in either race, was that Missouri Rep. Todd Akin had mused about legitimate and nonlegitimate rape, two-and-a-half months ago.
This question is going to haunt Republicans if, next week, they blow a few elections that they should have won. Why, why, why do their candidates keep musing about abortion in cases of rape? Akin they could explain away as an anomaly, a cow-licked holy roller who’d gotten arrested at abortion clinic protests and spoken out for the poor, benighted militia men. But Richard Mourdock? The soft-spoken state treasurer of Indiana? He’d never been arrested in front of any clinics.