What do Missouri Rep. Todd Akin’s controversial comments about rape mean for Wisconsin Republicans?

While the statements issued by Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson and many leading Republicans urging Akin to quit his race were likely made in an effort to salvage the party’s chance of capturing the Missouri Senate seat (and therefore possibly taking control of the U.S. Senate), they also likely reflected the GOP’s desire to turn attention away from the abortion issue as much as possible.

Many Wisconsin Republicans, including Paul Ryan and Gov. Scott Walker, take stands on abortion that endear them to the religious right but are at odds with mainstream opinion on the issue. Both men, for instance, oppose abortion in cases of rape and incest, a position that polls show only about a fifth of the American electorate embraces.

Akin is under extreme fire for asserting that "legitimate rape" rarely causes pregnancy. His comments fit perfectly into the “War on Women” narrative Democrats both nationally and in Wisconsin have constructed in recent months, largely in response to Republican attempts to cut federal funds from Planned Parenthood and their opposition to requiring insurance plans to include contraception coverage.

Most poignantly, the Akin controversy reignites the debate over the Republicans’ aborted attempt earlier this year to amend current law in a way that might have resulted in some rape victims being denied access to abortion coverage through Medicaid.

The proposed bill, which was co-sponsored by Ryan, would have barred the use of federal funds (through Medicaid and similar programs) for abortions except for cases of “forcible rape,” which many critics alleged would redefine “rape,” therefore changing the long-standing federal policy of granting all victims of rape and incest the ability to obtain abortions through Medicaid.

“Todd Akin and Paul Ryan: On the same side of redefining rape,” claimed a headline on Blogging Blue, a popular liberal blog in Wisconsin.

Last week, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin posted to its website a column written by Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student and contraception insurance coverage advocate whom Rush Limbaugh famously called a “slut,” detailing Ryan’s extreme anti-abortion record.

Much of what Fluke pointed out presents an awkward situation for Romney, who has made clear he would not oppose abortion in instances of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is endangered.

Indeed, his views are at odds with the Republican platform committee, which on Tuesday approved an abortion plank Monday that leaves little room for rape or incest exceptions.

In recent history, the party platform has not meant much for presidential candidates. However, in light of all of the attention recently put on abortion, Romney may be pressured to publicly rebuke his party's official position on the issue, putting him at risk of further alienating a conservative base already suspicious of his pro-choice record as governor of Massachusetts.

To add to the GOP’s headaches in Wisconsin, where polls show the president dominating the female vote, two Republican candidates in state legislative races could make the party appear insensitive to the issue of violence against women.

One of them, David VanderLeest, is running a hopeless campaign for Assembly in a solidly Democratic district in Green Bay. VanderLeest gained notoriety last year when his long record of domestic disputes and financial troubles became public in his unsuccessful bid to oust state Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, in a recall election.

Although VanderLeest has been arrested at least twice on charges of battery against his ex-wife, the charges were eventually dismissed in both instances, although VanderLeest pled no contest to disorderly conduct in one of them.

The Republican Party of Wisconsin clearly wants nothing to do with Vanderleest; the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee (RACC) does not list him as one of its candidates.

Jennifer Toftness, the executive director of RACC, did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

However, in a race that favors Democrats but is winnable for Republicans, the GOP challenger to state Sen. Jen Shilling, D-La Crosse, also has a police record as a result of an alleged altercation with a former partner.

Bill Feehan, a La Crosse businessman and member of the County Board there, was arrested in 2000 after allegedly choking his girlfriend at the time. Similar to VanderLeest, Feehan pled guilty to disorderly conduct in exchange for prosecutors dropping a battery charge.

"This absolutely goes to show his lack of character and respect for women," says Brad Wojciechowski, a spokesman for the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee.

The GOP appears to fully support Feehan, and the candidate himself described comments about his criminal record as a “low blow by the Democrat Party” in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“It’s a private matter that’s over a decade ago and I think both parties have moved on,” said Dan Romportl, executive director of the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate, in explaining the party's support for Feehan.

Jack Craver is the Capital Times political reporter, focusing on elections, candidates and campaign finance.

You might also like

(27) comments

To RichardSRussell,

Here is the newly released 2012 Republican Platform
http://www.gop.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/2012GOPPlatform.pdf

This document did not exist anywhere on the internet prior to its recent release. I think it was released sometime on Monday. Your earlier assertion that the document existed on the internet was false. Now that the document does exist; your claim that "Women! Your bodies are not your own! That's the OFFICIAL POSITION of the Republican Party." is literally not in the document; however, if you choose to interpret all that they say in the paragraphs below as "Your bodies are not your own" that is your choice, I choose to say you are making a false statement because the literal interruption of your statement "Your bodies are not your own" is that women can make absolutely no choices related to their own bodies in any situation and that is simply a false smear.

If some people don't "like" my literal interruption of word from others, that tough; that's who I am, deal with it.

I do not support everything they said in the paragraphs below. I've made my opinion quite clear on the subject of abortion in this and other threads.

---------------------QUOTED FROM THE ABOVE LINK, PAGES 13-14---------------------
The Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life
Faithful to the “self-evident” truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. We oppose the nonconsensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, including food and water, from people with disabilities, including newborns, as well as the elderly and infirm, just as we oppose active and passive euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Republican leadership has led the effort to prohibit the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion and permitted States to extend health care coverage to children before birth. We urge Congress to strengthen the Born Alive Infant Protection Act by enacting appropriate civil and criminal penalties on healthcare providers who fail to provide treatment and care to an infant who survives an abortion, including early induction delivery where the death of the infant is intended. We call for legislation to ban sex-selective abortions – gender discrimination in its most lethal form—and to protect from abortion unborn children who are capable of feeling pain; and we applaud U.S. House Republicans for leading the effort to protect the lives of pain-capable unborn children in the District of Columbia. We call for a ban on the use of body parts from aborted fetuses for research. We support and applaud adult stem cell research to develop lifesaving therapies, and we oppose the killing of embryos for their stem cells. We oppose federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

We also salute the many States that have passed laws for informed consent, mandatory waiting periods prior to an abortion, and health-protective clinic regulation. We seek to protect young girls from exploitation through a parental consent requirement; and we affirm our moral obligation to assist, rather than penalize, women challenged by an unplanned pregnancy. We salute those who provide them with counseling and adoption alternatives and empower them to choose life, and we take comfort in the tremendous increase in adoptions that has followed Republican legislative initiatives."
----------------------QUOTED FROM THE ABOVE LINK, PAGE 34------------------------
Furthermore; they state in a separate section...

Supporting Federal Healthcare
"...We oppose the FDA approval of Mifeprex, formerly known as RU-486, and similar drugs that terminate innocent human life after conception."

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I completely oppose this anti-RU-486 statement; if they have their way with this particular statement, it would prevent the use of RU-486 by rape victims. I firmly believe it is a blatant infringement of basic human rights to FORCE a victim of rape into a pregnancy that is the result of a violent criminal act that has already violated her human rights.

I believe that when the "action" of exerting someone's rights infringes on the rights of another, whether those rights are human rights or constitutional rights, then the "action" itself is in violation of human rights and constitutional rights. On this point I will never waver.

I define life, whether it is prior to birth or the end of my own life, to be when "sustainable" life exists (outside the womb) AND there is active brain activity. IMHO; sustainable life does not exist at conception.

noldtimer
noldtimer

What is so hard to understand?... Paul Ryan does not support abortion. If you want to vote or not vote for Romney-Ryan because of that single issue, thats your right and your decision.

I would think that most intelligent people would look at ALL of the issues that are a part of the upcoming election such as:
-the economy
-unemployment rate
-gas prices
-rising national debt
-GDP
-trade imbalance
-troops still in Afghanistan

If nothing else, simply ask yourself this question.. is your life, the life of your family better or worst now than when President Obama took over? If you believe your life is better, vote for B.O. If you believe things are worse, vote for MR.

Everyone has beliefs, lets try to keep the intelligent statements and priority issues at the forefront.

KenyanBornPrez
KenyanBornPrez

I wonder if Wis_taxpayer is as vociferous for a womens right to CHOOSE when it comes to a womans right to CHOOSE whether or not to legally carry a consealed handgun.

The anti-gun left usually tows the Democrat party line, and hypocritically seeks to ban that same woman from CHOOSING to prevent what happens to her body at the hands of a rapist, mugger, or loony ex.

In case you anti-gun kooks are having a conniption fit, I conveniently prepared your unhinged hypocritical response. Feel free to copy & paste it as your own. :-)

Sputter!...Sputter!...but...but...but wait...guns are bad! You're an ignorant gun-toting Republican! So there...

Re-posted this comment to get at the top of thread...

RichardSRussell said, "Anyone capable of using a search engine can decide for themselves whether Señor Spoon or I is more in touch with reality. Please don't take EITHER of our words for it. Do look it up and decide for yourself."

On that point you and I are in complete agreement. Let's see if anyone cares enough about this topic to go do a search and read some links.

The search phrase given to us by RichardSRussell is "Republican Party Platform"

Remember that you are not looking for someones opinion or article of what the Republican Party position is you are looking for an "Official Position of the Republican Party" as RichardSRussell stated (Republican Party Platform) that states "[Women's] bodies are not their own" or something very close to that.

Have fun searching and reading. If anyone finds it, I'd really like to read it in the words straight from the Official Party document, please supply the link.

P.S. I will gladly read any link that is provided for to clear this up one way or the other. I'll come back to this thread a couple times a day to see if anyone has posted a link.

middleclassmd
middleclassmd

Must not have a gig tonight huh spoon?

That's none of your business or anyone else on this forum.

Fartinthewind
Fartinthewind

Spoon, Richard, and all:

It has been reported that the republican party platform contains a Right to Life plank establishing that life begins at conception.

If the purpose of that plank is to establish government's substantial interest in protecting life beginning at the moment of conception, then the Republican platform most certainly contains a plank effectively designed to deny women the right to control their own bodies.

I find spoon's "literal interpretation" argument specious at best.

Roundtable
Roundtable

We need to keep the right and discussion of pro-choice between the woman and her doctor, not some male Senator with an ideological bent.

everclear
everclear

GOP = corporations are people, women are sex objects.

pete
pete

DEMS = people who vote for a living
GOP = people who work for a living

I'm curious how you would define the millions of people in this country that work for corporations?? Robots? btw, what's wrong with a woman that's sexy? My wife reading 'Shades of Gray' on our patio is pretty darn sexy.

Just a couple of actual facts that ALL of you political hacks on both sides or the abortion issue need to pound into those little narrow minds:

1. Not all "Democrats" are pro-abortion.
2. Not all "Republicans" are anti-abortion.

You hacks on both sides are painting everyone in the opposition with a WIDE brush and blinders on and you are slopping paint all over yourselves with your hate! Some of you are, sort of, reasonable debaters until it comes to the subject of abortion, then you go completely over the edge of reality and do nothing bye sling your hate towards those that oppose you line of thought. This is a humanity issue NOT a party issue; how the hell do you expect the opposition to see you in any other light other than a bone-headed extremist when you talk towards each other the way you all are.

Grow the ________ up!!

P.S. This is not meant for ALL that have posted here. It truly is meant as a general statement on the issue of abortion. This will pop up in a few other threads too.

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

Pro-Abortion? srwspoon,

I don't know of ANY Democrat that is pro-abortion! That is a very demeaning and derogatory choice of words. If an abortion would be the only way to save a mothers life and you don't believe in abortion for any reason, then are you pro-death?

Democrats are pro-choice!

Yes, that's right, Democrats believe it's a woman's right to CHOOSE what happens to her body.

The Republicans want to take that choice away from her!

Wis_taxpayer said, "I don't know of ANY Democrat that is pro-abortion! That is a very demeaning and derogatory choice of words. If an abortion would be the only way to save a mothers life and you don't believe in abortion for any reason, then are you pro-death?"

You know if you actually read a lot of what people write on this forum instead of just attacking people with your head buried where the sun doesn't shine, you would know that I have stated my opinion on this forum many times regarding abortion and AGAIN your assumptions are WAY off base!

I am pro-choice (approve of abortion if chosen = pro-abortion) when it comes to rape, incest, and the life of the mother, I am 100% in favor of the morning after pill, and I am 100% anti-abortion for all other reasons to date.

How does that nasty infested foot of yours taste right now?

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

Talk about your reading comprehension! I wasn't making any assumptions as to YOUR abortion stance!

I was pointing out that you use the phrase pro-abortion! that is demeaning and derogatory. I really don't care what your stance is on abortion, you have the right to your opinion.

But when you use that phrase it demeans and degrades. I was using an example to prove me point, not attacking your views.

Democrats are not pro-abortion, they are pro-choice!

Wis_taxpayer said, "Talk about your reading comprehension! I wasn't making any assumptions as to YOUR abortion stance!"

Ok, I misinterpreted your use of the word "you" in that sentence however, that is exactly how your words came across to me, the reader and the person you were talking directly to. Maybe you should choose different words if you are not trying to imply you, meaning the person you are talking to.

I don't care one bit how you choose look at it, if someone is pro-choice then that someone IS pro-abortion for some abortions or all abortions (depending on their opinion), period.

All my use of the word "you" actually mean you, Wis_taxpayer.

glenrusswood
glenrusswood

Where ARE these women?

RichardSRussell
RichardSRussell

Women! Your bodies are not your own! That's the OFFICIAL POSITION of the Republican Party. You think Todd Akin (tonight playing the role of Mr. Shole) is an aberration? Not so. But don't take my word for it. Read THEIR words, THEIR opinions, THEIR official position, in THEIR platform — better yet, look at THEIR actions — then ask yourself why you'd ever vote for one.

You made the claim, now you need to back it up with facts.

Please provide a link that that "OFFICIAL POSITION of the Republican Party" you mentioned that states that women's bodies are not their own.

RichardSRussell
RichardSRussell

Really? I tell you to look up "Republican Party platform" and you weren't capable of googling it yourself? Too sciency for you?
 
Of the top dozen hits, this one was the most recent:
   http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/21/g-o-p-approves-strict-anti-abortion-language-in-party-platform/

but there are PLENTY more just like it.

RichardSRussell
RichardSRussell

As I said, there are PLENTY more just like it. I have no intention of looking them all up for you. Get Rush Limbaugh to come over and hold your hand and show you how to click the mouse.

RichardSRussell said, "As I said, there are PLENTY more just like it. I have no intention of looking them all up for you. Get Rush Limbaugh to come over and hold your hand and show you how to click the mouse."

You just became a political hack and a troll, it's such a monumental achievement to be at such a low level with the likes of Libsrlooney.

You said, "Women! Your bodies are not your own! That's the OFFICIAL POSITION of the Republican Party."

Since you are not willing or unable to provide proof of your claim that I just quoted again, and all you seem to do is attack others that ask you questions with insults, I'm wondering which of the following you think best applies to you:

1. You are nothing more than a immature person smearing anything you disagree with anything you can make up, regardless of actual facts.

2. You are a willful liar posting things that you know to be completely false.

3. You are completely ignorant and just believe anything you read as long as it fits nicely in your ideology.

4. You are a person lacking any moral character.

Choose.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

POLITICAL HACK : is a negative term ascribed to a person who is part of the political apparatus and whose intentions are more aligned with victory than personal conviction.

TROLL : is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

RichardSRussell
RichardSRussell

Anyone capable of using a search engine can decide for themselves whether Señor Spoon or I is more in touch with reality.
 
Please don't take EITHER of our words for it. Do look it up and decide for yourself.

RichardSRussell said, "Anyone capable of using a search engine can decide for themselves whether Señor Spoon or I is more in touch with reality. Please don't take EITHER of our words for it. Do look it up and decide for yourself."

On that point you and I are in complete agreement. Let's see if anyone cares enough about this topic to go do a search and read some links.

The search phrase given to us by RichardSRussell is "Republican Party Platform"

Remember that you are not looking for someones opinion or article of what the Republican Party position is you are looking for an "Official Position of the Republican Party" as RichardSRussell stated (Republican Party Platform) that states [Women's] bodies are not their own or something very close to that.

Have fun searching and reading. If anyone finds it, I'd really like to read it in the words straight from the Official Party document, please supply the link.

P.S. I will gladly read any link that is provided for to clear this up one way or the other. I'll come back to this thread a couple times a day to see if anyone has posted a link.

Lynne4300
Lynne4300

I can't wait to hear "Grahmster the Hamster" expound on this!

mellow
mellow

'A low blow by the Dems to mention something that happened a decade ago... Both parties have moved on'. These politicians are living in La-La land. Moved on my a**. Can you imagine the idea of moving on when Tea Publicans still question President Obama's birth place. They are still swinging their bibles and preaching about the evils of abortion. They still believe Obama is an evil Muslim. They still believe Obama is deliberatly causing harm to our men and woman in the service. They believe certain groups of people are not inteligent enough to cast a vote without paying a price for the honor. They believe woman are not worthy of making decisions about their bodies and health.

Moving on..... These folks are so not moving on. They live in a world that is fueled by hate and ignorance. They do not grasp what moving on means. They are moving backward at such a fast pace it is almost beyond belief.

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

The Republicans ramp up their war on women. They have become the party of angry white men who want to control women's bodies and their choices.

I think this article states it well, they have lost all respect for women.

Good luck with the women's vote!

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. Exchange ideas and opinions on posted articles. Don't promote products or services, impersonate other site users, register multiple accounts, threaten or harass others, post vulgar, abusive, obscene or sexually oriented language. Don't post content that defames or degrades anyone. Don't repost copyrighted material; link to it. In other words, stick to the topic and play nice. Report abuses by clicking the button. Users who break the rules will be banned from commenting. We no longer issue warnings. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.