The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

August 22, 2012

With idiots like these, election season now high comedy

Commentary By Adam Smith
adam@athensnews-courier.com

ATHENS — “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

— Martin Luther King Jr.

Every four years, I start to really enjoy this time of year.

It’s not because I know the dog days of summer are winding down. It’s not because the grass starts growing a little slower, which luckily, it has.

It’s because we’re in the midst of a contentious election cycle, and verbal missteps by Democratic and Republican candidates are being made in droves. It’s high comedy you don’t have to pay for.

Consider the case of Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, who is currently battling Democrat Claire McCaskill in a Senate race. Akin made news late last week by erroneously stating that women’s bodies have the ability to prevent pregnancies in the case of “forcible rape.”

Isn’t all rape forcible?

Not surprisingly, Akin’s in the hot seat and his own party is contemplating replacing him on the November ballot. The deadline to exit the ballot was 5 p.m. Tuesday, and Akin issued a statement Tuesday afternoon saying he had no intention of stepping aside.

Akin apologized for his comments via video on Tuesday, but did not apologize for being a complete imbecile. In case you haven’t heard, here’s what Akin told a St. Louis television station during an interview:

"It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," Akin said.

Shut the whole thing down? Do women really have the ability to prevent a pregnancy with mind control, similar to how NASA has the ability to abort a rocket launch? What doctors has Akin been talking to? Podiatrists? Dermatologists?

Whatever doctors Akin received his erroneous information from clearly have no understanding of the female reproductive system. Sex education wasn’t offered at any public school I ever attended, but I pretty much knew about the birds and bees thanks to healthy doses of uncensored playground banter.

Perhaps Akin, or the doctors who explained to him that women have the ability to reject a man’s seed subconsciously, should enroll in some sort of course that explains how the reproductive system works.

What an idiot.

“Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.”

— Elbert Hubbard

I don’t think Akin should bear the brunt of criticism, however, because Vice President Joe Biden is no stranger to making idiotic statements. In fact, he made a doozy last week while speaking in Virginia to a largely African-American audience.

He said, in case you haven’t heard, that the GOP wanted to “unchain Wall Street.” He added, just for good measure, “They're going to put y'all back in chains.”

Memo to Joe: Probably not your best choice of words. You see Joe, prior to the abolishment of slavery, African-Americans — many of which are ardent supporters of your party — were, in fact, forced to wear chains.

History, along with many books, movies and documentaries, tells us that slavery was not a positive experience and has little to do with Mitt Romney’s plans to scale back government oversight on banks and corporations.

In realizing his verbal goof a couple of days later, Biden again reiterated his point about Romney, but instead used the word “shackles,” not chains. He said his analogy stemmed from comments that House Majority Leader John Boehner had said about the “unshackling of Wall Street.”

Let’s do a little word analysis, shall we?

Merriam-Webster defines “chains” as: “a series of usually metal links or rings connected to or fitted into one another and used for various purposes (as support, restraint, transmission of mechanical power, or measurement).”

So, what does “shackles” say? “A ring or other fastening, as of iron, for securing the wrist, ankle, etc.; fetter.”

In reading the two definitions, Biden may have been better off using the “chains” analogy, as “shackles” actually makes mention of securing wrists and ankles, just like slave owners did to their human property.

It really shouldn’t be surprising, however, as Biden has become a half-witted liability to President Obama, and Republicans couldn’t be more pleased. Luckily for Democrats, they now have the likes of Todd Akin to use as the November general election approaches.

When it comes to elections, I’ve always tried to pick the candidate whom seemingly has the most intelligence and whom I feel will be the best steward of my local, state and federal tax dollars. But with candidates like these, I might stay home on Election Day.

At least it’s entertaining.