Todd Akin's hubris

His comment — “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down” — was based on crackpot science. Being an opponent of sex education in the schools does not require a politician to have a poor grasp of human biology. And this is especially counterproductive in a pro-life politician, because advancing knowledge of biology has generally favored the pro-life cause by revealing the humanity of a developing child. It is the extreme pro-choice position that requires the ignoring of an eighth-month sonogram.

But Akin’s statement was not only bad science; it lacked in sympathy. Even a response to a hypothetical question on rape requires genuine outrage at rape itself and clear empathy for its victims. …

Akin, like many caught in error, seems increasingly convinced of his own virtue. The “party bosses” are out to get him. The “liberal elites” want to discredit his conservative views. But the uniformity of Republican and conservative sentiment to replace Akin on the ballot has removed every plausible reason for his resistance save one: pride. He does not want to be seen as a “quitter.” This is emotionally understandable. But it is a coping mechanism, not an electoral strategy.