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Todd Akin looks at the political culture in Washington these days and can't help but see the sinister playbook of radicals at work. He sees them baiting, spinning and destroying their remaining enemies on the road to transforming America into a socialist state devoid of personal freedom and responsibility.
The former six-term congressman from Missouri found himself in the crosshairs of a media firestorm in 2012 when, in an interview with Charles Jaco, he made a comment about abortions in the case of rape, in which he said "if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
He admits his remarks were not well-crafted. What he meant to say was simply that in legitimate cases of rape, the chances of a woman getting pregnant are reduced because stress factors have been shown in scientific studies to affect fertility rates.
Two years later, he is still trying to recover from the resulting media bombardment. But rather than ducking for cover, or buckling under the barrage, he's going public with his message. He's got a new book out, "Firing Back," and has appeared in a series of media interviews recently.
One of those interviews was with WND founder and CEO Joseph Farah. In it, Akin said he won't let any media attacks tamp down his desire to stand up for the truth of his original message, nor will he back down from those in his own party who wish he'd just go home and stay quiet.
Republicans who "cower" in fear of the liberal media will only encourage the momentum toward a new American society ruled by a type of thought police, he said.
Akin told Farah he urges all Americans to stand up against the "Saul Alinsky" tactics of left-wing politicians and activists, whom he says are more interested in "character assassination" than having a rational, objective discussion about important issues.
He explained the controversial "legitimate rape" remark.
"When you unabbreviate it, it means a legitimate case of rape. Police write about legitimate rape as an abbreviation when they're doing an investigation or whatever," Akin said. "But by abbreviating it instead of saying 'legitimate case of rape' it gave the Democrats an opportunity to try to make fun of me, to twist my meaning all out of shape, and then they went from there to all kinds of absurdities, things that were exactly opposite of things I'd said in that comment. So that was the beginning of it."
He used his personal experience of being a media whipping boy to take a deeper look at what he sees as a developing pattern in politics and culture. He lays out his thoughts and findings in "Firing Back."
A pattern of abusive tactics?
The pattern can be seen in the media frenzies over television personality Paula Deen and others who have seen their careers destroyed by an inadvertent comment that got fanned into a flaming ball of hysterical "news." Conservative columnist George Will also got pummeled recently in the national media for daring to question the government's statistics showing one in every five college women experiences rape.
"What happened to me is kind of a pattern for a number of things that are going on," Akin said. "And one of them is that idea of just basically assassinating someone's character by trying to misunderstand something, act outraged, repeat it endlessly, ask people if they're outraged; they don't even know what you said, they're outraged. And so you try to create this snowball effect, which is a character assassination."
Contrast that, he says, with the message of the Bible.
"In God's word it says, 'Don't bear false witness,' but we're doing that all over the place, and that's all considered fair nowadays."
Perhaps most troubling was how the leader of the free world found time right after Akin's comment to jump in and fan the flames.
"The views expressed were offensive," Obama said in a press conference. "Rape is rape, and the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what type of rapes people are talking about doesn't make sense to the American people and certainly doesn't make sense to me. Do me a favor and please explain whose idea it is to have a bunch of politicians making health-care decisions on the part of women."
"You’re talking about a hypocrisy here," Akin said of Obama's comments, "about somebody who's talking out of both sides of their mouth," since the president's Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is about politicians making healthcare decisions for everyone, not just women.
But Akin sees another double standard in Obama's reaction to his comment.
"They're always saying they're pro-choice. We're for choice. We have our choice, you have your choice," Akin said. "But it's a bunch of baloney. They're not for choice at all. Because in Obamacare your choice is to take your money and use it to pay for a form of abortion. There's no choice here at all.
"This is like the communist version of choice," he continued. "You can make any choice you want as long as you do what I tell you. And of course even the Supreme Court saw through that and that's why they made the recent decision in the Hobby Lobby (case)."
The bottom-line issue avoided
Farah pointed out that while people are still talking about the Jaco interview, few have addressed the bottom-line issue that was being discussed in that interview, which is the right to life and whether that should extend to a child conceived by rape.
Studies have shown that women have a 5 percent chance, generally, among all men and women having sex, of getting pregnant. Yet, as Farah pointed out, the one in 20 estimate is totally illegitimate in cases of rape "because on the basis of what you talked about, every study, including two brand new studies that came out this year, show that stress dramatically reduces that figure. Why is this so hard for people to zero in on, why do we want to deny the science?"
"To a degree, all of this in a way is sort of a big parenthesis leading up to the big question," Akin responded. "And this is what I was being asked by Jaco, actually, because he was trying to put me on the spot. And the question is this. Does a child conceived in rape deserve the same chance at life as a child conceived in love? That's the big question. For me, I've answered it. The answer is yes."
Akin said people who dare to contest the accepted narrative on issues dear to the hearts of progressives should expect the public shaming tactics that were carried out against him. George Will experienced it after his commentary on college rapes, and Rush Limbaugh got a taste of it when he spoke out against Sandra Fluke’s claim to a right of free birth control. Some even accused Will of having a "Todd Akin moment."
"It's become this issue that you just can't discuss rationally and objectively in the public arena. Why?" Farah asked.
Akin said it goes back to 1960s communist activist Saul Alinsky, regarding as the founder of community organizing, and his "Rules for Radicals" tome, which provided strategies for leftists to defeat their enemies.
"You try to destroy their character, you make fun of them and you don't deal with the issue or the question at hand. You label them as, 'Oh they're sexist or they're racist or they're this," Akin said. "And you repeat it endlessly, and you put labels on them, and you have such a big megaphone with the liberal media; and then they're increasingly training people not to stick your head up, because they'll label you with the same label as someone else.
"It's a form of very destructive politics," Akin said. "It's the attempt to destroy people's credibility. And it's used by the left very effectively to the point that the Republicans cower and are afraid of it."
Akin said people ask him if he's afraid that maybe he's getting the Republicans in trouble by writing a book or taking a strong stance on issues deemed too controversial, such as the value of a human life.
"My belief is, it's time in America for heroes, for people who have the courage to stand up for what's right, to call truth truth, for calling what they're doing a terrible tactic to destroy America and to destroy other people," he said. "And just call them out on that. And anything that's based on lies and distrust, untruth. We just have to fight these things, and we have to take them head on and stop being afraid of these guys."
He said he believes many Americans still value life and would intervene to help protect innocent lives that are in danger. He points in his book to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as the most obvious example of what he calls the "selflessness" of basic American values.
"There is inside America a certain core of people that have certain basic beliefs that have always been precious to the heritage of our nation … and part of those beliefs is to give yourself to help others … to be there to help the other guy," Akin said. "It's not me first. There's a selflessness among a whole lot of very decent Americans that may not be very famous or popular. And you saw that on Sept. 11. I make a case in 'Firing Back.' That, you see, what people practice, they become. You take a guy like Todd Beamer. He's grown up and he's learned to do things for other people, to assume some leadership. He's strong and he cares about other people. And when it comes game time on September 11, he is leading the charge to save those of us who are in the Capitol building.
"Now, skip over to somebody else, that I don't know the name of, who had spent their life trying to get something for nothing, and when September 11 happened, they were some of the looters, which we care to forget about," he continued. "And those are the choices that every American has before them. Do you want to be part of the solution or do you want to be just one of those people who is kind of going into the mist of darkness, where there's no freedom, no satisfaction, no joy?"