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The irony of Todd Akin

Dan Farber, professor of law | August 21, 2012

Missouri Representative Todd Akin’s views about rape and pregnancy are crazy, and he deserves his current political plight.  The irony is that Akin is by no means the most extreme of the current crop of Senate candidates. In fact, in a recent blog post, I decided not to lump him with the other tea party candidates because his environmental views were more mainstream. For instance, he gives EPA credit for helping to clean up the environment, and he favors some limited actions to address possible climate change.

In contrast, consider the crazy views espoused by some of his fellow tea-partiers:

Richard Mourdock (Indiana): “We are basing our energy policy on the greatest hoax of all time, which is that mankind is changing the climate.”

Ted Cruz (Texas): Agenda 21 (a/k/a the Rio Declaration) “establishes a regime of rules that attempt to bypass Congress and the American people, handing over power over vast areas of the US economy to unelected UN bureaucrats.”

These views are just as crazy as Todd Akin’s.  Mourdock’s fantasy of a worldwide conspiracy of thousands of scientists is laughable, but such theories of mass conspiracies have an ugly history. Cruz’s fantasies about Agenda 21 are equally nutty. Agenda 21 is a well-intentioned but completely toothless endorsement of sustainable development. One commenter on my previous post assured us that Cruz is too smart to believe these things and is simply pandering — but this “defense” seems equally damning to me.

Akin is getting the treatment he deserves.  But why are Mourdock, Cruz, and their ilk getting a free ride from the press and the public?