Welcome to O-pinion. I'm associate editor Fannie Flono, your host today.
Kristol writes in his entreaty, "You've bewailed and denounced and threatened. Now it's time to hearken to the words of Lincoln, in his great Temperance Address."
In that address, Lincoln counseled "unassuming persuasion" was the order of the day.
Said Lincoln: "It is an old and a true maxim, that a 'drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.' So with men. If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart, which, say what he will, is the great highroad to his reason, and which, when once gained, you will find but little trouble in convincing his judgment of the justice of your cause."
Kristol goes on to say that Akin has "given plenty of indications he remains open to leaving the field. Now is the time for kind, unassuming—and private—persuasion by conservatives, by pro-life and pro-marriage advocates, by serious people who've worked with Akin and by his fellow Missourians... I suspect by the Democratic convention, by Labor Day, Akin will have stepped aside."
But to get to Kristol's destination, Akin will have to travel a long way from his knuckle-headed belief that he only made a slip of the tongue with "one word and one sentence on one day" and that his staying in the race will "strengthen our country... and ultimately, the Republican Party" because he is "standing on a principle of what America is."
Those words sound almost as nonsensical as his contention that bodies of women who are raped can shut down and prevent pregnancy. He's back-tracked on the words but not very convincingly, noting to conservative broadcaster and FOX television show host Sean Hannity that he had heard a medical report which led him to believe that the female body rejects unwanted pregnancies. Hannity should have pressed him on where he could have heard such crazy talk. But he may already know.
It's the center piece contention of Dr. Jack Willke, founder of the International Right to Life Federation, a supporter of Akin's who came to his defense this week. Willke pointed reporters to his book, "Abortion, Questions and Answers," noting that "there is a full chapter on this issue, fully documented, which completely exonerates [Akin]."
The book, first published in 1971, asserts that "assault rape" rarely results in pregnancy because the assault traumatizes the woman and makes her body less habitable. It's "just downright unusual" for a woman to get pregnant from a rape, Willke said this week to the LA Times. He contends that there are only about one or two pregnancies for every 1,000 women who are raped every year.
But those statements are directly contradicted by statistics from the Journal of American Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that found more than 32,000 women experience rape-related pregnancy every year.
Unfortunately, some conservative antiabortion activists prefer Willke's theory to scientific fact. Akin is one. So this was no slip of the tongue. It's an ideological position that is playing a big role in conservative policy-setting. In that arena, medical science and women's needs are taking a secondary role.
That's wrong, whether Akin pulls out of the Senate race by Labor Day, as Kristol predicts, or by September 25, the last day his name can be taken off the ballot. Democrat or Republican, male or female, we all should be troubled by it.