On ABC’s “This Week,” Richard Mourdock’s (R) offensive recent comments on rape and abortion were a topic of conversation, and the Obama campaign’s Stephanie Cutter noted that Mitt Romney stood by Mourdock, pandering to “the far extreme right wing.”
Newt Gingrich shared a different perspective.
Calling the issue “nonsense,” the former House Speaker said, “Every candidate I know, every decent American I know condemns rape. OK, so why can’t people like Stephanie Cutter get over it?”
I suspect that was a rhetorical question, but Gingrich appeared to be missing the point. To my knowledge, no one has suggested that Mourdock sympathizes with rapists or condones rape.
Rather, there are three other reasons this has become controversial. First, it’s just not common for U.S. Senate candidates to argue, out loud and on television, that rape pregnancies are divine creations. Second, the underlying policy point – that the government should force women impregnated by rapists to take their pregnancies to term – is quickly becoming a norm in Republican politics, embraced by Mitt Romney’s platform and running mate.
And finally, there’s the fact that Romney, an enthusiastic Mourdock supporter, has been reluctant to distance himself from the right-wing candidate, and refused to pull his endorsement advertisement, even after the rape comments.
Gingrich’s “get over it” comments rankle, not just because he’s sympathetic to Mourdock, but because he’s suggesting Democrats and proponents of reproductive rights should simply overlook the story altogether. The former Speaker, in this case, not only thinks Cutter is wrong, Gingrich also thinks Cutter shouldn’t be bothered by those who think rape pregnancies are “something that God intended to happen.”