All I can think is that the nation’s women must be very shocked. What’s that, you say? Such behavior is the norm? Well, that’s the thanks we men get for being so occasionally wonderful.
However, I will admit that the first case I mention subverts my men-are-wonderful premise.
To start the week, Rep. Todd Akin, a conservative Republican from Missouri who is running against incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, made his bid to be mentioned in the “stupidest remark” category of the Guinness Book of World Records.
In a St. Louis TV interview, he said that it was really rare for women who are raped to become pregnant — it isn’t — and then offered a double dose of misinformation to complete the hat trick, the hat being a dunce’s cap.
“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” he said. That notion happens to be unknown to biology, just as the idea of legitimate rapes and illegitimate rapes is unknown to decent human opinion.
When the uproar he had invited began, and all the angels had gotten the heck out of the way for the fool rushing in, he said he misspoke, when we all know that he was just giving voice to the usual political nonsense.
Of course, he later apologized, but there’s no word on whether he sent flowers to all the women in Missouri, floral appreciation being the last hope of the contrite male offender caught with no excuses other than being a man. But enough about my personal life.
Of course, Akin is a Tea Party sympathizer, and cynics, not all of them women, may fairly wonder whether this is what a political party gets when it strives to be populated by people who look to the late 18th century as their era of perfection — an era when women were treated as second-class citizens and could not vote.
Now they do, and those gals own large numbers of doghouses that can house any 18th century male throwback who hasn’t got the memo.
The second case of men behaving badly happened last year but only broke upon incredulous ears this week.
It seems that Rep. Kevin Yoder, a freshman Republican congressman from Kansas, went on a fact-finding trip to the Middle East. One of the facts he discovered was that it’s liberating to go skinny-dipping, at least until the constituents find out. He was in the Sea of Galilee at the time.
You might think that the one spot not to drop trou is a lake venerated by Christians as the place where Jesus walked on water. In retrospect, we now know why: The Lord didn’t want to risk being in the water with any naked politicians.
Politico, which first broke the story, reported that alcohol might have been involved — gosh, you think? — but Yoder denies being drunk. Also, he said it was dark and visibility was limited to only a few feet, surely a blessing to all.
Yoder has apologized, of course, but it does make a person wonder what is up with Republicans from the Midwest. My guess is that the unnatural strain of being conservative takes its toll, causing such gentlemen to let it all hang out so that they may be noticed and taken seriously.
But conservative men redeemed their cause slightly this week when two women were admitted as members of Augusta National Golf Club. It’s only taken 80 years! The pace of progress has been dizzying — it being only 10 years since the club’s exclusion of women first became a major issue.
Let us hope the new members, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina businesswoman Darla Moore, enjoy many happy rounds of golf at Augusta now that the “No Girlz Allowed” sign has been put in the trashcan of history. Of course, club management had an easier time than politicians in making amends — they could just take a mulligan on their past gender discrimination.
As discerning readers may have noticed, it so happens that this week’s headlines of men behaving badly — and men behaving better belatedly — involve conservative-minded men who have been slow to realize that it’s not exclusively a man’s world anymore.
While liberal men are not immune to being jerks, liberalism is by its nature more embracing of social change than conservatism. Historically, women have floated to greater freedom on a liberal tide, the bad nudes from the Sea of Galilee notwithstanding.
Reg Henry is a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.