Not content to limit his sexist insults to pregnant rape victims, Todd Akin has come up from his debate loss to Senator Claire McCaskill swinging. The Missouri representative stated that in the 2006 debates, McCaskill was more “ladylike” – which he believes shows that the sitting senator feels threatened by his candidacy. Akin had this to say about the debates:
I think we have a very clear path to victory, and apparently Claire McCaskill thinks we do, too, because she was very aggressive at the debate, which was quite different than it was when she ran against Jim Talent. She had a confidence and was much more ladylike (in 2006), but in the debate on Friday she came out swinging, and I think that’s because she feels threatened.
Akin isn’t the first to suggest that a female political opponent needed to act more “ladylike.” In 2008, Hillary Clinton was constantly lambasted by criticism tinged in sexism for her perceived aggression and coldness. Former Pennsylvania Arlen Specter once told Rep. Michele Bachmann, “I’m going to treat you like a lady, now act like one.” Evidently, some men in office aren’t quite adjusted to living in a world so vastly different from the 1950′s.
Of course, the most striking thing about Akin’s comments is that McCaskill didn’t come off as aggressive to anyone observing the debates. McCaskill said that she and Akin weren’t political opposites, and touted her status as a moderate with a history of bipartisanship. The Washington Post wrote that, “Both sides politely said the other was lying.” The Associated Press gave a similar report, observing, “The hour-long debate was largely cordial. Neither candidate interrupted the other. They greeted each other at the start and parted with smiles and brief handshakes.”
Regardless of Akin’s bizarre sexist comments, the Senate race Missouri is still a close one. After all, the state allows any employer to deny their employees contraception coverage, despite the Affordable Care Act. McCaskill and Akin are neck and neck in the conservative state, and it’s unlikely Akin’s views on abortion will affect his chances greatly.