Remember when Todd Akin apologized for “mispeaking”? And then expected everybody to forgive and forget? It seemed likely then that he didn’t get it when it comes to apologies, and now we have the proof. He seems to think, for instance, that President Obama has been apologizing, not just to the Libyans, but to “all people, a lot of countries who are enemies.”
We know why Mitt Romney wants to ding the President when he has the decency to disavow a nasty, insulting movie, produced under highly questionable circumstances at the same time that he condemns the violence it spawned, and takes practical steps to bring the perpetrators to justice. Of course, expressing distaste for something does not constitute an apology, but in Romney’s case the effort to construe it as such probably has something to do with the desperation of a man who is grabbing at straws – like the weak and thoroughly discredited “apology tour” meme – in order to detract from his own lack of qualifications for the office he aspires to win.
But Akin is a different sort of creature. If he weren’t always trying to tell us that folks who disagree with his beliefs hate God, hate freedom, or hate America, I’d think that he was trying to get the upper hand by demonstrating his Christian chops and turning the other cheek towards Romney, who was, don’t forget, quick to disavow the embarrassing Akin. But, alas for this theory, Akin’s evidence for his belief that the President apologizes too much is of a piece with his proclivity to claim that liberals hate good things. He evidently thinks he reads the President’s brainwaves, which tell him that Obama is “just apologizing because he didn’t like America.”
Can we deduce from Akin’s comments that he apologized for his own ugly and ignorant comments because he doesn’t like himself? Same logic, if you think that the President is acting on behalf of the US. To be honest, it seems reasonable to me: I certainly don’t think Akin seems very likeable.
Of course, Akin is right that we did nothing wrong – which is why President Obama did not apologize. He did, however, condemn a rather virulent film that seems likely to have been a set-up meant to provoke a reaction in the Middle-East. Does Akin think that the Obama administration should embrace the film’s message? If he is simply concerned with free speech, the White House statement (as well as the statement from the embassy) affirmed that principle, while disavowing sympathy with the movie’s message, which affirmation was repeated most recently in Hillary Clinton’s statement:
… our country does have a long tradition of free expression, which is enshrined in our Constitution and in our law. We do not stop individual citizens from expressing their views no matter how distasteful they may be. […] There are of course different views around the world about the outer limits of free speech and free expression, but there should be no debate about the simple proposition that violence in response to speech is not acceptable.
I would welcome a serious clarification from Rep. Akin about just what he is trying to say. If you want to have a go at the meta-message, here you have it in Akin’s own words: