“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down…” — Missouri GOP Senate Candidate Todd Akin

“…I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” — Indiana GOP Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock.

“Legitimate” rape?

“God-intended” rape?

As a Republican-oriented public relations consultant/practitioner/educator for three decades, including eight years in the California Office of the Governor, I will try my best to not add my name to the long list of GOP recriminators or to suggest, “If they only listened to me, (Mitt) Romney would have won…”


Having said that, I do believe in the power of metaphors. Here are two not terribly bright middle-aged white guys making incredibly inexpedient and foolish comments about a highly charged subject that offend more than half of the electorate in one fell swoop. They became poster children of perceived GOP insensitivity.

What were they thinking? They obviously weren’t thinking. When the four-letter word “rape” with an inappropriate adjective comes into the mind of one of these political rocket scientists, aren’t there any internal systems that can shut down the voice box before it is too late?

Guess who won Missouri (10) and Indiana’s (11) electoral votes: Mitt Romney.

Guess who lost the U.S. Senate seats from Missouri and Indiana that should have been included in the GOP win column? Messieurs’  Akin and Mourdock.

Hello fellow GOPers, we cannot consistently win if we are relegated to being the party of south of the Mason-Dixon Line clueless white dudes. There are simply not enough aging white guys (or white voters for that matter, down 77 to 72 percent in just eight years) to go around. The Democrats know this. Why don’t we understand this undeniable fact?

Is this to suggest that discerning women (e.g., married with kids) and minorities (e.g., Hispanics) don’t vote Republican? Obviously some do, but not enough Seventy-one percent of Hispanics cast their votes for President Obama. Once again we are confronted with the age-old question: How does the GOP expand its tent, if it ever hopes to move away from being the eternal “minority party” (and the party that is increasingly seen as insensitive to minorities).

Am I suggesting that the GOP abandon its cherished principles of individual freedom, limited government, strong national defense and fiscal sanity? Absolutely not.

What I am recommending is the Republican Party needs to come into the 21st Century, maybe even kicking and screaming, and to realize the ground is shifting beneath its collective feet.

Can we avoid immediately yelling “amnesty” whenever someone (e.g., George W. Bush) even breathes the words, “immigration reform?”

Can we come to realize that in order to have any meaningful reform to massive deficit-impacting entitlements (e.g., 60 percent of the federal budget is devoted to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) that there must be some discussion about revenues including capping income tax and business deductions? It’s called two-way compromise.

Can we come to the realization that same-sex marriage is not going away, that the abortion issue has been fought to a convenient draw, and that religion needs to stay behind the pulpit and out of the bedroom?

What makes me most fearful is the prospect of a Republican civil war between the “Realos” (realists) and the “Fundis” (fundamentalists) similar to the internal skirmishing that existed for years among the members of Germany’s Green Party (Die Grünen). The realists will urge compromise and sensitivity and most likely will be branded as RINOs (Republicans In Name Only). The fundamentalists will insist that both John McCain and Mitt Romney were too moderate. They will demand that a more ideological candidate be selected to run for the ultimate open seat in 2016, the recipe for glorious defeat.

Some will rationalize that it is difficult to unseat an incumbent president, particularly one that is personally popular, even in the worst of economic situations…clearly the case this year. Some will say that the devastating Akin and Mourdock quotes did not stick to Romney, but they did throw the party off message and force Romney et al. to play defense, when they could have been consistently hammering Obama on the economy.


Certainly the Republican Party has been behind the eight-ball before. The Goldwater debacle in 1964 laid the seeds for a comeback in 1968. Watergate, Nixon’s resignation and Ford’s pardon of Nixon preceded the Reagan Revolution of the 1980s.

The stories of the GOP’s ultimate demise have been told before by gleeful Democrats and their media allies. They are being told again now. There is a future for the Republican Party, but it needs to change. And it needs to put a sock into the mouths of those who try to legitimize and bring God into an ugly crime against women.

Better yet, it needs messages that work for the majority, carried by skillful candidates and incorporated into winning campaigns.