Smith answered, "I lived something similar to that with my own family. She chose life, and I commend her for that. She knew my views. But fortunately for me, I didn't have to. . . . She chose the way I thought. Don't get me wrong; it wasn't rape."
Scolforo: "Similar how?"
Smith: "Having a baby out of wedlock.
Scolforo: "That is similar to rape?"
Smith: "No, no, no. Well, put yourself in a father's position. Yes, I mean it is similar."
Smith, incidentally and like Akin, is not attending the national Republican confab in Tampa, joining the Romney campaign's ever-expanding list of untouchables, ne'er-do-wells, foot-in-mouthers, and don't-even-think-about-its.
Let's give Smith his due. He's a self-financed, wholly inexperienced candidate who isn't particularly savvy with the press.
Then again, he's a self-financed, inexperienced candidate who, because he's a multimillionaire, hasn't bothered learning the ropes while attempting to launch his elective career in the U.S. Senate, the Augusta National of politics. No baby steps, if you'll pardon the expression, for this guy.
The reason Smith was asked such an indelicate question is because he and his fellow conservatives are on a crusade to outlaw a procedure that's been legal for four decades. They would prohibit abortion even in the cases of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is in danger, because that's how much they care about women.
Recovering moderate Mitt Romney would much rather discuss the economy, jobs, reducing the government and how much he loves his very large and photogenic family, while red-meat conservatives like Smith continue to go for the jugular.
And, by jugular, I mean uterine.
Why are tea party conservatives so obsessed with being up in our lady parts? For a party wishing to close the gender gap, conservative Republicans have an odd way of wooing the female electorate, demanding that the government regulate our bodies when we're pregnant yet uninvolved before or after to the point of disinterest.
They're all about the embryo. Children, mothers, and birth control, not so much.
My favorite convention-related joke coursing through the web is a Hurricane Issac weather map accompanied by the headline "Giant uterus heads for GOP convention," wedding conservatives' twin fixations of denying climate change and thwarting women's reproductive health. (If more Republicans believed in global warming, maybe they wouldn't have scheduled their late-summer gathering on the Gulf Coast.)
Fortunately for Smith, his daughter made the right choice, that is, the one that was best for him. Though it's unclear what the candidate meant by "But fortunately for me, I didn't have to . . ." Force her to have his grandchild?
Less fortunately for Smith, Pennsylvanians aren't inclined to choose the way he thinks. In a recent Inquirer poll, he trailed Sen. Bob Casey by a positively Santorum 19 points. Casey is also opposed to abortion, though he would make exceptions in the case of rape, incest, or if the mother's health is endangered. The first two incidents would, by their very horror, seem to endanger the mother's mental health should she be forced to have the child.
Frankly, I'm grateful for candidates like Smith and Akin who speak their minds, giving truth to stupid rather than airbrushing their thoughts for the general electorate.
Unfiltered blurting tends to happen when science is denied, logic eschewed, empathy abandoned, and candidates remain so cocooned in a warm bath of money and sycophants as to believe that their every utterance is a jewel.
Akin, Mr. Legitimate Rape, is now known to four out of five voters, according to a new poll, though perhaps not in the way he might have wished. Tom Smith, a candidate who has been as forgettable as his name, is now linked to rape and his unedited thoughts on his daughter's unintended pregnancy, in more than a million Google items and growing.
But then, Smith made no abortions with no exceptions one of his core issues. He's not ready for the Senate. He's not even close.
Contact Karen Heller at 215-854-2586 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow on Twitter @kheller.