Opinion: Columnists

Before 'legitimate rape,' there was 'rape-rape'

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Dear President Obama:

Nice to hear you're the guy who's now all against people "qualifying" and "parsing" and "slicing" about rape. But where were you three years ago, pal, when there were "qualifying" and "parsing" and "slicing" aplenty?

Not only were there "qualifying" and "parsing" and "slicing," but there was also widespread support in the entertainment industry for a convicted child rapist.

You were absolutely right when you used a news conference to condemn Missouri Rep. Todd Akin's comments about this "legitimate rape" business.

"The views expressed were offensive," you rightly told the American people. "Rape is rape. And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we are talking about doesn't make sense to the American people and doesn't make sense to me."

The "parsing" and "qualifying" and "slicing" might not make sense to you, Mr. President, but they make perfect sense to one Whoopi Goldberg, the comedienne and actress who also serves as one of the way too many co-hosts on the daytime television show known as "The View."

Three years ago, when American legal officials were trying to get director Roman Polanski extradited back here so he could serve his prison term for drugging and sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in 1977, it was Goldberg who decided she'd "qualify" and "parse" and "slice" the crime Polanski committed.

"It wasn't rape-rape," Goldberg said of Polanski's despicable act. "It was something else, but I don't believe it was rape-rape."

Polanski pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of having sex with a minor. But in these parts, when a grown up has sex with a 13-year-old child, it is at least known as "statutory rape." And, as you reminded Akin, Mr. President, and as you should have -- but didn't -- remind Ms. Goldberg three years ago: "Rape is rape."

Your remarks about Akin didn't end with how we shouldn't call rape anything but what it is. No, you tried to make political hay out of the matter. You continued with this nonsense: "So what I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn't have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women. ... Although these particular comments have led Gov. Romney and other Republicans to distance themselves, I think the underlying notion that we should be making decisions on behalf of women for their health care decisions -- or qualifying forcible rape versus nonforcible rape -- I think those are broader issues, and that is a significant difference in approach between me and the other party."

So, in your peculiar worldview, it's Republicans and conservatives that do all the "qualifying" about "forcible" rape versus "nonforcible" rape.

It occurs to me that Ms. Goldberg is neither a conservative nor a Republican. In fact, it would come as no surprise to me that she supports YOU in your bid to be re-elected president of the United States.

Ditto for all those Hollywood types that opposed Polanski being extradited back here from Switzerland after officials there took him into custody back in 2009. I'm betting there's nary a Republican nor conservative in that crowd either, and that plenty of them support your re-election and might have even contributed money to it.

Finally, Mr. President, although you tried to lump all Republicans into the Todd Akin bin, I feel compelled to remind you that there are pro-choice Republicans. One of them is former Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich, who heads Mitt Romney's campaign in that state.

Mr. President, can you name one prominent pro-life Democrat?

Examiner Columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.

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Gregory Kane

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The Washington Examiner