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Canseco and Shelton exposed by Akin
To be sure, Texas Republicans can be easily drawn into the controversy over Todd Akin’s remarks about "legitimate rape." Either directly through bill sponsorship or indirectly through related votes or support from controversial donors, Texas Republicans have shown tolerance and support for the Akin view that "forcible rape" can be distinguished from other rape and that women who are sexually assaulted should be forced to give birth to the child of their rapist.
The real problem for Republicans caused by Missouri GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin’s outrageous comments regarding "legitimate rape" is that Akin had the audacity to state aloud and explicitly the policy positions and overall attitude of many Republican candidates who otherwise present themselves as sensible. That’s why national Republican operatives like Karl Rove and John Cornyn tried so hard to convince Akin to drop out of the Missouri Senate race. They are not nearly as concerned about losing the one Missouri Senate seat as they are with the collateral political damage done by Akin. He has exposed vulnerable Republicans who now must be held accountable for their own extreme and insensitive views and votes on rape, women’s health, and basic public safety.
Quico Canseco (left) and Todd Akin
Francisco “Quico” Canseco must explain support for Akin legislation
Every single Member of the Texas Republican Congressional Delegation cosponsored the same billsupported by Akin and Paul Ryan that attempts to distinguish between "forcible rape" and other sexual assaults. Most vulnerable among them is Congressman Francisco Canseco who is locked in a very tough election against highly regarded Democratic challenger Pete Gallego. Canseco is already in trouble given his vote for the Paul Ryan budget that dismantles Medicare. He also must overcome Republican party hostility to Latino voters and Mitt Romney’s bizarre notion of "self-deportation." Canseco should immediately explain his views on rape, incest and his ties to the Akin/Ryan bill.
Mark Shelton’s votes and donors expose uncaring views toward victims of rape
An even better example of the collateral damage and political exposure caused by Akin and the extreme views within the Republican Party is Republican Senate District 10 candidate Mark Shelton. Shelton is the GOP’s default candidate running against popular State Senator Wendy Davis after Republicans failed to recruit and field someone more credible.
Shelton is a doctor, so Republican operatives assume he will receive the benefit of doubt from voters on matters related to healthcare and public safety. However, Mark Shelton was one of only 8 Members of the Texas State House who cast a vote AGAINST legislation calling on Texas law enforcement agencies to reduce the backlog of untested DNA evidence in rape cases. The measure was a straight-forward law enforcement measure to enhance and speed the identification and prosecution of rapists. Incredibly, Shelton broke with all 31 state senators and more than 90 percent of the entire House membership – both Republicans and Democrats – to take the position of shielding rapists from investigation and prosecution.
Shelton’s indifference to rape victims is further amplified by his ties to former Republican Gubernatorial candidate Clayton Williams. The only distinct memory of Williams for most Texans is his outrageously insensitive and flippant "relax and enjoy it" statement on rape. Clayton Williams is a strong supporter of Mark Shelton and has contributed over $13,000 to him.
Mark Shelton is attempting to prop-up his troubled campaign by presenting himself as a caring doctor. The caring doctor image Shelton seeks, however, is badly undermined by a voting record and political campaign that is hostile to women in general and uncaring about rape victims in particular.
Shelton (left) and Clayton Williams