PostScript would like to begin today by noting that as long as she can remember, politicians seem prone to misstatements: public utterances issued in the heat of political passion, or after too little sleep on the campaign trail, or perhaps an extra glass of Beaujolais — utterances that, when subjected to sober scrutiny, prove embarrassing and require apologies and retractions. Most often in these cases, the politician claims to have “misspoken.”

Such is the case today with Missouri Rep. Todd Akin (R), and his postulation of a state of “legitimate rape,” presumably distinguished from illegitimate rape. Arguing against the need for rape exemptions in anti-abortion laws, he said that he understands that in cases of legitimate rape, there is some biological process — some secretion or whatnot — that rejects the pregnancy. After being universally condemned for this damn-fool assertion that has no basis in fact or science, Rep. Akin contends he had “misspoken.”

Alas, PostScript has heard it is possible to tell when a man has legitimately misspoken — as opposed to accidentally uttered something inane that he really, truly believes. Rep. Akin does not pass this test. The person who has legitimately misspoken invariably secretes a substance — it’s called shame — that makes it clear he has truly and genuinely and accidentally misspoken. There is no hint of this substance in Rep. Akin’s remarks today, so we must regrettably conclude that he is pretending to have misspoken to avoid the consequences of his actions.

Like the illegitimate rape victim of his formulation, therefore, we decree that he gets no chance to expiate his mistake, or to tak eit back and start anew. He must live with it.

This issue is all over the Opinions page today, so PostScript has drawn comments from all over to help determine, as only she is qualified to do, what Rep Akin really meant when he said that crazyness about the special raped-mode women’s bodies go into if they really actually for sure didn’t consent. Other opinionators have theories that lack the scientific basis of Postscript’s.

R.Bornstein knows for certain Akin did not misspeak, because no one who did not believe that could even say it and not INSTANTLY know what a horror it was, and repent of it IMMEDIATELY:

As a former prosecutor I say without reservation that it is impossible for any individual to utter the statements Missouri GOP Senatorial Candidate Rep. Todd Akin did concerning “Legitimate Rape” unless an individual has no idea whatsoever what a horrific crime rape is and that pregnancy is just one consequence for a victim. You can only be as ignorant as Akin if you deliberately insulate yourself from basic decency, basic biology, common sense, and all of American jurisprudence.

Migueldickson also contends Akin did mean what he said because what he said is true. There are illegitimate rapes, and some people, like MiguelDickson, at least two doctors, and Todd Akin, can identify when they happen:

Illegitimate rape is when the woman is making it up, which happens, dear feminist hearts, as most any cop will tell you. It is an easy weapon for a woman to wield, and has been used for centuries.

Republicans will understand this dust-up for what it is, and will still vote for him. Good.

66reki suggests putting Akin in a pond to see if he is lying, which works in other cases:

If a woman is raped, the water will reject her body and she will float - if she’s just making it up, she will sink to the bottom....

Oh wait, I think I’m confusing rape with witchcraft.

DCinND thinks Akin really did want to say what he said, but then regretted it the morning after, now that people were saying he was a despicable moron. He (or, considerably less likely, she) says this:

Wouldn’t “non-legitimate rape” be the kind where a woman gets drunk, has sex with a guy, doesn’t remember consenting, and then cries rape? Happens all the time. But of course pointing that out would be an even worse offense than what this column is criticizing.

All of these comments exemplify why it is so much easier to use science to determine if the gentleman has produced the chemical compound for shame. Otherwise we’re all just ignorantly pontificating about things we do not understand because we really don’t want to understand them, because our moral beliefs depend entirely on seeing the world the way we see it, facts be damned. Or ignored.

In case you don’t have a shame-testing kit in your personal laboratory, this is how you can tell someone actually “misspoke”: The person fully contradicts the thing he said that he did not mean. The person apologizes to the people he hurt, making it clear he understands how entirely wrong he was. The person demonstrates an appropriate amount of agony and disappointment in himself. The person changes the way he lives his life. The person grows a soul.