Junk Politics

Fringe Europeans Channel Todd Akin

Over at the Monkey Cage blog, Erik Voeten showcases a type of American leadership we would do best to avoid.

A Dutch parliamentarian, Kees van der Staaij, thought it was a good idea to echo Todd Akin and pronounce on Dutch television that it is a “fact” that women almost never become pregnant after rape. He went as far as to put a specific number on it: 0.5% (The Dutch newspaper NRC went through the trouble of looking at studies on which this number could have possibly been based and found, naturally, that it was hogwash).

So why would a politician say sh*t like this? He clearly was aware of Akin’s remarks and the responses to it, although he now purports to have been completely blindsided (in Dutch) by the outrage his comments have generated. The answer is pretty straightforward: there are situations where this type of negative attention may help a fringe party such as Van der Staaij’s SGP.