Updated: November 27, 2012 10:54AM
The latest Republican outrage over abortion is not only about rape and what God wants or doesn’t want.
It is not only about a woman’s right to choose.
Nor is it solely about what might offend the elusive “female voter.”
The latest flap about abortion is really about tolerance and this big question: exactly what kind of public servants do we want?
Do we want absolutists, politicians so extreme in their views that they find it virtually impossible to compromise in any realm? Some Democrats, it’s important to add, suffer from this affliction as well.
Or do we want politicians who are willing to consider the value of a foe’s point of view, public servants who refuse to let ideology drive every decision?
Consider Richard Mourdock, the Indiana Republican locked in a tight race for a U.S. Senate seat.
On Tuesday, Mourdock explained why he doesn’t support abortion, even in the case of a rape: “I’ve struggled with it myself a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God,” he said. “And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.”
If Mourdock is so presumptuous to tell a woman who has been raped not only what to do, but to insist a resulting pregnancy is God’s will, it’s likely that compromise for him doesn’t come easily on anything. In fact, during the primary, Mourdock made clear his unwillingness to compromise on his whole political agenda.
The same goes for two other Republicans who recently offered up extreme views.
Senate candidate Todd Akin of Missouri, against all medical evidence, suggested that a rape could not produce a pregnancy.
And Illinois’ very own U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh said, before backtracking, that an abortion is never medically necessary to save the life of a mother.
Walsh is the best local example of this dreaded affliction: extreme in one area, extreme in all. We saw it during his first term in Congress, where he was a loud cheerleader of destructive government gridlock.
It makes him, and those who share his uncompromising views, pretty lousy public servants.