Y'KNOW, it's no accident that the birth of the modern political Gotcha! moment can be traced to the same year Barbara Walters lisped her way to a million-dollar contract.
In 1976, kids, in a Presidential campaign, Jerry Ford said something like "There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe". It was immediately seized upon as evidence that he'd never heard of the Warsaw Pact.
This has led to the point where it's no longer necessary to even consider the meaning of words, let alone to recognize that people sometimes misspeak. Or, conversely, where Representative Akin can use "misspeaking" as a (temporary, in his case) defense when his meaning was absolutely clear.
And it's the people who are supposed to be the guardians of words and meaning who are debasing the stuff. I know I'm not the only person to point this out, and heaven knows I'll never be the first, but the real semantic questions here are a) what, exactly, is Mitt Romney, and the rest of the Republican establishment, objecting to, beyond being saddled with their own positions, suitably in a nutshell? and b) how is it we do not recognize, and pummel, public figures such as Akin who so obviously are not conversant with the issues they spew about, or even the "principles" they suppose us to imagine they hold? Akin's hardly the first religious maroon to get hisself elected to Congress. The question is how we've gone forty years without the Right to Lifers being questioned, philosophically, theologically, or scientifically? Akin could only be that unclear on the concept if he'd never been required to answer an essay question. He didn't erroneously substitute a word, except that he fumbled his lines. He substituted patent nonsense for thought. And neither is original with him.
And it just happens, then, that he slid all the way down the slope. If there's no exception for rape, according to the Republican party, no exception for incest, none for viability, genetic disaster, or the life of the mother--until it's the mother of Rick Santorum's children--then say so. If there is, then on what basis? If there is, then the termination of a pregnancy is not murder.
Those people have been abusing the English language for five decades, now.