Many politicians aren’t above tailoring their opinions to suit what people want to hear, sometimes zigging this way for one specific audience and then zagging for another. Take Bob Marshall, a Virginia GOP delegate now running for Congress. We previously featured Marshall on this blog in 2010, after he said this when he opposed funding Planned Parenthood:
“The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children. In the Old Testament, the first born of every being, animal and man, was dedicated to the Lord. There’s a special punishment, Christians would suggest.”
So, simply put, disabled children are God’s way to punish women who had an abortion.
When the heat of subsequent news stories made Marshall a little uncomfortable, he tried to weasel his way out by denying what he’d said:
“A story by Capital News Service regarding my remarks at a recent press conference opposing taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood conveyed the impression that I believe disabled children are a punishment for prior abortions. No one who knows me or my record would imagine that I believe or intended to communicate such an offensive notion. I have devoted a generation of work to defending disabled and unwanted children, and have always maintained that they are special blessings to their parents.”
Will the real Bob Marshall please stand up?
In it, Marshall appears unbowed.
Unlike [Todd] Akin, who appeared to be speaking extemporaneously when he said women’s bodies know how to “shut down” pregnancies in cases of “legitimate rape,” Mr. Marshall’s comments aren’t gaffes. Speaking before a pro-life group last year, Mr. Marshall offered a long and detailed argument that Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s majority opinion in the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage was unsympathetic to social conservatives. But it was the statement with which he capped his remarks that stood out.
“For all I know, Kennedy’s a homosexual,” he said. “You can’t be doing some of these things without this kind of conclusion.”
Like many of his other comments, Mr. Marshall stands by it.
He also has no regrets about his peculiar take on incest and rape.
When asked about abortion in the case of incest, Marshall replied that sometimes incest is voluntary. In response to abortions in the case of rape, Marshall said, “Your origins should not be held against you [referring to the victim’s unborn child]. The woman becomes a sin-bearer of the crime, because the right of a child predominates over the embarrassment of the woman.”
Marshall isn’t exactly Mr. Popular among his colleagues:
Among fellow lawmakers, Mr. Marshall is barely tolerated in his own party anymore. His hard-line stands and controversial rhetoric have relegated him to committee assignments in Richmond that do not reflect his seniority. He doesn’t attend caucus meetings.
Even some of his most ardent cheerleaders consider Marshall “pretty far out there,” as well as “wacky” and “nutty.”
In six weeks, he will face his GOP colleague Barbara Comstock in a primary that is currently — believe it or not — too close to call.