It really is ok to stop talking

If you’re a public official or spokesperson, coming up with a great quote or sound-bite to encapsulate an idea or issue can be challenging. But what can be even more difficult for many is knowing when to stop talking once they’ve delivered the message.

Celeste Greig, in comments to a reporter at the site of the state GOP spring convention in Sacramento ran head-first into this challenge…and came away bloody.

Celeste Greig on rape and pregnancy

Greig, described in the piece as the President of the California Republican Assembly,  apparently was being critical of former Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin, who probably lost his election because of insensitive and biologically inaccurate comments about rape and pregnancy.

“That was an insensitive remark,” Greig said. “I’m sure he regretted it. He should have come back and apologized.”

Good comment. It served to distance the “new” GOP from the bumbling messaging that hamstrung them last election cycle. But Greig couldn’t just stop there.

“Granted, the percentage of pregnancies due to rape is small because it’s an act of violence, because the body is traumatized.” At this point her companions were probably trying to signal her to stop. But she went on.

“I don’t know what percentage of pregnancies are due to the violence of rape. Because of the trauma the body goes through, I don’t know what percentage of pregnancy results from the act.”

And with those two sentences Greig stepped into the same pile of you-know-what that Akin did. She has been appropriately criticized by California lawmakers and women’s right advocates for essentially endorsing Akin’s ignorance while ironically trying to distance the party from it.

In the words of my esteemed colleague, Edward F. Coghlan, sometimes we need to give people permission to shut up.