Who Heart Huckabee?

Liberals in this country have long derided the Republicans for waging a “War on Women” and former Arkansas governor and presidential hopeful, and current Fox News host, Mike Huckabee is tired of it. Speaking at the Republican National Committee winter meeting on Thursday, Huckabee threw the accusation right back at the Democrats.

“I think it’s time Republicans no longer accept listening to the Democrats talk about a ‘war on women.’ The fact is the Republicans don’t have a war on women, they have a war for women, to empower them to be something other than victims of their gender.”

I’m not sure when the Republicans accepted the Democrats talking about the alleged ‘war on women’ but okay, let’s roll with that.

“If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing them for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it. Let’s take that discussion all across America.”

All right, let’s follow this path all the way downstream and see what rabbit hole we emerge from.

Huckabee says the Republican party is fighting for women and trying to empower them. They are doing this by recognizing that women don’t need birth control provided to them by “Uncle Sugar.” (Let’s avoid unpacking that and just say it’s a version of the government that provides a lot of handouts.) Instead, the Republicans pay homage to how strong women are by recognizing their ability to control their sex drive.

I guess all the women who have been choosing to take birth control have just been brainwashed by the liberal Uncle Sugar? But they’re strong, so how did that happen? How can you reconcile those two points?

I’m also curious how women are empowered by taking away options. It would seem that if you believe in their strength, you would trust them to turn down the free birth control and instead control their libido. Taking away the option means you don’t trust them and are trying to force them into that path. Empowerment means taking people out of rigid structures and giving them the freedom to choose for themselves.

But Huckabee wanted to take the discussion all across America, and he got his wish. His comments became widely reported, and the backlash was sudden and strong. Sure, there have been plenty of random goofballs like me struggling to figure out the interior logic, but actual influential people have also weighed in on what his arguments would mean for people based on the politics he’s arguing. For instance, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund released the following statement:

“The problem isn’t what Mike Huckabee says–it’s what he and too many other politicians believe. These politicians need a basic anatomy and sex ed course. Birth control is basic, preventive health care for women. It helps women plan their pregnancies and manage their lives, and many women use it for a variety of other medical reasons, including treatment of endometriosis that can lead to infertility. The fact that Mike Huckabee doesn’t understand what birth control does is a perfect illustration of why decisions about birth control should be left to a woman and her doctor, without interference from politicians.”

Huckabee, of course, had a reply ready for the critics: that he had made virtually identical comments on his Fox News show with no backlash, so any criticism is just manufactured by liberals who can’t handle his real talk.

“Guess what liberals? If you can’t stand to look at yourself in the mirror, then get ready for more of this talk, because conservatives are going to continue to fight back against your destructive policies towards women and families.”

Oddly enough, these Democratic policies that are destructive toward women and families have not been doing much to turn away women, who still register Democrat far more often than Republican, or even independent, regardless of age. So even if we accept the bizarre proclamation that taking away privileges empowers anyone, we again have to wonder if Huckabee believes women are just deluded or brainwashed. Perhaps the war on women is again to their own benefit, toughening them up. After all, whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. That’s how wars work, right?

Huckabee wanted his argument to go across America, and when it did, he blamed the swift backlash on a coordinated liberal effort, even though disparate groups were quick to decry his words clearly without time to organize a secret meeting. And I’m not sure when Democrats were suddenly the organized, on-point party in this country. It seems much more likely that the self-selected audience that follows your show would have fewer criticisms than the country at large.

But at least we’re still just addressing this topic as women needing to control themselves since they’re the ones who get pregnant. Us guys still get off free and easy.

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