In what would prove to be a tragic effort to regroup after losing elections due to the inability to talk about women’s issues intelligently, Republican Party leaders met to discuss ways they could appeal to women voters. Unfortunately, their keynote speaker was Fmr. Governor Mike Huckabee who decided to riff on women’s libidos and birth control.
“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 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,” Huckabee said. “Let’s take that discussion all across America.”
The charge is that Democrats, by providing access to birth control and having birth control be covered in Obamacare, think women are unable to control their sexual urges. It’s a pretty weak argument, even if you understand it.
The Huckabee speech and its convoluted reasoning and delivery plays into the central premise of the Democrats’ attack on the GOP – they don’t understand women nor how to appeal to them. This was best evidenced in 2012 by Senate candidate Todd Akin making odd claims about the female reproductive system and using terms like “legitimate rape” which led in part to the “War on Women” frame.
Huckabee’s discussion of the female libido, how it works or doesn’t work, is also disturbing. And his attempt to claim Democrats lack respect for female self-control due to advancing policies that allow for assistance with obtaining birth control is, at best, hamhanded.
Planned Parenthood responded to Huckabee’s comments:
“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.”
It seems as though the GOP is gearing up to play right into the Democrats’ hands with women’s issues once again. Which is actually a bad dynamic because the more the Republican Party focuses on gender issues it knows nothing about, the less we have a serious conversation on our broken economy. The Democrats will take the easy points every time – showing the Republicans to be bigoted idiots.
As long as Mike Huckabee and Todd Akin are the face of the Republican Party the Democrats won’t have to work very hard or offer much of an agenda to win elections. Just merely point at the fools and say “We’re not them.”