Mike Huckabee visited The Kelly File tonight to defend his now-infamous comments about women’s libidos and birth control. He insisted he has nothing to apologize for because the only ones he was knocking were Democrats, not women who want birth control. Au contraire, Huckabee repeatedly maintained, his comments about women believing they need “Uncle Sugar” to provide birth control because “they cannot control their libido” were made out of respect and admiration.
Huckabee made the remarks in question during a speech to the Republican National Committee meeting yesterday. His full quote was:
Democrats think that women are nothing more than helpless or hopeless creatures whose only goal in life is to have the government provide for them birth control medication. Women I know are smart, educated, intelligent, capable of doing anything that anyone else can do. Our party stands for the equality of women and the capacity of women. That’s not a war on them, it’s a war for them.
And 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. Let us take that discussion all across America because women are far more than the Democrats have played them to be. And women across America need to stand up and say, “Enough of that nonsense.”
Now, I’ll grant Huckabee that he intended his comments to knock Democrats and not women. But the road to you-know-where is paved with good intentions. And I’m sorry, Huckabee, but I think that’s exactly where your road leads.
Tonight, Huckabee told Megyn Kelly:
Everything I was accused of saying, I was actually saying the polar opposite. This was an affirmation of the intelligence, of the capability of women… It wasn’t even about contraceptives. It was about the way that Democrats have accused Republicans of having a war on women when Republicans believe that women are equal. We don’t think that it somehow is gonna be necessary for them to have a government subsidy and government support or they’re not gonna be able to make it.
Host Megyn Kelly did a reasonably decent job in this particular interview.
KELLY: This is where some women and others have taken issue with you, that the Democrats would say they don’t view women as the victims of their gender. They view them as living, functioning, human beings who have a reproductive system and the ones who have to carry the babies… and, by the way, sexual beings, and, therefore, to be responsible when having sexual relations, they need birth control even if… they’re not having sexual relations for the purpose of enjoyment, then they might need birth control because they have a health issue. …And it’s not about seeing women as victims. It’s about getting them the medical coverage they need.
Kelly listed several medical conditions that are helped by birth control pills, then added that some women feel “There’s no reason that they shouldn’t be able to get (birth control pills) from their employers. That’s what they say. And they say it’s not the government paying for it. It’s the women paying for it when they pay their premium under their policies and so they take issue with you characterizing it as “Uncle Sugar” having to step in and control their libidos.”
Huckabee protested he’s not opposed to contraception, that he included it in his “state plan” when he was governor of Arkansas. He also said that “Uncle Sugar” is an old southern expression that combines “Uncle Sam” with “sugar daddy.” He continued:
The idea that somehow I was disparaging women, it’s the polar opposite.
…To somehow characterize that I was taking offense to women – it’s the opposite. I was elevating and affirming that women are quite capable as equals to men. It’s why, Megyn, when I was governor, I appointed more women to executive level positions in the state government than any governor in our state’s history, including Bill Clinton So, you know, I’m not having to apologize to anybody for the record I have on women’s issues and I certainly don’t need to say that, “Oh, well, I’m so sorry that I actually believe that women are equal to men and that (they) are capable and strong.”
But here’s the problem that Kelly never got to. If Huckabee really esteems women so much then why did they “fall” for that Democratic ploy he adamantly claims was pulled on them? Also, underneath his declaration that women are too “capable” to be guaranteed contraception in health insurance is the suggestion that no woman would really have a problem paying for it on their own. Or if it is a problem, there’s something a woman must be doing wrong.
Furthermore, the “war on women” charge is not just about contraception, it’s also about Planned Parenthood funding, equal pay laws and abortion rights. But maybe Huckabee thinks women are “too capable” to be ensured access to those things, too.