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Monday, October 24, 2016

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee triggered outrage this week with just one word: “libido.”

Republicans insisted that the politician-turned-TV/radio host who was speaking at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting had been misquoted. There’s no way what he said could actually have been offensive, because he was accusing Democrats of something bad… and that’s always good.

They didn’t get that with one word Huckabee confirmed the worst fear of many: Republicans are brutishly trying to legislate women’s physiology. And the resulting reaction from right-wingers betrays their inability to comprehend why the so-called “War on Women” framing is so effective.

Here’s the whole quote:

“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.”

It’s Democrats who tell women they can’t control their libidos, Huckabee insists. Not Republicans. Be outraged at them!

The National Review‘s Charles Cooke points out that Huckabee explicitly said “women I know are smart, educated, intelligent, capable of doing anything anyone else can do” before suggesting that it was probably “unwise” for the ex-governor to use those words because he didn’t get across that Republicans think women can control their libidos.

That Huckabee and Cooke think the female libido is an acceptable topic for political discourse reveals the GOP’s problem.

Making women’s sexual desire a political issue isn’t just a bad idea because Mike Huckabee is the last person in the world most people want to hear discussing sex.  He could easily be cast as “The Least Sexual Man in the World” with the catchphrase, “I don’t always talk about women’s libidos, but when I do, the birth rate goes down.”

The problem for the right is that the creepy way they sexualize women’s health care ultimately betrays their contempt for women’s basic health needs, privacy and autonomy.

Rush Limbaugh branded a law student a “slut” because she spoke to the medical necessity of birth control. This was the shot heard ’round the world that opened the so-called “War on Women.” Republicans then put Rush’s assertion into policy by supporting legislation that would give employers the right to veto certain medical treatments.

As MSNBC’s Adam Serwer pointed out, the idea that your insurance should cover certain medications isn’t new. The idea of an employer veto is — and it only arose because the administration mandated that birth control be covered for all women who need or want it, a mandate that is thoroughly supported by medical experts as a cost-saving and efficacious treatment. And Mike Huckabee didn’t think think he was telling women they couldn’t control their libido when he signed a law mandating birth control coverage in 2005.

Suddenly now Republicans feel that the owners of Hobby Lobby should have the chance to weigh in with their expertise.

The public is in favor of the birth control mandate, even when the employer rejects it on religious grounds. But Republicans know that the argument appeals to their base on the grounds of “religious freedom” to make choices for others, specifically women.

But they’ve decided that they can turn the “War on Women” frame by asserting Democrats are tricking females with all that health care and ability to make their own reproductive choices jazz.

“Democrats are the ones who have denigrated women and demeaned them,” Huckabee said on Saturday, defending himself after an avalanche of criticism that even sucked in Miley Cyrus. He went on to say that Democrats are making it appear as if the only “real issues” for women are having “a prescription for birth control and getting a free abortion.”

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  • 4sanity4all

    As long as Mike Huckabee persists in telling liberals what they meant to say, and as long as he keeps interpreting things for us by twisting their meaning, no one with a brain will listen to a thing he says. It is so typical of the Republican tendency to take a fact, and then twist and torture it into a statement that bears no resemblance to the original fact. I would have a lot more respect for Republicans if they made factual arguments to advance their cases. But as long as most of them keep spewing these ridiculous talking points, they will lose women, minorities, and everyone else that they marginalize.

    • dana becker

      Yes they will, so let’s hope they keep doing it as much as they possibly can. November will be here before you know it so please, please keep it up. Alienate away.

  • idiot

    • Arleen Rutten

      …agree..but you’re being far too kind ☺

  • Raven

    If at any point in your career, Miley Cyrus has grounds to criticize you, it’s time to retire…

  • tifosies

    This is indeed a theme. Remember Rush:
    “McAuliffe said, “Look, if you want to be a receptacle for male semen and not pay a price, I’m your guy.””
    McAuliffe never said that of course, but these guys can’t help themselves from fitting their own characterizations of women into their phony allegations that Democrats say it.

    • Sand_Cat

      It’s projection, pure and simple, something “conservatives” have done for many years now, and Rove has endorsed as a campaign strategy.

  • Ann-Marie Poli

    Huckabee forgot how the game works. The religious crazies have all been using the same trick for years. When you first encounter them they speak normally. The bell rings and nicely dressed people talk to you about how troubled the world is, and how it’s all a shame because God loves us. It is not until they con you out of a dollar for the magazine and few discussions about the bible later do they let you know what they really believe, that you need to confess your sins publicly before the congregation and shun your children if they don’t abide. As a Libertarian, Ron Paul was a master at the ploy as well. He knew enough to focus on the things normal people would find appealing and save for later the racist implications of the policies this kindly old grandpa type was peddling. Huckabee went right for the Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, Limbaugh, set your hair on fire crazy. With that, he announced he was considering running for president. Always room for one more in the clown car.

    • patrick g van meter

      Love this. Well said. Just facts. Thank you.

  • FT66

    When I look at Huckabee, I don’t finisth staring at him. What was this man thinking? A grown person like Huckabee who has daughters-in-law and grand kids, should understand what words he should use in public even when in-laws are around. I try to think how these daughters-in-law let alone the rest of women think of him using the word “libido”, openely. I do not think he was on an influence of anything which enterrupted the way of choosing what right words to use. Is he really OK?

    • stcroixcarp

      What about men controlling their libido? Down boy, down!

      • Sand_Cat

        Don’t give the lunatics any ideas.
        The article says it right: why should anyone’s libido be a political issue?

      • Jimmy Agler

        They already addressed that part of the issue FT,,,,they made sure insurance covers their viagra.

  • terry b

    The war on women is real and not made up. There are some idiots who actually don’t believe that the Nazis had a war on Jews, minorities or homosexuals, but they did. The right to privacy and including birth control in all health care plans are beliefs that exist because of the use of intelligence, logic and common sense. Guess we know which party seems to lack these things every time one of their members starts his/her inane babble and is heard by those who know the difference between right and wrong.

  • howa4x

    What do you want from a person that once said “I’m not descended from an Ape” everything is downhill from there.

    • Allan Richardson

      If he has to SAY he’s not descended from an ape, what does that tell you. In the case of anti-evolution fanatics, the apes would agree.

      I know there is a technical difference between being descended from an ape and being descended from a common ancestor as today’s apes (who have done some evolving of their own in the meantime). But I’m trying to keep it simple for simple minds: the apes would not WANT to claim some of us as descendants.

      • howa4x

        True we kill for fun.

    • Elliot J. Stamler

      I have discussed this with several officials of the AAA…the American Ape Association (not the auto club) and they strongly maintain that conservatives most assuredly are descended from apes and in fact are hairless apes.

      • howa4x

        very funny hahahahha

  • latebloomingrandma

    The more he talks, the creepier he gets. Why doesn’t he just get down to describing what he really thinks—-that women are either madonnas or whores. Madonnas are mothers with husbands, celibate widows, and virgins; whores are everyone else.

    • Allan Richardson

      And of course, mothers with husbands don’t have a libido, they just “lie still and think of Jesus and America” while their husbands exercise theirs.

  • Gary Graves

    Mike’s libido is out of libido, does not function at all.

  • jointerjohn

    Here is yet another right wing republican male who cannot stay on the conversation of women’s health without his adolescent brain jumping track to sex. Sex and money are the only two subjects they know. Women, in their eyes, are just the host organism for the human fetus. Snickering little boys with a Victoria’s Secret catalog hidden under their mattresses. I’m puzzled how any woman can stomach their politics, or stomach them. Must be a really low self-esteem thing for those republican women.

    • Allan Richardson

      Republican women are of three types: Stepford wives, EX-wives, or Stepford Sisters (the name Ann Coulter comes to mind). The second group are the wives who refused to become Stepford wives.

      • Elliot J. Stamler

        This is not fair!!! I think Ann Coulter is great guy.

  • Sand_Cat

    GOP reaction to the “War on Women” is like their reaction to the “race card”: righteous indignation and outrage without the slightest intent to change any of the attitudes and policies which assure the effectiveness of both: the fact that both are concise and accurate descriptions of “conservative” behavior.

  • Siegfried Heydrich

    Look, if they’re going to worry about birth control, they really should be concentrating on the men. After all, it’s easier to take the bullets out of the gun than to try and stop them with a bulletproof vest . . .

  • ralphkr

    I have a very simple way to put an end to all the yapping about the right to impregnate women. Just make the anti-women mob put their money where their mouth is. Against abortions: any time a woman is denied an abortion then the anti-mob has to support the kid through the age of 26 (kid should have a doctorate by then). Against contraception: any time a woman gets pregnant and it is not on purpose then the anti-mob has to support that kid until the kid is 26. In each case the anti-mob shall be required to put up a bond to cover projected cost plus 20%. Suddenly there shall be blessed silence on the subject.

  • Urbane_Gorilla

    Access To Free Birth Control Causes Abortion Rate To Drop Dramatically: Study

    U.S. Teen Pregnancy Rates Decline As Result Of Improved Contraceptive Use

    Huckleberry should stick to his radio show and preach to the choir. Anyone else with half an ounce of sense remembers being young and the obvious consequences of a normal libido.

  • Ocean Sprayz

    We rely on learned rules because our intellect cannot fully comprehend all the details of our complex, distributed, modern civilization.

  • Elliot J. Stamler

    Nothing Huckabee could ever say could outdo America’s #1 political fascist Rick Santorum, who said in his run..and let me be clear on this…that anyone who has sex in the reverse (i.e. doggie style) position, INCLUDING HETEROSEXUALS AND HETEROSEXUAL MARRIED COUPLES, was a pervert engaging in degenerate sex and presumably the laws that criminalize this behavior by ANYONE should be reinstated and enforced.