Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, preacher, presidential candidate, and Fox News host, is trying to raise his national profile again. To that end, the Republican social conservative appeared at the Republican National Committee's winter meeting this morning, where he shared some thoughts on the "war on women."
If his goal was to raise eyebrows, Huckabee succeeded spectacularly.
"Republicans don't have a war on women," Huckabee said. "We're having a war for women. To empower them to be something other than victims of their gender." "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," he continued. "Let us take that discussion all across America, because women are far more than the Democrats have played them to be."
The video report from NBC's Kasie Hunt is above, but for those who can't watch clips online, note that Huckabee, who clearly wasn't kidding or trying to be funny, went on to say, "Women I know are outraged that the Democrats think that women are nothing more than helpless and hopeless creatures whose only goal in life is to have the government provide for them birth control medication."
It's tough to know where to start with this, but let's consider a few distinct angles.
First, the substance of Huckabee's comments is truly bizarre. Rather than go word by word, let's just note that Huckabee's belief about the connection between birth control and libidos suggests the Arkansas preacher learned everything he knows about reproductive health from Rush Limbaugh.
Second, as Huckabee tries to raise his national profile, I'd be eager to know if other Republicans agree with the views he expressed this morning. What do you say, Mitch McConnell? Susan Collins? Lindsey Graham? Are you on board with Huckabee's condemnations?
Third, the number of prominent Republican officials -- despite intra-party training -- recently making offensive comments about women keeps growing. Just from the last few weeks, we've seen one example after another after another. It's almost as if some conservatives want to make the gender gap worse.
And finally, there's the latest look at Mike Huckabee's public persona. As we've discussed before, he may have a jovial, non-threatening reputation, but the Arkansas Republican has a deep mean streak. It was, after all, Huckabee who spoke out soon after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, when tying the lack of government-sponsored religion to the tragedy.
Huckabee has also falsely claimed that President Obama “grew up in Kenya”; he’s endorsed “death panel” garbage; he’s equated the national debt with the Nazi Holocaust; and has gone after the LGBT community with over-the-top rhetoric. In August 2009, Huckabee even argued on his own radio show that Obama’s health care reform plan would have forced Ted Kennedy to commit suicide.
Today, he appears to have added to his greatest-hits list.