Does it really matter what he said? The liberal thought process on this works this way, I think: “Known social conservative + something about women + something about sex and birth control = outrage.” Right? It’s basically Pavlovian. Which is why even many Republicans who sympathize with social conservatism rub their temples at the thought of nominating a loud-and-proud social con as nominee. You don’t want biased, soft-headed media lefties setting the parameters for who you can nominate, but on the other hand, if you know your guy’s going to spend the campaign tapdancing around soundbite landmines — sometimes justifiably, sometimes not — why bother?
This is, as anyone who reads at a third-grade level will tell you, a shot at Democrats for practicing an especially narrow form of identity politics, not at women.
For context, here is the entire Mike Huckabee quote at the RNC meeting that Twitter is talking about. pic.twitter.com/HHhEUqM4ru
— Chris Moody (@Chris_Moody) January 23, 2014
If there’s any conservative who’s stood boldly against big government and Uncle Sugar in his career, it’s Huck. Ah well. Pavlov’s bell having sounded, the salivation begins:
White House press secretary Jay Carney dismissed comments by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at a Republican meeting Thursday as “offensive.”
“Whoever said it, it sounds offensive to me, and to women,” Carney told reporters after saying he hadn’t seen reports of Huckabee’s remarks.
I like the way he put that — “it sounds offensive,” as though he’s not sure but heard just enough offense-triggering buzzwords when it was read to him that there could, logically, be only one conclusion. Exactly my point up top. Whether it is offensive isn’t important, especially in the initial rush to denounce and capitalize politically. It sounds offensive. Close enough.
Once the media settles down, they’ll zero in on the part of what Huckabee said that does deserve scrutiny, the bit at the end about birth control as the province of people who can’t control their urges. That’s his way as a devout Christian of giving thumbs down to fornication, I take it; if you’re not practicing premarital abstinence, it must be because you’re incapable on some level and need contraception to protect you from the consequences. Not so. Plenty of people could pass on recreational sex but choose not to because they don’t see the moral harm in it that Huck does. See Ace for more on that. I thought the party had moved on from squabbling about contraception, especially after the upset when Stephanopoulos blindsided Romney with a question about it during the primary debates in 2012, but it’s hard to move on when you’ve got a would-be presidential candidate disapprovingly identifying some sort of irresistible compulsion to the way most people behave sexually. See what I mean about landmines of his own making?