As you’ve no doubt heard by now, last Thursday former Governor Mike Huckabee made some pretty ignorant comments regarding Democrats, women, contraception, and reality. Among the many lies he told was this:
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.”
Okay, where to begin? There are so many things wrong with just this one sentence. First of all, and this is an important point to make because it will come up again later, the government is not providing birth control to anybody through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). What the ACA does is require health insurance providers to provide coverage for birth control at no additional charge to the patient. The second lie is the idea that the Democrats are making people believe they are dependent on the government. This is a common right-wing lie, and it seems to be rooted in their pathological way of looking at things. Whenever the government allows people to do something, the Conservatives are out there acting as though the government was mandating that people do that something. How many times have you heard a Conservative say that now that gay marriage was legal, we’re all going to have to go out and gay marry someone? Or when people can get unemployment insurance, an earned benefit for which they paid, the Conservatives are trying to portray it as Liberals trying to make people dependent on government, which is such a ridiculous distortion of what is happening. The third lie in Huckabee’s comment was, of course, the purpose of using birth control. Like his fellow right-wing blowhard, Rush Limbaugh, Mike Huckabee doesn’t seem to understand how and why birth control is used. He seems to be making the point that women need more birth control the more sex they have. (Conservatives also have a problem with women having sex, but as my grandfather used to say, “That’s a topic for another post.” My grandfather was ahead of his time.) Many women use birth control for reasons that have nothing to do with having sex, but with relieving some of the symptoms of menstruation, or other medical reasons.
He also lied when he said:
“Women I know are outraged that 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,” he said. “Women I know are smart, educated, intelligent, capable of doing anything that anybody else can do.”
Again, there’s the lie about the government providing the birth control, and the implication that women are dependent on the government for getting this medication. Not for nothing, but does it ever occur to Conservatives that if the government didn’t require businesses to do something, they wouldn’t do it at all? That’s the only way women are “dependent on the government.” If the government didn’t require corporations to act in the common good, they would find a reason to claim it wasn’t profitable to do so. They’d also try to say that “the Market” should dictate whether insurance companies that provided birth control coverage at no additional charge are more profitable and, therefore, more attractive to stock investors. This is a ridiculous reason to not let the government require businesses to do anything.
On his radio show Sunday, Huckabee lied again:
“For Democrats to reduce women to beggars for cheap government-funded birth control is demeaning to the women that I know who are far more complicated than their libido and the management of their reproductive system.”
Again, it’s not the government giving away the birth control medication, they aren’t making women “beg” for anything, and it has nothing to do with their sex lives, it’s about their reproductive health. Why does Huckabee have to lie constantly, and then turn around and whine that he was misquoted?
As if lying about what’s actually happening isn’t bad enough, now Huckabee wants to claim everyone is misquoting him, when the truth is that while there were errors in the initial reporting, those errors were fixed, and the media reports subsequent to them correctly attributed the comments. His entire defense of his comments is that he didn’t say what two initial news reports say he said, but rather he was saying that Democrats were saying that about women. They weren’t, of course, but that point seems to be lost on Huckabee. Never let the facts get in the way of a good talking point.
Republicans aren’t exactly happy with Huckabee’s comments, but they think their problem is that they aren’t articulating their policies correctly, not that their policies are bad, or that the things they actually say are dumb as all hell. They don’t want to admit that all over the country, Republicans are working hard to restrict a woman’s right to have an abortion, and to do it without unnecessary humiliation, such as unnecessary transvaginal ultrasound probes. They seem to think the problem is that they aren’t selling these ideas well enough. And that, in part, is because Republicans lie so damn much that nobody can believe a word they say.