After yesterday’s “media tempest in a teapot” over some misquoted lines from a Mike Huckabee’s speech, pundits are debating whether Republican men should discuss women’s issues or just zip it. In a speech before the NRC, the former Arkansas Governor said 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 government.” Some media outlets reported the line as if Huck himself believed women can’t control their libido. Many took offense that he characterized Democrats as believing the same.
John Hayward weighed in at the Conversation, arguing that men shouldn’t shy away from important issues, but learn to avoid certain words and phrases that can be easily mischaracterized.
The other conservative backlash I’ve noticed against this specific passage of Huckabee’s speech is that he was foolish to set himself up for misquote mania by daring to talk about women’s libidos and reproductive systems, even if he was sarcastically describing Democrats’ views of women, or more precisely their political agenda to make women see themselves that way. Republicans are therefore supposed to avoid using any words that could be randomly resorted to make them look really bad. In fact, maybe it would be best if male Republicans avoided talking about women altogether, especially in the context of social issues.
There are a few topics that could be judged especially radioactive – the fallout zone around Todd Akin is large, and it’s got a half-life that take years to decay. But it seems to me that backing male Republicans away from “women’s issues” entirely would be ceding a great deal of rhetorical territory to the Democrats, who incessantly make proclamations on those subjects. In fact, if male Republican candidates never say a word about women, they will soon be attacked for their silence on women’s issues. Is the challenge really more about avoiding certain words and phrases? That’s really a universal political skill, when you think about it. Every conceivable segment of the electorate has words and phrases that are guaranteed to provoke a negative reaction. And when you’re a Republican, you can guarantee the media will never, ever ignore your utterance of those hot-button phrases.
Bret Baier asked the panel to weigh in on the question on Special Report, Friday evening. He noted that Republicans (ever in a defensive posture)had chosen Congresswoman Kathy McMorris Rogers to give the Republican response to Obama’s State of the Union speech – hoping to mitigate the Democrats’ “War on Women” b.s.
Krauthammer declared, “that kind of cosmetic change is not going to work if you keep having people talk about the psychology of women’s sexuality. For God’s sake, why do you have to talk about that?!” My thoughts exactly. Republicans are not impressed with symbolic gestures – (if that’s what it is.) They need to learn how to talk about women’s issues without giving Democrats any openings to attack them on, and go on the offensive where we’re on solid ground.
Dr. K.’s advice to Republicans is for them to talk about issues like late term abortions – which everyone agrees are an abomination – or the Regime’s attacks on the Little Sisters of the Poor.
“When there’s a suit between the leviathan State of Obama and the Little Sisters of the Poor”, Krauthammer declared, “take the side of the Little Sisters of the Poor. You can’t lose.”
Video via National Review.