Bill Press: Huckabee’s Gospel

Bill Press: Huckabee’s Gospel
© Greg Nash

The French have a wonderful phrase: “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” Or: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” So cynical but so true. Just look at last week’s meeting of the Republican National Committee.

After getting shellacked by President Obama in November 2012, the RNC asked a group of party elders to analyze what went wrong. Their report, issued in March 2013, was surprisingly blunt. Republicans had lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, it pointed out, and the party was going to have a hard time winning the White House back, if it didn’t do a better job of reaching out to women, young people and racial minorities. 


A chastened RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, who readily agreed that change was needed, assembled party poobahs in Washington last week to hammer out the GOP’s new message to women. 

And who did he invite to deliver the message? Not one of the party’s leading women, who might know something about appealing to women voters. Instead, it was a former Southern Baptist preacher whose church still bans women from serving as pastors and defines a woman’s role in marriage as submitting “herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband.” Note the key word “graciously.” 

Mike Huckabee did not disappoint. His church, that is. He delivered the perfect message on women for a Southern Baptist Convention, though that wasn’t what the Republican Party needs or was looking for. 

Expressing his opposition to the requirement of ObamaCare that contraception be covered under most private insurance plans, Huckabee told party leaders: “If Democrats want to insult the women of American 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.” 

Huckabee’s dead wrong. First because, as reported by The Huffington Post, as governor of Arkansas, he signed state legislation in 2005 requiring that all health insurance plans provide prescription drug coverage to cover contraceptive drugs and devices as well. 

And the Arkansas law has a much narrower exception for religious organizations than ObamaCare. Maybe he forgot?

But Huckabee’s especially wrong because of the pathetic picture he paints of women as a bunch of sex-starved Amazons who depend on contraception because they can’t keep their libidos under control. 

This, when even most Republican women would tell Huckabee they mainly need contraception because their sex-starved boyfriends or husbands can’t keep their own libidos under control — and refuse to use any protection themselves.

In the end, Huckabee did Democrats a big favor by proving that there is, indeed, a Republican war on women, which House Republicans perpetuate by pushing more and more restrictive anti-abortion legislation. For Republicans and women voters: Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. 


Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of The Obama Hate Machine.