Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus invited former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee to be the keynote speaker at the RNC’s winter meeting, but it appears that he regrets that decision:

Priebus responded to Huckabee’s comments, telling the Washington Post, “I don’t know what he was talking about. Sort of a goofy way of using some phrases. Not the way I would have phrased it.”

I don’t know what Mike Huckabee was talking about, either. When he was serving as governor, Huckabee signed a law mandating that health insurance plans provide contraceptive coverage, and he made no exceptions for religious institutions. And, despite the fact that his hero Jesus was quite clear that he had nothing but the harshest contempt for hypocrites, Huckabee is now behaving as if contraceptive coverage in health care plans is some kind of violation of people’s religious rights.

His actual comments were more than ‘goofy.’ They were nonsensical. I don’t know if he asks his nieces to refer to him as ‘Uncle Sugar,’ but I certainly hope not. The main thing is that he wants us to have a national discussion about contraception.

“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. Let us take that discussion all across America.”

I’m not sure that anyone knows quite what the hell that comment is supposed to mean. He later explained that “My point was to point out that Dems have put a laser-like focus on government funded birth control and given it more attention than cancer drugs.”

Does anyone think Huckabee’s point was that Democrats are not highlighting enough how ObamaCare is giving people access to life-saving cancer drugs?


I’ve tried to decipher Huckabee’s meaning and I’ve read other people’s attempts to explain his comments, but I think I’ll have to chalk it up to some kind of cultural misunderstanding. It’s kind of like the tension I feel between having total contempt for how Saudi Arabia treats women and religious freedom and my tolerance for different cultures having different laws and beliefs. Maybe your typical Saudi understands what Huckabee was trying to say, but I certainly don’t. I can hardly believe that I share the same country with the man.

As best as I can tell, he was saying that Republicans have enough respect for women to believe that they can remain chaste until marriage, as they should. Maybe ObamaCare should cover the expense of burkas. Would Huckabee support that?

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at