By Stephen C. Webster on January 23, 2014

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has an odd notion of what he believes is driving the Democratic Party's push to make insurance companies cover contraceptives for women.

"If the Democrats want to insult women 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," the former Republican presidential candidate said during a speech at the Republican National Committee's Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.

"Let us take this discussion all across America, because women are far more than the Democrats have played them to be, and women across America need to stand up and say, 'Enough of this nonsense!'" he added.

Watch:

His rhetorical barrage was anchored in the premise that Republicans in states across the country are not engaging in what Democrats call a "war on women." He insisted that the party's intense focus on passing laws that limit access to abortion and other women's health services is "not a war on them, it's a war for them."

Democratic rhetoric about a Republican "war on women" intensified during the 2012 presidential election, when women sided with President Obama by a double-digit margin. The rhetoric is not without basis. Republicans have passed 205 new restrictions on reproductive freedom since the 2010 state and congressional elections, according to a study by the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute.

But that's apparently not enough for many of the party's leading voices. Republicans are particularly upset about a provision in the Affordable Care Act which requires that health insurance companies provide female contraceptives at no cost to the customer. The president and his allies point out that the rule was put in place to achieve greater equality in the health insurance marketplace, where most policies offer coverage for male reproductive health concerns like erectile dysfunction and penile implants, but very few offer coverage for birth control or abortion.

Considering that Republicans are actively fighting equal treatment for women in the healthcare marketplace, Huckabee's argument that his party "stands for the recognition of the equality of women" is a particularly creative use of the facts.

Photo: Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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