Mike Huckabee's Long Record of Defending Politicians Caught in Rape Gaffes

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 23 2012 3:52 PM

Mike Huckabee's Long Record of Defending Politicians Caught in Rape Gaffes

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Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee speaks during an address to the 39th Conservative Political Action Committee February 10, 2012 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Alex Burns puts up Mike Huckabee's long, deeply-felt e-mail about Akingate. Tony Perkins, Bryan Fischer -- a lot of social conservatives have unloaded on the GOP establishment for trying to push Akin out and get a less secretion-curious candidate on the Missouri ballot. But Huckabee had political experience, and real skin in the game.

Who ordered this "Code Red" on Akin? There were talking point memos sent from the National Republican Senatorial Committee suggesting language to urge Akin to drop out. Political consultants were ordered to stay away from Akin or lose future business with GOP committees. Operatives were recruited to set up a network of pastors to call Akin to urge him to get out. Money has changed hands to push him off the plank. It is disgraceful. From the spotlights of political offices and media perches, it may appear that the demand for Akin’s head is universal in the party. I assure you it is not. There is a vast, but mostly quiet army of people who have an innate sense of fairness and don't like to see a fellow political pilgrim bullied.
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"Fellow political pilgrim" is an interesting phrase. Since the start of this, Akin has been borrowing arguments that Huckabee developed. On the Monday edition of Huckabee's radio show, the former governor reminded Akin that rape, as tragic as it is, had produced some great Americans -- an indisputable point that Akin has recited. Huckabee told Akin that "forcible," not "legitimate," was probably the word he had meant to use to describe violent sexual assault. And Akin borrowed that.

But Huckabee's been at this rodeo -- do pilgrims rodeo? -- at this clam bake for quite some time. In 1998, Arkansas State Senator Fay Boozman helped wreck his chances at a U.S. Senate seat by suggesting that rape-activated female hormones could prevent pregnancy -- "god's little shield."

Boozman lost by 12 points. Then he lucked out. Gov. Mike Huckabee, a friend and political ally for many years, put Boozman in charge of the Arkansas Department of Health. The "god's little shield" controversy was fresh, and Huckabee kept getting asked about it. As far as he was concerned, the story was over, and it was unfair to harp on it. "If nothing else," said Huckabee, according to a February 1999 story in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, "I hope to make it very clear that our administration is not governed by intimidation. We're not going to allow the shrill voices of a few to so disparage the character of a very decent and good person to an outstanding position in such a way that Arkansas would lose his service at the Department of Health."

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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