Mike Huckabee Says That Male Politicians Should Treat Female Opponents Like a “Special Treasure”

What Women Really Think
March 11 2014 4:51 PM

Uh Oh. Mike Huckabee Is Talking About Women Again.

Look, you can't go around treating female politicians like candidates when they're so obviously women.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Mike Huckabee has some important ideas about how to run against female candidates, which is very different from running against ordinary human people candidates, and he thought he'd share them in an interview with Nora Caplan-Bricker of the New Republic. Male opponents are "common," he explained in an interview published this week. Women, on the other hand, require a "sense of a pedestal." "You treat some things as a special treasure; you treat other things as common," he added, describing women and then men, though neither gender is significantly rarer than the other in nature. Huckabee elaborated, in case Caplan-Bricker couldn't hear him from way up there on her pedestal:

“I’ll put it this way,” Huckabee says. “I treat my wife very differently than I treat my chums and my pals. I wouldn’t worry about calling them on Valentine’s Day, opening the door for them, or making sure they were OK.”

Valentine's Day must be pretty confusing for Mr. Huckabee—when he stops by the store to buy flowers, how does he remember if they're for his wife or the woman campaigning against him for public office? They're all women, you know, so there's just one blanket way to treat them.

Lest there's any doubt that Huckabee just made a mistake or was misquoted, he reiterated his points in an email to Salon:

“I believe in equality, and I have a record of transforming that belief into action,” the ex-governor told Salon in an e-mailed statement. “However, equality doesn’t mean sameness.”

He went on at length, but notably avoided sharing any details about what these all-important differences actually are when it comes to political campaigning. He just continued to insist, without explanation, that fussing over women in a manner designed to make their gender seem unusual and out of place is a form of respect:

“I was raised to treat women with respect,” Huckabee told Salon in his afternoon statement. “I still will invite a lady to go first, will open a door for her, and will place her in the center of the photograph. And yes, I would seek to treat a female opponent with the same respect I give to all women, even though we may disagree on the issues.”

Hopefully, Huckabee will soon elaborate on what it is about women specifically that invites respect and why male opponents do not deserve the same courtesies. Here's hoping Huckabee gets into the nitty-gritty about what the specific differences between genders are, and why, in detail, they necessitate a display of "respect" that is indistinguishable from condescension? Also, if he's sticking to his script, I guess he'll invite Hillary to "go first" as president.

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.



Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show

The XX Factor

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada

Now, journalists can't even say her name.


Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

  News & Politics
Sept. 29 2014 11:45 PM The Self-Made Man The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.
Sept. 29 2014 7:01 PM We May Never Know If Larry Ellison Flew a Fighter Jet Under the Golden Gate Bridge
Dear Prudence
Sept. 29 2014 3:10 PM The Lonely Teetotaler Prudie counsels a letter writer who doesn’t drink alcohol—and is constantly harassed by others for it.
  Double X
Sept. 29 2014 11:43 PM Lena Dunham, the Book More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 29 2014 8:45 AM Slate Isn’t Too Liberal, but … What readers said about the magazine’s bias and balance.
Brow Beat
Sept. 29 2014 9:06 PM Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice Looks Like a Comic Masterpiece
Future Tense
Sept. 29 2014 11:56 PM Innovation Starvation, the Next Generation Humankind has lots of great ideas for the future. We need people to carry them out.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 29 2014 11:32 PM The Daydream Disorder Is sluggish cognitive tempo a disease or disease mongering?
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.