The XX Factor

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.