Straight from our leaders

When I read, listen and/or watch the politicians declare their knowledge of women, I am often amazed at the stupidity of what is too frequently said.

It makes me wonder if someone should remind them to engage their brains before opening their mouths. This was never more evident than this past week when Mike Huckabee decided to share his views about his “war for women.” Huckabee told the RNC Winter meeting attendees that, “If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe 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.” Wouldn’t you think he would know better than this? Wouldn’t you think that he would’ve realized that he was the one insulting the women?

But it seems some people just never learn. The Republican Party has been in a downward spiral for years now because of the stupid comments and remarks made about women, minorities and the unforgettable 47 percent.

It is almost as if they don’t want to win the White House. Take a look at some of the ridiculous things that have been said by candidates and their supporters.

We had Foster Friess, a prominent backer of Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum, let the world know how he felt about contraception when speaking with Andrea Mitchell. Friess said, “This contraceptive thing, my gosh, it’s so inexpensive. Back in my day, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly.” I was actually watching MSNBC at the time of this remark, and the shock on Andrea’s face practically screamed, “STUPID!”

Speaking of stupid, can we possibly forget about Todd Akin, Senate candidate, when he said, “victims of legitimate rape rarely get pregnant”? Even after this comment raised the eyebrows of his interviewer he continued showing his ignorance by saying that he heard from doctors that “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” I think I can pretty well guess what the rape victims listening to Akin would have liked to shut down.

We heard Richard Mourdock, Senate candidate explain why he opposes aborting pregnancies conceived in rape during a debate against Joe Donnelly. Mourdock said his opposition is based on his belief that “it is something that God intended to happen.” Really?

To be fair, we can’t let Bill off the hook. Back in a speech President Clinton gave in 1996 endorsing a national campaign against pregnancy, he said, “the other thing we have to do is to take seriously the role in this problem of older men who prey on underage women. There are consequences to decisions.”

Al Gore was once quoted as saying, “A zebra does not change its spots.” Now Al Gore has said many things that have made people stop and scratch their heads, but this one actually brought about a chuckle because it is such a perfect analogy of this war for or against women that the men can’t seem to stop talking about. Maybe Ole’ Al had a point here; stripes and spots both begin with an “s.”

Now let me say that I am not what one might refer to as a women’s libber or a feminist, and when it comes to rape and abortion I haven’t any personal experience in either. However, I can say unequivocally that neither have any of the men quoted above. It seems to me that politicians should just stop talking about women’s reproductive systems. When a man can become pregnant, decide whether or not to have an abortion or to give birth then maybe they will have a better idea about that which they speak; until then they just need to stop talking, but will they?

For Mike Huckabee to make a statement about a woman needing “Uncle Sugar to provide her with contraceptives because she can’t control her “libido” is sickening. And for anyone to declare, as Mourdock did, that “God” intended a rape and subsequent pregnancy to happen is ludicrous. Holding an aspirin between one’s knees ain’t gonna do the trick, either, and I think we can all attest to the fact that there is no legitimate rape. These men should be reminded that a woman does not get pregnant by herself, and when it comes to a man telling a woman to control her libido, I dare say it is the pot calling the kettle black, just ask Bill.

Some of the most offensive quotes and gaffes made by politicians are about women. It begs the question of when can we expect men to grow up, stop being stupid and making disparaging and sexists remarks? While I will acquiesce and agree that many of the gaffes made by politicians are made out of pure ignorance and sometimes even innocence, I can’t agree that it is always the case. I will defer to Vice President Joe Biden who once said, “If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, there’s still a 30 percent chance we’re going to get it wrong.” Boy, was he ever right!

Finally I will leave you with what Forrest Gump’s mama told him, “stupid is as stupid does.” I think Mr. Huckabee has joined this club. How sad.

Have a great day.

Vicki Westling is a Dunkirk resident. Send comments to