A new poll indicates that Mike Huckabee's suggestion that Democrats think women "cannot control their libido" was far from damaging to his maybe-2016-candidacy. In fact, he now leads the field (for what it's worth), because nothing energizes Republican voters like pissing liberals off.
It's a pretty good bet that Huckabee knew exactly what he was doing when he told the Republican National Committee that Democrats figured women were helpless without free birth control. It took him approximately zero minutes to send out a fundraising email about it. And according to Public Policy Polling, the controversy has paid dividends in the public eye. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz "had been leading the field among 'very conservative' voters for months but in the wake of Huckabee's press attention last week he's taken the top spot with that group," the polling firm reports. Overall, Huckabee has a slight lead over the other likely candidates. Which when it comes to predicting who will actually win in 2016 is useless. But what it says about the response to the "outrage" is not.
Last night at the State of the Union, the two most-mentioned people online and on CNN were, one, Barack Obama, president of the United States, and, two, Willie Robertson, star of Duck Dynasty and bandana aficionado. Slate compiled a gallery of the Republican elected officials who not only met Robertson, but also went out of their way to get a picture with him and then also post that picture online.
If you're only recently aware of Duck Dynasty, that is likely because of Willie's father Phil's comments about the nature of homosexuality. Phil Robertson defended his attacks on gays by claiming that he was exercising his religious freedom, an argument that conservatives quickly and enthusiastically embraced. Robertson, and then the TV show, became a shorthand symbol of conservative values, just as Chick-fil-A did months earlier. So on a night when more Americans than usual were paying attention to Capitol Hill, Republicans went out of their way to be seen running their fingers through Willie Robertson's impressive beard. The controversy was good politics.