January 29

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who I think is the candidate to watch for the GOP nomination in 2016, has done the Republican Party a favor by reminding us that there is one big topic Republicans need to avoid. Ruth Marcus put it succinctly in The Post when she wrote, “Republicans have a hard time talking about women and sexuality.”  Well, she is right.

When addressing the Republican National Committee during their winter meeting last week, Huckabee said, “If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that 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, let us take that discussion all across America because women are far more than Democrats have played them to be.”

In the context of Huckabee’s full quote, his comment was perfectly defensible. But we don’t need to be on the defensive. It may be unfair, but it has become too easy to make Republicans look like obsessed, repressed Puritan perverts when they talk about sex or almost any sex-related topic. Instead of continually playing into the Democrats’ hands, let’s just concede the point. The liberal media elite are always ready to pounce on Republicans, and we need to stop giving them opportunities to draw blood.

Following Huckabee’s comments, Julie Pace of the Associated Press and nationally syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker both gave some free advice to Republican leaders that should be followed literally. That is, stay away from any words that suggest any kind of preoccupation with sex, sexual appetite, sex acts, etc., etc. Julie Pace told future candidates – Republican or Democrat – to “put a list in your pocket of words you should not say.” I say libido should be on that list. Kathleen Parker wisely summed up the problem with Huckabee’s comments, writing in The Post, “rather than end the idea of a Republican war on women, Huckabee has merely provided fresh fodder to Democrats, while reminding women why they don’t want to associate with this crowd.”

Republican leaders, take note: Any time you have the urge to talk about anything related to sex, sex acts, sexual drive or even just want to use a word like libido, substitute your thought with a comment about Obamacare or the economy, even if it produces an awkward moment or a clumsy segue.

The Republican message for 2014 needs to be about Obamacare and the economy and little else. If you are a Republican leader and you start to talk about sex, there is no chance your words will be phrased perfectly and reported on in a context that is clear and appreciated.

Follow Ed on Twitter: @EdRogersDC