Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee had a rude awakening this week at the unlikely hands of none other than Fox News host Megyn Kelly.
On Wednesday, Huckabee paid a visit to Fox News' The Kelly File in an attempt to clear up some bad publicity after an appearance last Friday on a Des Moines radio when he bemoaned New York's epidemic of "trashy" women who aren't impassive, inoffensive Stepford Wives. It's "worse than locker-room talk," he complained. "This would be considered totally inappropriate to say these things in front of a woman. And for a woman to say them in a professional setting ... that's just trashy!"
But when Huck tried to run damage control on The Kelly File, he ran into a big obstacle: Kelly herself, who basically welcomed him to the 21st century.
The two spend most of the interview discussing Huckabee's radio appearance and the lines that got him in hot water, but the pièce de résistance came around the 5:00 mark as Kelly was wrapping up the interview. She said:
"Well I do have news for you before I let you go. We are not only swearing. We're drinking, we're smoking, we're having premarital sex with birth control before we go to work — and sometimes boss around a bunch of men!"
"Oh, I just don't want to hear that," Huckabee responded. "Sorry," a totally not-sorry Kelly responded. "That's just reality, gov!"
And did I see a smirk?
Turns out Kelly is sometimes cool: As an anchor on the generally-conservative Fox News network, Kelly might not seem like the most likely person for this kind of smackdown, but this actually isn't the first time Kelly has turned the tables on her bigoted colleagues. Earlier this month, she obliterated conservative talking head Dinesh D'Souza's bizarre argument that Obama isn't really black. Last year, she roasted Bill O'Reilly's denial of the existence of white privilege and attacked Dick Cheney on live TV for his reckless mismanagement of the Iraq War.
In 2013, when fellow pundits Erick Erickson and Lou Dobbs had a near-meltdown about the growing number of women in the workplace instead of at home, Kelly sarcastically asked Erickson "What makes you dominant and me submissive and who died and made you scientist-in-chief?"
As for Huck: The comments about "trashy" women can't hurt his already-low 2016 chances. Recent polling from theWashington Post puts Huckabee a solid 20 points behind likely Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton (37% to 57% respectively).
Huckabee also thinks women can't control their libido while on birth control, supported Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comments and said female presidential candidates are "special treasures" who need to be treated with "chivalry" and a "sense of pedestal." Kelly's dismissive treatment of this kind of absurd sexism would be just the first of many such responses to Huckabee on the campaign trail.
"The viewpoint that conservatives are sexist and judgmental is what will keep conservatives from getting elected in 2016," the generally conservative National Review Online's Katherine Timpf wrote — even they could get behind Huck on this one. "Maybe not saying things that blatantly perpetuate that point of view would be a good idea if you're someone who cares about the real issues."
Perhaps even scarier is the possibility that Huckabee thinks women swearing is the real issue, which is just another reason why America can't afford to let him reach the Oval Office.