02 March 2011

Mike Huckabee is a disgrace

As if his disastrous fiscal record wasn't enough to destroy his case for the presidency, Mike Huckabee is cozying up to the Birther movement.

The telling exchange:

INTERVIEWER: Don't you think it's fair also to ask him, I know your stance on this. How come we don't have a health record, we don't have a college record, we don't have a birth cer - why Mr. Obama did you spend millions of dollars in courts all over this country to defend against having to present a birth certificate. It's one thing to say, I've -- you've seen it, goodbye. But why go to court and send lawyers to defend against having to show it? Don't you think we deserve to know more about this man?

HUCKABEE: I would love to know more. What I know is troubling enough. And one thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American. When he gave the bust back to the Brits --

INTERVIEWER: Of Winston Churchill.

HUCKABEE: The bust of Winston Churchill, a great insult to the British. But then if you think about it, his perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather.

And this guy wants to be president?

Several things.

First: Huckabee immediately backpedaled hard, claiming that instead of "Kenya," he meant "Indonesia." Of course, Obama did spend a few childhood years in Indonesia, but that can't be what Huckabee meant because the Mau Mau Revolution happened in Kenya. If he meant Indonesia, he wouldn't have referenced the Mau Mau Revolution in the first place. Huckabee is a smart enough guy who chose his words carefully and by doing so, knew exactly what he was doing. The wild conspiracy theories about Obama on the Right center around his secret birthplace in Kenya. If nothing else, this was the proverbial dog whistle.

Second: Huckabee seems to be latching onto the "Kenyan anti-colonialist" nonsense that Dinesh D'Souza peddled a few months ago in Forbes. As we pointed out at the time, this narrative ignores Obama's anger toward his absent father, his admiration of his American grandparents, his use of the American military and overreaching executive power abroad, and his general proclivity to become a creature of any institution he joins. This is precisely where the conservative movement has fallen down post-2008. There is a mountain of policy evidence that Obama has been an awful president, but instead of arguing policy, D'Souzas, Becks and Huckabees would rather tar the president as a cultural outsider. To Huckabee, that is Obama's greatest sin (probably because Obama's economic policies line up nicely with Huckabee's record as a profligate spender, and Huckabee knows he won't get anywhere arguing about fiscal records).

Finally, and most disturbingly: Huckabee appears to be dipping his toe in the water of the Birther movement. It is simply insane for a candidate for the presidency to do anything other than offer a sharp rebuke of any suggestion that Barack Obama is not American-born. There simply exists not a scintilla of evidence to suggest that the president wasn't born in Hawaii. For Huckabee to even imply otherwise demonstrates a willingness to demagogue in the worst way to curry favor with fringe elements of a movement that would otherwise reject his pathetic record as governor.

This needs to stop. Mike Huckabee and his ilk -- George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove -- are engaged in a crusade to destroy the Republican Party. Idiocy such as that peddled by Huckabee yesterday cheapens the movement of Buckley, Goldwater and Reagan, making the rest of us look like fools.

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