Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 2, 2011

HUCKABEE-BRAND BIRTHERISM, REVISITED.... Yesterday, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee caused quite a stir after he insisted, repeatedly, that President Obama "grew up in Kenya." By late yesterday afternoon, once the media had picked up on the comments, the Republican walked it back, but not in a way that made sense.

"Governor Huckabee simply misspoke when he alluded to President Obama growing up in 'Kenya.' The Governor meant to say the President grew up in Indonesia."

"When the Governor mentioned he wanted to know more about the President, he wasn't talking about the President's place of birth -- the Governor believes the President was born in Hawaii. The Governor would however like to know more about where President Obama's liberal policies come from and what else the President plans to do to this country -- as do most Americans."

If this were simply a matter of a verbal slip -- Huckabee meant "Indonesia," but said, "Kenya" -- this walk-back would more or less put the matter to rest.

But if Huckabee thinks this is simply about "misspeaking," he's fooling himself. In his little on-air tantrum yesterday, for the former governor didn't just confuse two foreign countries, he engaged in an ugly, layered smear.

Remember, as part of the tirade, Huckabee emphasized Kenya as part of an effort to argue that President Obama is hostile towards Great Britain and "imperialists." The Kenyan part was clearly wrong, but the larger argument echoed the disgusting D'Souza/Gingrich argument connecting the president to "Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior."

It is the cheapest and vilest of the right-wing smear campaign against the president, and Huckabee had to know better than to engage in such nonsense.

What's more, Huckabee's entire case is deeply stupid. After screwing the countries, Huckabee argued Obama offended the British by returning a bust of Winston Churchill (that never happened; Obama moved the bust from the Oval Office to the White House residence), misidentified the family members who raised Obama, and suggested there are legitimate questions about the president's birth certificate.

This was a pathetic display, intended once again to cater to right-wing pathologies about the president being The Other. Huckabee "simply misspoke"? I'm afraid he did much more than that.

Steve Benen 9:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (39)

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Comments

Is Huckabee still beating his wife? No? Sorry, I misspoke.

Posted by: bignose on March 2, 2011 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

Not to mention that if he "simply misspoke" then why was he talking about the Mau Mau Uprising, which was, of course, in Kenya--not Indonesia.

Posted by: j.e.b. on March 2, 2011 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

Exactly. He gave detailed comments that applied to only one country in the world. he could have called it "country x", and it would have been Kenya.

Why is he openly lying like this? He cannot be president anymore --- the murderers he released on parole have made that a certainty. What does he seek to gain?

Posted by: Rathskeller on March 2, 2011 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Oh come on. Huckabee 'meant' Indonesia when he said Kenya. And of course he 'meant' Dutch when he said British. And he was clearly referring to Obama's open hostility toward the Dutch Emperialists...why Michelle's obesity plan is obviously a direct attack on Dutch chocolate makers.

Posted by: k l m on March 2, 2011 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

Just this morning I sent Huckabee a long and scathing email about this subject and also demanded that he grow up and make a public apology, he won't of course, but if everyone would send an email expressing disgust I think he might get the message.

Posted by: j on March 2, 2011 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

Obama didn't "Grow up" in Indonesia any more than he did in Kenya. He spent a FEW years as a very young boy in Indonesia. That does not mean he grew up there any more than Huckabee grew up in whatever collage he spent 4 years at. Than again with Huckabee maybe it took him 8 or 10 years to get through collage!

Posted by: nodak on March 2, 2011 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Deconstructing this smear is actually the diversion Huckabee intends: it gets people asking questions about Obama's youth in Indonesia and what influences he grew up with.

The point is that it is literally impossible for any national American political leader who has been around since the 2008 campaign not to know these two things about Obama:

1) he did not grow up in Kenya and
2) he did not grow up with his father.

Huckabee did not misspeak: he lied.

Posted by: Newton Whale on March 2, 2011 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Also, on what planet is Obama a radical leftist? If only.

Posted by: Charles on March 2, 2011 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

pretty typical FOX-type GOP politics....knowingly spread false information then, if called on it, plead "mistake". But the lie has already gone viral in the TeaPartyGOP by then and been sent, as fact, to millions of eager Obama haters email boxes who from now on will argue that the "Kenya" thing is absolutely true because they heard it on Fox.

Posted by: T2 on March 2, 2011 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

Kenya + Mau Mau = Scary black people.

Huckabee's target audience understands exactly what he is talking about.

Posted by: arkie on March 2, 2011 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

When an ostentatious Christian like Huckabee bears false witness, we're reminded of the gap between conceit and reality. Evangelical Christians don the plumage of righteousness in order to behave like jerks.

Posted by: walt on March 2, 2011 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

If only Barack Obama would have written an account of his life and made it publicly available, like in a book. Then anyone could get hold of such a book, like from their public library, and read it to learn about his early life.

And BTW, are Republicans really supporting imperialism now? BRITISH imperialism? Have any of them read the Declaration of Independence that they hold so dear?

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on March 2, 2011 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

I think we need to dig deeper into Huckabee's rather shrouded formative years to unearth the influences that made him the bald faced liar he is today. We'd like to know more about where Huckabee's lunatic fringe policies come from and what else Huckabee plans to lie to the country about -- as do most Americans.

Posted by: Varecia on March 2, 2011 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

"The Governor would however like to know more about where President Obama's liberal policies come from...."

Because no one raised in the US could possibly be a liberal?

Posted by: Brock on March 2, 2011 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

Ding! Brock, you've pierced the veil.

Posted by: Grumpy on March 2, 2011 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

See, the guy's a fucking liar. Mentioning the Mau Mau puts his idiotic comments right in the middle of Kenya. There was no Mau Mau in Indonesia, only a civil war to dump the Dutch. I should know. I'm Dutch :o)

Posted by: Ben on March 2, 2011 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

Anti-colonial? That would be the Founding Fathers.

Dan

Posted by: Daniel Buck on March 2, 2011 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

Like our Kenyan president, my forebears also displayed some anti-colonial behavior, only they did it at Lexington and Concord. . .

Posted by: DAY on March 2, 2011 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

C'mon, he's an Arkansas hillbilly and a Southern Baptist preacher. What do you expect in the brains department?

The Republicans think the rest of the country is as dumb as the South, making Hucklebuck or Boss Hawg "viable" Presidential candidates.

Posted by: TCinLA on March 2, 2011 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Being anti-colonial is so 18th centuryish! Being a real American now calls for support of colonialism; as long as it is American colonialism.

For a fuller understanding, you must understand that American colonialism is now via economic and military domination and not thru direct rule over the colonies.

For depth of understanding, I refer you to the Statement of Principle of the Project for a New American Century where you can receive the guidance of the most notable intellects and luminaries of our country.

http://www.newamericancentury.org/statementofprinciples.htm

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on March 2, 2011 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

"C'mon, he's an Arkansas hillbilly"

First of all, Huckabee was born and raised in south Arkansas (Hope, in fact). No hills there.

Secondly, Huckabee is now a Floridian.

Posted by: arkie on March 2, 2011 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

When you go to the above referenced PNAC site, be sure to bask in the glory of the sunlight of the signers!

Noteable intellects such as Dan Quayle and Elliot Abrams...

Noteable luminaries such as Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Frank Gaffney, and Steve Forbes.

Posted by: SadOldVet on March 2, 2011 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

The Huckster's not lying, he's bullshitting (see Frankfurt, Harry G.).

Posted by: hells littlest angel on March 2, 2011 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Someone should ask Huckleberry what the Bible says about bearing false witness.

Posted by: buckyor on March 2, 2011 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, the Brits are a bunch of wimpy, nanny-state, public TV-loving socialists. But at least they used to be imperialists!

Posted by: Virginia on March 2, 2011 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

And where did Huckabee's son's attitude toward animals come from? Did Mike teach him to kill dogs?

Posted by: hells littlest angel on March 2, 2011 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, the Brits are a bunch of wimpy, nanny-state, public TV-loving socialists. But at least they used to be imperialists! Posted by: Virginia on March 2, 2011 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Nice. This really shows the flexibility of the caricatures and stereotypes used by the right in the service of demagoguery, doesn't it?

Posted by: trex on March 2, 2011 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

The use of "anti-colonial" as a term of abuse comes from Dinesh D'Souza, who was raised in India. He's the type of Indian conservative who believes in kissing the whip and thanking their kind British overlords for bringing them the blessings of civilization like beer and cricket. The White Man's Burden was a great blessing to the poor benighted brown people like his parents against whose politics he is rebelling. So perhaps Huckabee ought to examine the very un-American origin of the smears he's tossing around.

Posted by: T-Rex on March 2, 2011 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Cute how Huck also dropped in how he'd "like to know...where Obama's liberal policies come from", as if liberalism itself is something inherently alien to the USA.

Posted by: Severian on March 2, 2011 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

Hucky should be disqualified from holding any public office due to his ignorance of history regarding the British, as he claims that viewing them as imperialists is some sort of lefty revolutionary fiction.

Posted by: samsa on March 2, 2011 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

In the Republican lexicon, "mispoke" refers to their tenedency to "miss" the opportunity to think, and answer truthfully, before they "speak".

Posted by: broken arrow on March 2, 2011 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

He just misspoke. When he said "Kenya" he meant Indonesia, when he said "father" he meant mother, when he said Churchill he meant William the silent, when he said Mau Mau he meant Obama is a [African American]. Same difference.

I sure wouldn't want to be his flak catcher.

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on March 2, 2011 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

You might want to focus on:

"I would love to know more. What I know is troubling enough."

Because I've heard almost those exact words from every Republican I've seen or read an interview with in the last two years.

But it's not like that's scripted or anything. Is it?

Posted by: JEA on March 2, 2011 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Another aggrieved party in all this birther nonsense: the State of Hawaii. They get their long-standing policies with respect to birth certificates dragged through the dirt by every yahoo with a chip on his shoulder. Someone once noted that the standard Hawaii certificate of birth is good enough to receive a U.S. passport. That makes it good enough for me. I wish these people would get a grip.

Posted by: Bob on March 2, 2011 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans always say, "I misspoke" when they get called on the carpet for lying. If I had a nickel for every time that has been said by republicans over the last decade, I'd be freaking rich.

Posted by: Silver Owl on March 2, 2011 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Two statements in dynamic tension:

1. "...Huckabee had to know better than to engage in such nonsense."

2. "What's more, Huckabee's entire case is deeply stupid.

Posted by: tamiasmin on March 2, 2011 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

If anti-colonial attitudes are wrong, then I don't want to be right. I oughtta know. I used to be a colony before I threw over the country that used to colonize me.

Why do wingers hate me?

Posted by: The United States of America on March 2, 2011 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

The entire point of this pack of lies was to say "Obama" and "Mau Mau" in the same sentence. It is that crude a racist/nativist dog whistle.

Posted by: varmintito on March 2, 2011 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't Huckabee learn about "not bearing false witness" in preacher school? It amazes me that the most religiously fervent they are, the more they fail to honor the Ten Commandments.

Posted by: Joy on March 2, 2011 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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