The presidential election isn’t for another year and a half, but already a rogues gallery of challengers to Barack Obama are already putting their toes in the water. Even the twice-divorced, massively low-popularity-polling Newt Gingrich is thinking of running. Who is he kidding? The only way he could seriously think he has a chance of being elected is if he’s psychotically delusional. More likely he sees throwing his hat in the ring as a) a way to stoke his considerable ego and b) another feather in his hat that will keep him near the circles of power. Who knows? Maybe a cabinet position, or a choice ambassadorship?
Then there’s Mike Huckabee. He’s an amiable enough fellow, but the more he opens his mouth, the more he exposes himself as either a gold-plated rube, or a shameless panderer to Know Nothings and knee-jerk jingoists. The latest bullshit from the Huckster comes during a radio interview in which he claimed that Barack Obama was born and raised in Kenya, a fact that taints his view of the British in comparison with the views of “regular” Americans. Huckabee has tried to backpeddle by saying it was a mere slip of the tongue. Meant to say “Indonesia”–so sorry.
The pundits aren’t letting him off the hook so easily, though. The New York Times’ Timothy Egan has an essay titled “The Fictions of Mike Huckabee” that nicely sums up Huckabee’s baloney. No rational person can dismiss Huckabee’s comments as a slip of the tongue. For one thing, Huckabee seems to be admitting Obama was BORN and RAISED in INDONESIA. The president was born in America (yes, Hawaii is part of America), and spent five years in Indonesia as a child. But he was largely raised in America, by Americans, and educated in American universities. Furthermore, what’s Huckabee’s evidence that Obama’s views of the British are so radically different? Besides, as has been pointed out repeatedly, Indonesia was a Dutch colony, not British, so if Obama should have tainted opinions about anybody, it would be those crazy folks from the Netherlands. (And while I’m at it, why is it that nobody ever mentions that Obama’s rival in the last election–John McCain–was in fact born OUTSIDE the United States, in the Panama Canal Zone, and spent his formative years living on foreign soil?)
Huckabee’s never going to admit he was flat-out wrong, either because he actually BELIEVES this stuff, or because to do so would ruin his image within the core Republican demographic (which appears to be fundamentalist Christian nativists). This, and Huckabee’s admission that he doesn’t accept the theory of evolution, should be enough to convince voters that he shouldn’t be trusted with the intricacies of international and American domestic policy.
Meanwhile, Republican leadership have continued to waffle about whether or not Obama is actually a natural-born citizen and a Christian. Speaker of the House John Boehner–next in line of succession behind Joe Biden to the presidency!–says he “takes the president at his word” but shies away from trying to convince the electorate that to think otherwise is foolishness. And House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says he doesn’t think the issue is important, and refuses to call Birthers “crazy”–because it’s not nice to call people crazy.
These people are crazy.