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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Huckabee Rides the Tiger and Faces the Consequences (updated)

As much as any single thing, the Right wing attempt to paint President Obama as an “other” is what drove me to start this blog. The phony stories about birth certificates and Muslim upbringing and “palling with terrorists” and not being a Christian—all of these serve the purpose of creating a picture of Obama as an other, as someone “foreign” to the “pure” and “exceptional” America that “we all” know is our “true history”. The willingness of so many conservative Christians to sit back and allow lie after lie to be told, and the damage that such duplicity does to the cause of Christian unity and witness, fueled my desire to start this website.

Now, as the political focus begins to shift from the midterm elections to the presidential campaign, Republicans will be forced to live with the consequences of riding the tiger of prejudice and innuendo. Every time potential Republican candidates grant an interview to a radio host who has propagated these lies they will be forced in plain sight to answer questions loaded with ignorance and hate. They will have a choice to make—stand up to the nonsense or pander to the fear and face the national media derision that comes with being a potential president who travels in the company of lies so thick they would make a John Birch supporter blush. Riding the tiger of a lie-fueled base to victory in local congressional races means trying to control that tiger in the white-hot media light of a presidential campaign.

Mike Huckabee enjoys being the "adult" of the potential Republican candidates. He has made noises about "respecting Obama but disagreeing with his policies." Yet here he is riding the tiger of the lie that "Obama grew up in Kenya" and he hates America because "he had a dad who hated British imperialism." Huckabee is feeling the heat this morning, as well he should be. Mike Huckabee has been bucked off of the tiger. Will he get back on it or will he dare to offend a base that has swallowed conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory? Or will he attempt the third option, as Huckabee is trying to do, of clearly throwing red meat to his base but denying he meant anything by it to the national media? Huckabee is a master at the “aw shucks” approach to American politics. He enjoys the pretense of being a truth-teller, someone who is just a simple preacher and plain shooter, while in reality he is willing to peddle in the same racist, fear-mongering rhetoric and lies of the most vicious operatives on the Right. 

UPDATE: Huckabee has today further clarified his comments in an interview with Bryan Fischer, and it is now clear that Huckabee has decided to get back on the tiger:

"And so I'd like you to comment on that," Fischer continued. "You seem to think that there is some validity to the fact that there may be some fundamental anti-Americanism in this president."
"Well, that's exactly the point that I make in the book," Huckabee responded. "And I don't know why these reporters -- maybe they can't read...I have said many times...publicly, that I do think he has a different worldview and I think it's, in part, molded out of a very different experience. Most of us grew up going to Boy Scout meetings and, you know, our communities were filled with Rotary Clubs, not madrassas."

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