Over the last few days, prospective Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has been getting heat because he mistakenly claimed that President Obama was raised in Kenya. Huck says it was an honest mistake—he really meant Indonesia and Hawaii. But, hey, what’s the difference right?
As quoted on CNN, Huckabee says
“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 different experience. Most of us grew up going to boy scout meetings and you know our communities were filled with rotary clubs, not madrassa.”
So here’s the thing: Not only did Obama actually attend secular and Catholic schools when he lived in Indonesia, he was also a boy scout in his youth!
Taken at face value, Huckabee’s comments are laughable just on the basis of logic alone. Obama lived in Indonesia from ages 6 to 10 years old–approximately 4 years–before returning to Hawaii. Is Huckabee trying to say that if an American child lives 4 years abroad the child has such a different worldview that they are un-American? Or what if an American child attended a madrassa in New York City? If we take this line of reasoning, probably millions of American children would be unfit to be president, and freedom of religion has gone down the tubes.
Huckabee’s view of being American is itself decidedly un-American, because being American is celebrating diversity and different worldviews. That is what has made America strong, not fearing and protecting ourselves from people who are different than us. What we need in America today are different worldviews, ‘cuz the ones we got aren’t working that hot.
If the issue was just about Huckabee’s apparent lack of logical thinking skills, I probably would not have taken time to write this piece. But Huckabee’s statements demonstrate a deeper issue. That issue is about honesty. On the one hand, we could believe that Huckabee is making statements he believes are truthful. But, if that is the case, then he is grossly uninformed about his main opponent—one of the most fully investigated people in the world. If he really doesn’t know these things about Obama, one would have to question Huck’s competence to take on the battle for the presidency.
On the other hand, perhaps, as the CNN reporters suggest, he could be making a “dog whistle” to certain voting blocks (such as the “birthers”) who get riled up about this kind of thing. In that case, Huckabee is purposely manipulating information and claiming his mistakes are an accident. As we all know, intentionally misrepresenting information is, well, lying.
Now, Huckabee is a former governor, an author, and a TV pundit. Beside the fact that he works for Fox, Huck seems like he is probably an intelligent guy who has some degree of strategic sense. So you can figure where that leaves us. If he’ll lie to get the votes of grossly misinformed people, what’s to say he wouldn’t lie to us if he was the President?