Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor, Fox talk show host, and probable GOP presidential contender got himself into some trouble when he said Obama learned anti-American ways growing up in Kenya. Later he said he misspoke and meant Indonesia. Kenya. Indonesia. Practically next door neighbors. Whatever.
Anyway, he had just about come through the storm of his birther-speak when he appeared on Bryan Fischer’s Focal Point show to complain about Obama’s childhood some more. On Fischer’s show, Huckabee said:
And I have said many times, publicly, that I do think he has a different worldview and I think it is, 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. (emphasis supplied by Salon’s Steve Kornacki)
A madrassa of course is a Muslim school, with recent associations to radical elements of Islam. While nasty, Huckabee is not terribly original in his attack. Properly or not, Hillary Clinton was credited for unearthing this fact early in 2007.
Terry, this is appearing on a Web site today, Insight magazine, which is a subsidiary of The Washington Times. Here’s the question. I’ll put it up on the screen: Barack’s madrassa past. He says that “during the five years that we would live with my stepfather in Indonesia, I was sent first to a neighborhood Catholic school and then to a predominately Muslim school.” That’s from his book, “The Audacity of Hope.”
Now in the meantime, this is what Democrats are saying, according to Insight magazine. They’re looking into his background. They’re saying: He was a Muslim. He concealed it. His opponents within the Democrats hope this will become a major issue in the campaign.
Now, we have heard about dirty politics before. Republicans aren’t involved in this one. What do you think about what’s going on over there?
TERRY HOLT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: John, the last time I checked, there was still a freedom of religion in this country. And this is either a despicable act by an absolutely ruthless Clinton political machine. We know that they are capable of doing this. But it wasn’t directly linked to Hillary Clinton. If it wasn’t her, then certainly she should disavow it because I think we have spent an awful lot of time in this country trying to tamp down anti-religious sentiments.
Note what Republican Holt said about the effort to paint Obama as a radical Muslim – “a despicable act.” As Holt pointed out later in the interview, when Obama went to school, a madrassa was similar to any other parochial school associated with a religious view.
Now beyond Huckabee’s confusion of Kenya with Indonesia and his below-the-belt attack on Obama’s childhood is the fact that he is again propping up Bryan Fischer and the American Family Association. As regular readers here know, Fischer believes homosexuals are responsible for “six million dead Jews” during WWII, wants to ban construction of new mosques, and believes that Native Americans got what was coming to them in the near eradication of their tribes during the American settlement and expansion. The American Family Association has been silent on their official position on any of these matters and offers a considerable platform for Fischer’s supremacist views.
Is Huckabee so desperate for an audience that he needs to make news in that fringe-right environment? As Salon’s Kornacki points out, Huckabee is now making this ugly, and I add that he found one of the ugliest places to do it.