Pre-Primary Pander Prince

« March 2011 »


It is the way of all things. Democrats and Republicans must pander in order to get their party's nomination. Democrats pander to the pundits who fetishize and worship an "independent voter", a magical moderate pixie who's really a Republican but who believes everything Chris Matthews and David Brooks believe. And Republicans cater to the craziest motherfuckers in the country.

Primary season hasn't started yet, but pandering season is in full swing, and the king of the panderers has got to be Mike Huckabee. He's got the all-things-to-all-people chameleon act down cold. He's what Tim Pawlenty is desperately trying to be and failing. He can go on The Daily Show and seem reasonable enough to make inattentive centrists (see pundits, above) think he's a decent guy, but he's got the evangelical street cred for the Jebus crowd.

And this week, he turned the pander up to high, going on the Steve Malzberg radio show and trying to thread the birther needle. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"I would love to know more. What I know is troubling enough. And one thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American. When he gave the bust back to the Brits... the bust of Winston Churchill, a great insult to the British. But then if you think about it, his perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather."

Now, let's quickly get the fact stuff out of the way - Obama didn't grow up in Kenya. He spent a few years in Indonesia as a youth, but grew up in his home state of Hawaii. And the bust of Churchill thing wasn't a great insult to the British, it was a largely manufactured slow-news-day deal. I guarantee you a poll of the British people would turn up less than a quarter who remember it even happened.

But none of that matters. What matters is Huckabee's startling viewpoint, aided and abetted by wingnut talk show host Malzberg, that there's nothing wrong with British imperialism in Africa, and anyone who thinks there is hates the Western world. I know Republicans want to go back to the 50s, but I just thought they meant in terms of sex ed, gay rights, and women in the workplace. I didn't realize global domination of the darkies while sipping tea in colonialist mansions was on the agenda. Or at least not openly on the agenda.

How the vaunted West treated Africa was a fucking atrocity. That's historical fact. But apparently the British have been folded into American exceptionalism when it comes to raping darker continents, only to be excluded again when it's time to talk about health care. Huckabee is deliberately pandering to the racists in his party with shit like this, and he's going to get away with it, because even the people that are calling him on his factual errors now aren't going to look at the bigger picture, and aren't going to remember this a month or two from now.

Huckabee's official "out" is that he meant to say Indonesia, and he brought up Obama's one and only misstatement, the one the wingnuts go to time and time again, the "57 states" mistake. They've used that to defend Sarah Palin against charges of being butt-stupid, and now Huckabee's using it to defend against charges of cryptobirtherism.

But the fact is, his stance is cryptobirther and racist even if you substitute Indonesia for Kenya, pretend the Mau Mau Revolution happened in Indonesia, and pretend that the British were in charge of Indonesia for more than half a decade in the early 19th century, the point is that He Ain't From Here, He Don't Think Like Us, which is the lizard-brain racist xenophobic bullshit the fucktards have been flinging at Obama since day one. That's who Huckabee was pandering to, and just to reinforce it, he did it AGAIN, to Bryan Fischer, because Fischer's gaping asshole may actually BE the right-wing echo chamber.

"Most of us grew up going to Boy Scout meetings and, you know, our communities were filled with Rotary Clubs, not madrassas."

The only reason to use the word "madrassa" unless you're actually standing outside one is to give every racist wingnut in America a Secret Muslim Boner. That is the entire semantic purpose of the word in the political sphere. As an aside, I wonder if any madrassas let women attend them before the 80s, because the Rotary Club sure as fuck didn't.

On Hardball yesterday, Potato Head seemed shocked by this stuff coming out of Huckabee's face, because Huckabee had always seemed reasonable on his show. Matthews believes in Nice Huckabee for the same reason a lot of other people do - selective editing of the historical record. There is ample evidence that Mike Huckabee is a shithead, from his support of "covenant marriage" to the latest racist pandering. But nobody remembers that. Nice Huckabee is like Maverick McCain - an image firmly ingrained into the punditocracy, impervious to evidence.

Something like this will knock their perceptions out of their well-worn rut for a few days, but eventually, they'll just slide back in. You wait and see. It happens to Haley Barbour on an almost weekly basis.