Recently Huckabee made news when he said the President grew up in Kenya. He later corrected himself and said he meant Indonesia, where Obama actually did spend some time as a child. I don’t doubt that Huckabee misspoke, but this incident doesn’t speak well for him as I explain below. But George Will has now chimed in on the gaffe and is at his pompous, condescending, elitist worst. Ostensibly the article is about potential Republican contenders for 2012, but Will can’t help but take a swipe at Huckabee over the Kenya misstatement.
Daniel Larison has commented on the article here.
Below is the comment I made on Daniel’s website. What I say regarding the birth certificate issue I have said here several times before, but at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I will continue to say it. My position seems so commonsensical to me that I have a hard time believing that opposition to it is motivated by genuine disagreement on the issue. Maybe that makes me pompous and condescending, the same thing I accuse Will of being, but if so, so be it. I’m just irked by the whole unnecessarily toxic dynamic surrounding the birth certificate issue.
This is George Will at his condescending, elitist, inside-the-beltway worst.
The (One) problem with Huckabee’s answer was that it indicated he hasn’t really been keeping up with the birth certificate issue, and seemed to be just babbling off the top of his head about some peripheral issues he was remotely familiar with. I don’t expect Huckabee to necessarily be an expert on the Obama birth certificate controversy, but I do expect someone who holds himself up to be a conservative commentator to be at least somewhat familiar with the issue. How could he not be? Is he that insulated and/or incurious? (Or dense? ~ Not in original.)
I have never believed that Obama was born in Kenya. That has never made logistical or any other kind of sense. (Especially when you consider that his mother’s marriage to BO Senior seems to have been mostly a sham anyway.) But I do think BO should release his long form birth certificate because people are rightly curious about it and there is no good reason he shouldn’t.
What Huckabee should have known if he was remotely familiar with the issue is that the focus has shifted away (for the curious and thoughtful who are not already convinced “birthers”) from BO being born in Kenya to a more generalized “What is he hiding?” given all the many documents he refuses to release. This is clearly what the talk radio host was driving at, and Huckabee could have fielded the question easily with a simple “Yeah, I’m curious to see those things too.”
Will is typical of what I call taint phobics of which conspiracy phobics are a subset. They are so concerned about their reputation (they will claim they are worried about the brand, but what they are really worried about is their own status), that they run screaming from any whiff of the disreputable -”racism,” conspiracy theories, the gold standard, etc. – and then point and mock from a distance like a bunch of children on the playground.
The problem with this mindset (besides indicating the person who has it is a suck up) is that it distorts your ability to think objectively and rationally about an issue to the same degree that the automatic embrace of conspiratorial explanations does.
To want to see the long form birth certificate and the many other things Obama has refused to release is the naturally curious, intuitive response, and it has to be actively suppressed by conspiracy phobia. But it shouldn’t be up to conservative talk radio hosts or potential Presidential candidates to raise the issue. That is the job of our worthless press corp, whose incuriousity about these issues has to be willful.
Boiled down to it’s most basic my position is this: Obama should authorize the release of his long form birth certificate. How can anyone disagree with that? I don’t get it.