Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mike Huckabee clarifies Kenyan Verbal Gaffe: Ken-ya Give Mike Huckabee a Break?

Mike Huckabee was a guest on The O'Reilly Factor and discussed the verbal gaffe he made in reference to Obama's upbringing.

Please check out this great piece by Huckabee supporter, Gary Walter from the Gary Walter Report:

"Really and truly I would much rather be writing an advocacy blog report for Mike Huckabee. I would rather be talking about his many talents, his abundant accomplishments in over 13 years of state governance, his hopeful and inspiring vision for the path of our country, his articulate and inspirational style,or his much-needed common sense approach to governance as laid out in his new book "A Simple Government". Clearly I would find much more joy in telling you why I believe he is by far the best person on the planet to be President of the United States. I would love to be pointing out that today he led all prospective candidates throughout the south by a whopping 9% in a crowded field (which he did) or that he tops all comers in the most recent national Gallup poll (which he does). But I instead feel compelled today to write as an apologist in the light of the "Obama/Kenya" flap.

In a radio interview on Monday, one of dozens of interviews the Governor gave, he made reference to President Obama's upbringing in Kenya. Despite all context to the contrary, the left-loyal NY Times in an article by Michael Shear comes up with the headline "Huckabee Questions Obama Birth Certificate". Others claimed he was trying to curry support of the "Birther" movement. Others say he is catering to the worst of racism. Others say he's just plain stupid and ignorant while many of the left wing press condemn him as a liar. Huckabee has clearly stated that this was a misspoken comment-and he is simply not a birther. Here's the quote from the governor's website: "As I stated in my new book "A Simple Government" and in numerous interviews with dozens of reporters- I don't believe there is an issue with Barack Obama's birth certificate. However, I do believe there are serious issues with the President's policies, and I have been openly opposed to the President's world view."
Now the left wants to say that Huckabee intentionally made the Kenyan reference because he wanted to curry favor with the birther movement. That is simply a ludicrous assumption. Obviously birthers know where Huckabee stands- you can go to page one of his book and to any number of his public interviews and he is clear, that's not his axe to grind- there are substantive policy issues which demand and merit his and our time and attention as we seek to find a new president. So what would he gain by the miss-speak. As far as the birther's are concerned, it would only underscore that he does not go that route- See the last paragraph of his response where he notes that if Obama was not born in the US than Hillary Clinton's operatives surely would have discovered this and ended his successful campaign against her. No, there would be no benefit to the Governor to make the Kenyan insertion as far as the Birthers were concerned.

So lets start there- there is no motive for a "lie". Further, it has became my privilege to get to know this man. No, I'm not his best bud but since 2007 I have been closely monitoring his speeches , books, and media appearances. I have met and spoken with him on repeated occasions and recently spent 9 days watching him up close and personal on a trip to Israel. The man is a gentleman, a sincere Christian, a leader, and a truth teller. There was no motive for him to lie and to do so would not be consistent with the character of the man I have come to know.

So how did the Kenyan reference come out? What would make sense? The simple answer is that when saying Kenya, he meant "Indonesia" which of course is where President Obama spent four years of his youth. However the critics are quick to counter that the swapping of the words "Kenya" and "Indonesia" don't make the story make sense since there is a reference to the Mau Mau rebellion, and Obama's father and grandfather- which of course are Kenyan not Indonesian in nature. Again there is no motive for Huckabee to convolute the story, so why would these inconsistencies be there? I believe the answer is found in the bigger picture of what the Governor was trying to say: His point was this: the American people do not like the policies of this President- whether we are talking about the exploding debt, the Healthcare debacle , or his whimpish foreign policy model. There are reasons why President Obama looks at the world differently than many Americans. Those reasons include many things from his upbringing which included being registered in school as a Muslim in Indonesia, to having a Kenyan as well as American heritage (his father though not involved in young Barack's life was from Kenya), to where he went to school, to the people he associated with in Chicago politics. If we are to understand where President Obama has taken us and where he would like to take us, his world view must be understood. When the reporter asked the question, I believe the Governor blended together parts of these pieces and they came out a bit jumbled. It was a mistake- one that he has apologized for. What it proves is Huckabee is human.

But why would it be Huckabee that made the mistake? I would assert that you'll find mistakes in all of humans the more we are exposed to one another. Other candidates do not make themselves available to the press except in controlled environments that make them look good. Gov. Huckabee is a real and honest individual who consistently makes himself available to anyone who would like to speak with him. Eventually there will be a gaffe. But as a leader, he's willing to take that risk in order to be accessible to the people. I would suggest that the very vulnerability that Gov. Huckabee exhibits is in fact another reason why he should be President. We want to know our leaders. We would like them to be competent, courageous,and coherent, - all of which Gov. Huckabee is, but we also want them to be authentic and real. They can make mistakes like we do, they are human, but they can take that humanity and inspire us to greatness. Gov. Huckabee does that as well.

At the end of the day we can focus on the "gotcha" questions and character assasinations ad nauseum but what really matters is that we look at the big picture of who should lead are country. Should it be someone with the world view of Barack Obama that leads us to European socialism or the world view of Mike Huckabee that leads us to believe in an America that was founded on great Judeo-Christian principles that have made our country great. America didn't become a great country by accident and focus on an accident should never take us from our goal to be a great country."

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