When it comes to right-wing rejection of Syrian refugees, Mike Huckabee was ahead of the curve. Back in September, when most policymakers were debating how many – not if – the United States would welcome fleeing families, Huckabee asked, “Are they really escaping tyranny, are they escaping poverty, or are they really just coming because we’ve got cable TV?”
After the terrorist violence in Paris, the former Arkansas governor’s posture took an even uglier turn. After Huckabee used the attacks as a rationale for scrapping the Iran nuclear deal – he didn’t seem to realize ISIS and Iran are bitter enemies – he went on to say refugees should “end up in the neighborhood where the limousine liberal lives” or perhaps the “dorm rooms” at the University of Missouri.
This week, however, Huckabee is shifting his focus, directing his ire away from the refugees and towards the president trying to show leadership on the issue. Politico reported:
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee charged Monday that President Barack Obama’s “new domestic terrorism plan probably requires Americans to memorize Koran verses.”That line – which has no basis in fact – came in a new op-ed the 2016 Republican presidential candidate penned for FoxNews.com.
“Why does the Obama administration express more outrage at conservatives than at radical Islamic terrorists? President Obama seems more interested in protecting the reputation of Islam than protecting the American people,” Huckabee wrote.
The Republican added that the refugees would be “unchecked” and “unscreened,” which is a brazen lie.
Note, the fact that this was written is no small detail. It’s easy to say stupid things on the fly, without giving the comments forethought, but when a national candidate writes ridiculous arguments in a published piece, it reinforces the deliberate nature of the absurdity.
In other words, Huckabee didn’t just blurt out nonsense in an interview, failing to think his argument through; he went to the trouble of thinking about it, writing it down, and making ridiculous claims on purpose.
We talked briefly about this yesterday, but I think the larger point isn’t that Huckabee has the capacity to be an offensive buffoon. We already knew that. The broader concern is that much of the political establishment likes to think of Huckabee as a charming, avuncular guy who’s easily to admire.
It’s past time for pundits to reassess those assumptions. Huckabee isn’t just some conservative political personality – he’s an anti-gay attack dog, someone who embraces racially charged conspiracy theories, and a snake-oil salesman with a record of over-the-top vitriol.
His Fox News op-ed is a reminder that the Beltway pundits who tell the public that Huckabee is a great guy apparently don’t know what they’re talking about.