Let me finish tonight with this important column by George F. Will: I count it a milestone in conservative positioning. I compare it to the position William F. Buckley, Jr., took back in the 1950s against anti-Semitism. As the great Sam Tanenhaus wrote, American conservatism then bore its taint and Bill Buckley read that point of view right out of the conservative movement. He cleaned it up from that bit of bad thinking and bad feeling.
This Sunday in his widely-syndicated newspaper column, George Will read a different kind of talk out of the presidential selection for 2012. He heard the words of Mike Huckabee on AM radio last Monday, heard Huckabee echoing and enlarging a canard thrown by Newt Gingrich and dumped the pair of them from the list of "plausible" candidates.
What Huckabee did -- and let's not let this be covered over in meaningless meandering -- was pander to a radio talk host who had just asked him what he thought of the President not being able to show any record of who he is - no health records, no college records, no birth certificate - in other words - a fictitious figure pretending to have been born and grown up in Hawaii be an American who went to Occidental College, Columbia University and Harvard Law; in short, an imposter, some extraordinary case of identity theft, the product of some outrageously bolt plot to get a kid of mixed a black African and a white American parent named Barack Hussein Obama elected president.
What was Huckabee's response to what George Will calls this "paranoia?"
"I would love to know more," Huckabee agreed as if this talk show guy of wild conspiracy theories might be onto something here.
"What I know is troubling enough," Huckabee said, eager to add to the wild speculation, "And one thing I do know is his having grown up in Kenya … 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." Our President never spent a day of his youth in Kenya or anywhere else in Africa. uckabee knew that. He actually "says" he knew that. He knew, too, that all this talk about "Mau Maus" and "Kenya" would sell with the haters and he was dishing it out for them - until he got caught.
Newt Gingrich is the guy he apparently got this stuff from. Gingrich calls it a "predictive model" of what President Obama will do on any given issue. Newt knew he didn't grow up in Kenya. So did Huckabee. He told us he knew it. So why did he get caught telling us this story? George Will should be commended for knowing precisely why he did. He's removing from the conservative movement, or at least the presidential candidate level of it, for the same, good, reasons why Bill Buckley bounced that crowd in the '50s… Because it doesn't make the rest of the movement look so good to be clowning around with these guys.