There is something refreshing in the astonishing ignorance demonstrated by Mike Huckabee when the candidate talks about foreign affairs. It’s just not something experienced everyday in the civilized world that we see one of the major party’s presidential front runners more knowledgeable about the bible than anything recently published in Foreign Affairs magazine about Pakistan.
If this race continues the way it is, we will be entertained with many more such moments of hilarity. Mike Huckabee is the first candidate in a while who needs a team of aides to spread out after he speaks and tell the press what the candidate really meant when he stuck his foot so far into his mouth his nosehairs were tickling his kneecap:
Explaining statements he made suggesting that the instability in Pakistan should remind Americans to tighten security on the southern border of the United States, Mr. Huckabee said Friday that â€œwe have more Pakistani illegals coming across our border than all other nationalities, except those immediately south of the border.â€
Asked to justify the statement, he later cited a March 2006 article in The Denver Post reporting that from 2002 to 2005, Pakistanis were the most numerous non-Latin Americans caught entering the United States illegally. According to The Post, 660 Pakistanis were detained in that period.
A recent report from the Department of Homeland Security, however, concluded that, over all, illegal immigrants from the Philippines, India, Korea, China and Vietnam were all far more numerous than those from Pakistan.
In a separate interview on Friday on MSNBC, Mr. Huckabee, a Republican, said that the Pakistani government â€œdoes not have enough control of those eastern borders near Afghanistan to be able go after the terrorists.â€ Those borders are on the western side of Pakistan, not the eastern side.
Further, he offered an Orlando crowd his â€œapologies for what has happened in Pakistan.â€ His aides said later that he meant to say â€œsympathies.â€
He also said he was worried about martial law â€œcontinuingâ€ in Pakistan, although Mr. Musharraf lifted the state of emergency on Dec. 15. Mr. Huckabee later said that he was referring to a renewal of full martial law and said that some elements, including restrictions on judges and the news media, had continued.
Anyone who still thinks Mike Huckabee has what it takes to lead this nation as President in the extremely perilous days ahead after watching and listening to him flail about the last couple of days needs a reality check.
That’s not exactly what I wanted to say. I wanted to say that anyone who still supports Huckabee after his performance regarding the Bhutto assassination is an idiot, or should have their head examined, or should be disenfranchised, or should run off and start their own party. They could call it the “Idiotic, Superstitious, Religious Fanatic and Intellectual Twit Party.”
I wanted to say all of that but I’m glad I didn’t. People don’t take you seriously if you go overboard in your criticism – even if those being criticized it deserve it.
The only question I have is will this indeed be a death blow to the Huckabee campaign? If it isn’t and Huckabee still does well in Iowa, and is viable through Super Tuesday and beyond, I will weep for the ignorance of the rank and file in the Republican party. Let them have their preacher man. Let them revel in that old time religion. Let them dream of segregating gays and people with AIDS lest their kids be exposed to the deadly sins of modernity and tolerance. Let them stick their heads in the sand and pretend that a lack of basic knowledge of the world around us should not disqualify someone to be president during a time of war.
The left has been fond of saying that Huckabee’s success is only what we conservatives deserve in courting and pandering to the religious right all these years. There is probably something to that criticism. After all, if Dennis Kucinich were a front runner on the Democratic side, we conservatives would be similarly gloating about chickens coming home to roost for the left.
But beyond such childish analysis is the very real and frightening prospect that Mike Huckabee, despite his demonstrated lack of expertise and knowledge about a vital part of the world where our enemies are making a supreme effort to win an important battle in the War on Terror, is still seen as presidential timber by perhaps a third or more of Republican regulars. I don’t know if that will be enough to get him over the top and win the requisite number of delegates for a first ballot victory at the convention. But it almost certainly will make him a player in the party and will give him a big say in platform deliberations and perhaps even the choice for Vice President.
All because nothing the Huckster says or does that reveals him to be unqualified for the presidency seems to matter to his legions of supporters.