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Posted at 1:16 PM ET, 03/ 2/2011

No, it's not okay to traffic in pure fiction about Obama's heritage

By Adam Serwer

Ben Smith writes that my criticism of Mike Huckabee is unfair:

Is the idea that Obama's intellectual history should be tied to his personal narrative and to a father whom he barely knew really all that crazy or racist? I recall some guy writing a book along those lines once. Obama has also spoken himself about the impact growing up in the developing world has had on his views.

More broadly, the line that Serwer's dismissing here is the fringe of an argument that's worth taking seriously: Obama's roots in politics, to the degree he thought about foreign policy at all, are on the left, in the campus anti-nuclear movement and in an academic Chicago milieu in which Palestinian activists recalled him as sympathetic. He moved right on all sorts of things as he approached the national stage, but as he puts a very personal stamp on American foreign policy at a turbulent moment, it's legitimate to look at his personal education.

Right, but Huckabee didn't "look at his personal education." Huckabee created an entirely fictional one. It's one thing to tie Obama's politics to his personal narrative, as Smith suggests, but it's another thing entirely to reduce them to caricature through elaborate invention.

The point of Huckabee's "Obama grew up in Kenya sympathizing with the Mau-Mau's" remark is to tell a story about Obama's life that never actually happened. Obama's personal history, as told by the man himself, renders him a creature of American liberal politics, not foreign anti-colonial revolution. If you're going to use Obama's personal background to gauge his politics, that's fine, but it doesn't seem like it's asking too much to insist that people use his actual personal background to do so.

If you really want to trace how Obama's childhood and background affected his politics, you could, as Smith points out, turn to his autobiography. Huckabee is pretending that he was raised by his father and grandfather in Kenya, and has a visceral hatred of Winston Churchill, when in reality he was raised largely by his white grandparents in Hawaii. Huckabee is proposing (tentatively) that the only reason to believe the president is not lying about his birth certificate is because the evil Clintons would have exposed him otherwise. He's suggesting that the liberal politics he embraced are, therefore, as David Frum wrote, of the "Kenyan anti-colonialism" thesis, "motivated by anti-white racial revenge."

But Obama's actual life wouldn't confirm any of this. So conservatives have invented an alternate universe in which Obama's absent father raised him in Kenya to hate the British and that his entire administration is therefore an elaborate scheme for racial payback. The fiction is so pervasive that Huckabee appeared to think it was actually true. He had heard it so many times that he found himself repeating it with no self-consciousness whatsoever.

The question is not whether Obama's "personal background" plays a role in his politics. Everyone's personal background does. But if I said that Huckabee hates Obama because white conservatives from Arkansas hate black people because the National Guard was once called in to forcibly integrate schools in his home state, that would be outrageous, unfair, and false. That isn't much different from saying that Obama's policies are the result of him "growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather." It's the misinformation, in service of a grand fictional narrative, that's the problem.

By Adam Serwer  | March 2, 2011; 1:16 PM ET
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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Comments

Ben Smith is an awful journalist because he was raised by chimpanzees.

See? It's easy to draw false conclusions from a lie.

Ben Smith is not an awful journalist because he was raised by chimps. He wasn't raised by chimps. He is an awful journalist because he coddles LIARS.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | March 2, 2011 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Great, interesting comments everyone! Many thanks!

As to the above, hilarious!

Keep up the good work all!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | March 2, 2011 1:23 PM | Report abuse

"Obama's personal history, as told by the man himself, renders him a creature of American liberal politics, not foreign anti-colonial revolution. If you're going to use Obama's personal background to gauge his politics, that's fine, but it doesn't seem like it's asking too much to insist that people use his actual personal background to do so."

Bingo. Good post Adam.

Posted by: jnc4p | March 2, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Also, Etan, Liam, et. al. you guys may find this amusing:

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/02/subtropical-wisconsin/

Posted by: jnc4p | March 2, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Really bizarre comments from Huckabee. The anti-colonialism line from Dinesh/Huckabee etc. is just dog-whistle for the racist vote. Ben Smith can't be this obtuse.

Huckabee just exposed his bigot self.

Posted by: jasonr3 | March 2, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I don't get Ben Smith at times. He seems level headed then goes off the deep end all in the breath of two posts.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | March 2, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Regardless of the real truth that President Obama did not grow up in Kenya,

Since when has being pro-colonial empires, become the moral high ground.

What the hell right did the English have to Kenya, China, India, Egypt, Ireland, Scotland, Gibraltar, The Malvinas, Cyprus, Ceylon, South Africa, etc?

Posted by: Liam-still | March 2, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RClJ6vK9x_4


I want to thank Fox Cable News for being honest enough to show a video clip of Madison Wisconsin in the middle of Winter, with no snow, and Palm Trees flourishing.

Clear evidence of how far Global Warming has progressed.

Thank You Rupert. You are a great environmentalist.

Posted by: Liam-still | March 2, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

skip

If you're around I left a link at the end of the Morning Plum re tax subsidies that may or may not be useful to you.

Posted by: lmsinca | March 2, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Joe Klein (yeah, I know..Joke Line) hits the nail squarely (via Sullivan):

"Huckabee was never an entirely plausible candidate for President--could we actually ever elect a man who has his doubts about evolution? whose comments about Israel seemed to indicate a literal interpretation of the Bible and the Rapture myth?--but he always struck me as a good guy, more concerned about working-class America than most of his rivals. These comments, however, and his subsequent lie that he really meant Indonesia not Kenya, really show a demented, perverse sensibility, and they demonstrate some of the ugliness at the heart of Obama hatred.

I'm talking about the Mau Mau comment, especially.

When I was growing up, Mau Mau was shorthand for: Extremely Scary Black People. The brutality of the Mau Mau rebellion was legendary (and, who knows, perhaps even accurate). It became a term of art in the sixties: to mau-mau was to intimidate white people. (As a young reporter in Boston, I covered a would-be black militant group that called itself, with brilliant irony, De Mau Mau.) To associate Barack Obama with the Mau Mau rebellion is to feed all the worst, paranoid fears of Glenn Beck's America--and, as any sane person knows, completely ridiculous."

Posted by: suekzoo1 | March 2, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

He moved right on all sorts of things as he approached the national stage, but as he puts a very personal stamp on American foreign policy at a turbulent moment, it's legitimate to look at his personal education.
-------------------------------------------------------------
And therefore, it's legitimate to entertain an alternate history of having been brought up in Kenya and influenced thereby to hate the British? Based on this, anyone could say anything about the President and somehow it would be "legitimate".

Let's use a little common sense here and not overly intellectualize this: the President was not brought up in Kenya to thereby hate the British. Legitimate concerns do not lead to lies.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | March 2, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I look forward to discussing Huckabee's current role as a pandering, ignorant, lying sack of you-know-what through examination of his intellectual history...you know, a guy whose type of family values resulted in him raising a dog-torturing kid who he had to hide from public view, and who once let a serial rapist out of prison because Huck believed some 8th rate Rush Limbaugh wannabee's deluded notions that Clinton railroaded the rapist 'cuz his 8th cousin was an alleged victim.

Posted by: flounder2 | March 2, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

"I don't get Ben Smith at times. He seems level headed then goes off the deep end all in the breath of two posts."

Really interesting question. I'll hazard a guess, back scratching. He's protecting an asset. I wonder if Greg ever does that? ;-)

Fantastic comments, all!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | March 2, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Au contraire, the more the Republicans traffic in pure fiction about Obama, the more their candidates for office in 2012 will have to make fools of themselves. It isn't just ok, it is a good thing.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 2, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

OT:

-Buffett on CNBC: Unemployment Rate to be in "Low 7's" for 2012 Election-

"I think the gains in business will be much more reflected by gains in employment going from this point forward than they have been in the first year and a half or two years of this recovery."

Buffett told our Becky Quick that while he doesn't know how quickly the labor market will recover, "I would guess that by close to the election of 2012 that (the) unemployment (rate) would be probably in the low 7s."

http://www.cnbc.com/id/41868626

Posted by: ronnieandrush | March 2, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Au contraire, the more the Republicans traffic in pure fiction about Obama, the more their candidates for office in 2012 will have to make fools of themselves. It isn't just ok, it is a good thing.
--------------------------------------------------------------
Sometimes it's hard to really believe that something ugly can turn out good, but I understand your point. I suppose it's the same thing as "death leading to eternal life"--death somehow seems worse than eternal life seems good.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | March 2, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Adam, your last point: "it's not much different." It is different because Huckabee and other white folks in Arkanass did have that particular historical experience in common--whether they collectively drew the same racially constructed conclusion from that experience is up for grabs. On the other hand, Obama's purported childhood in Kenya Mau Mauing around and such just plain ol' did not happen. Is that what you meant?

Posted by: xpatriate | March 2, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

xpat- I had the same thoughts. It made me wonder if Greg was saying Huck didn't grow up in Arkansas or that horrible racial episode did not occur. I think he was just saying that either way it's an outrageous lie designed to imply the subject's racism is obvious from their background. But you are right, with Obama, not only would it be a false conclusion if the premise were true, the premise is, in fact, patently false.

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 2, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

sorry, adam, not greg

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 2, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

12BB: "Sometimes it's hard to really believe that something ugly can turn out good, but I understand your point. I suppose it's the same thing as "death leading to eternal life"--death somehow seems worse than eternal life seems good."

I understand where you both are going, but I'm sorry, this cr@p is not good for the country when we have such serious problems to solve. Whether the righty nuts like it or not, Obama is the POTUS and most likely will be the POTUS for a second term. They need to deal with that as reality and stop manufacturing stuff.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | March 2, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Hi shrink!  You yourself have written that the Republicans have no chance, so why does the left get so exercised about it?  The lefts pandering to the truther and Diebold crowd didn't hurt them in 2004, John Kerry did.  And it certainly didn't hurt them in 2006 or 2008.  I think the left gets so exercised about it is because it insults their cult figure.  One of the reasons Palin was so reviled was because of the "Palling around with terrorists" quip, it was just so mean!  How can anybody not love Barry!

Hope all's well!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | March 2, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Imsinca, lying about Obama and then spinning stories about those lies, that was a direct threat to his candidacy in the run up to the Clinton primaries. But once he survived those, when the Republicans did the same thing, it all fell flat. Why are they still doing the same thing?

They are desperately trying to avoid thinking about how far away 2016 is. All they have left is all they ever had...lying about him. As he glides past the 2012 Republican ticket, which will be bravely posing as moderates, they'll contemplate the lies and the lying liars who told them. Limbaugh's Republican party failed to put together a leadership clique and they failed to groom candidates,

Posted by: shrink2 | March 2, 2011 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I understand that Sir Paul McCartney has a new protest song ready to drop;

Give Kenya back to the English.

Posted by: Liam-still | March 2, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

"Imsinca, lying about Obama and then spinning stories about those lies, that was a direct threat to his candidacy in the run up to the Clinton primaries. But once he survived those, when the Republicans did the same thing, it all fell flat. Why are they still doing the same thing?"

Republicans have pretty much limited themselves to uneducated white males. As that demographic keeps shrinking, Republicans need to squeeze as much juice as they can out of that stone. It's still a big stone, but it will be that much smaller two years from now. They will need every last vote they can get to unseat Obama and they aren't getting every last vote without blowing the dog whistles until their racist lungs burst.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 2, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Troll, the left doesn't actually exist. There are liberals and even more liberal liberals, even libertarians, though they are thought of as more right than left. But there is no socialist workers' movement.
The various people and parties who affect these labels are not a significant political force. By left, you mean liberal, am I right?

Posted by: shrink2 | March 2, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Liam- Just another example of how where one lives automatically leads to predictable world-views. Naturally, all Britons have pro-colonial world-views since their country is a colonial power. (I hope my sarcasm is thick enough for everyone to pick up on so I don't wind up in a position like Greg's where I'm being criticized for something I don't mean at all)

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 2, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

shrink, by "socialist" you mean Myrdal "Swedish School" capitalist, in which entrepreneurship thrives, and the state provides a Bismarckian welfare blanket. I do not even know if you prefer regulation or state ownership of natural monopolies. If you favor regulation, you are a TR capitalist, not a Swedish School capitalist.

By "socialist", I mean one who wants the means of production and allocation owned by government.

You see how tricky these labels are?

Thanx for explaining "corpse" - I understood the allusion.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 2, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Can we PLZ have more reporting on this?

GREG? ADAM?

Can we PLZ get back to important stuff, not the right's distractions and lies?

Cmon, here we go:

-Ben Bernanke: GOP’s plan will cut jobs-

Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke said Wednesday that House GOP’s 2011 spending plan would likely cost “a couple hundred thousand jobs,” a number he called “not trivial.”

Bernanke’s testimony Wednesday was more specific than what he offered Tuesday before a Senate committee, in which he said he couldn’t put a number on the number of jobs the GOP spending package would eliminate.

His comments buttress House Democrats’ warnings that the bill will put people out of work.

“Our sense is that the 60 billion dollars cut spread out in the normal way would reduce growth. But we think given the size it’s one to two tenths [of a percentage point reduction to gross domestic product], about a couple hundred thousand jobs,” he told the House Financial Services Committee. “It’s not trivial.”

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/50503.html

GOP JOB CUTS ARE “not trivial.”

GOP JOB CUTS ARE “not trivial.”

GOP JOB CUTS ARE “not trivial.”

Wake up America.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | March 2, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

@lms:
I read your very helpful comment and replied to it in the same thread. I believe that the problem is the nature of the word "subsidy". read my response if you have the inclination. We have a rhetoric issue.

Now as to this blog entry. since we are focusing very closely on the words we chose, I will take a look at this:
"So conservatives have invented an alternate universe in which Obama's absent father raised him in Kenya to hate the British and that his entire administration is therefore an elaborate scheme for racial payback."

What is the difference between Serwer's words here and someone on the right attempting to connect the idiot truthers with the liberal movement and the Democrat party?

When Serwer losely uses the term "conservatives" he's attempting to smear everyone that opposes his positions with the same brush. What proof does he offer that all or even the majority of conservatives agree with what he says? He's got two people: Huckabee and Frum. In Serwer's "mind" do these two somehow speak for the entire conservative movement? did any two truthers speak for all liberals?

Another problem that mr Serwer seems to whining about is the calumny machine. As I noted with Mr Sargent's complaint today about CNN, this is just how it is in America today. The left wants to use big lie, but deny that same technique to anyone else.

That won't work. It is sad that truth is a casualty in this war. But it is a war and if the left is willing to use its interlocking network of activists groups to keep their themes in the media, why can't the right?

this is like that old Cosby routine about running wars like a football game. The left won the toss, so they get to decide who kicks off and who recieves the kick?

I don't think so. Welcome to hardball Adam.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | March 2, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

mobrien83


I have always enjoyed the historical claim that David Livingston discovered Victoria Falls, and named them for his Queen.

Apparently; the indigenous people who lived within hearing range of the roar of the cascading water, had never noticed all that water tumbling from a great height.

Lucky for them that Mr. Livingston came along to draw their attention to those falls.

Posted by: Liam-still | March 2, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

"By left, you mean liberal, am I right?"

Shrink, yes. And thank you for the clarification. There is no rational person on the right (see what I did there) that thinks there is a chance that Republicans take the Whitehouse. It's not as if Democrats had elected Carter. So, why keep getting upset about birthers? There will no chance for elector loss in 2012. It's obvious it's hurt feelings.

Now that we've clarified everybody's understanding, why do you think, liberals is it?, get so exercised about birthers?

Hope you and everyone is having a great day!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | March 2, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

"You yourself have written that the Republicans have no chance, so why does the left get so exercised about it?"

1) If the infestation is bad enough, crushing roaches is easy and sickeningly satisfying, if not actually fun,

2) There is nothing else to do while Obama strides to victory and we are political draught horses, we need a bit in our mouths in order to feel useful.

2) Schadenfreude, though deriving delight from the suffering of losers is a shameful thing.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 2, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that Politico and Steve Benen are the only ones reporting on Bernanke's assessment of the GOP's budget cuts on JOBS JOBS JOBS?

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2011_03/028248.php

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/50503.html

Where's Plum Line?
Where's TPM?
Where's Kos?
Even Think Progress is missing the boat.

WAKE UP, BLOGOSPHERE, WAKE UP!

The #1 ISSUE IS: JOBS JOBS JOBS!

Posted by: ronnieandrush | March 2, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

@Troll

Good day my foxhole buddy! :-) Hope all is going well.

Now if you'll forgive my contrarian nature I must ask you about this...

"The lefts pandering to the truther and Diebold crowd didn't hurt them in 2004, John Kerry did."

I readily concede the latter part of your statement...John Kerry was a horrible candidate! However this truther nonsense and Diebold (I actually had to google that to figure out what you were talking about) didn't get a fraction of the coverage nor the number of participants as the "birthers" It seems my friend you are once again playing that "false equivalency" card so popular on the right.
If you polish your craft one day you might be as skilled as Q.B. snark snark. :-)

Seriously...I don't pass myself off as the most informed dude on this blog but I never heard of the "truthers" until after the "birthers" gained notoriety. I was aware of course of some "conspiratorialists" but I never viewed them as attempting to influence an election. Also..correct me if I'm wrong...I don't recall any elected members of the U.S. House proclaiming themselves as "truthers" or even "hinting" that they may have a point...unlike many R politicians...something still going on to this day btw with the "birther" movement.

So Troll I went to the googles...and I was surprised by what I found. Reading your post made me assume that "truthers" were a part of the lunatic fringe of the Dems...much as the "birthers" are to the R's. Perhaps I read too much into your post because look at what I found. Cap emphasis is mine...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9/11_Truth_movement

"Adherents of the 9/11 Truth movement come from diverse social backgrounds.[1][22][25] The movement draws adherents from people of diverse political beliefs including liberals, conservatives, and libertarians.[3][19][25] A 2010 study of Facebook users affiliated with a 9/11 Truth group known as "We Are Change" found that most members of this group are males in their late 20s. MOST MEMBERS OF THIS GROUP ARE INVOLVED IN RIGHT WING POLITICS, PARTICULARLY WITH LIBERTARIANISM AND RON PAUL!

And so Troll my friend you'll have to take it up with Scott our resident libertarian, and as DDAWD says...the smartest conservative in the world. I don't believe you wish to eff with Scott. :-)

Otherwise have a great day. At least you are one righty who will venture an actual thought instead of simple talking points.
My compliments to you and yours.

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 2, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

"2) Schadenfreude, though deriving delight from the suffering of losers is a shameful thing."

Shrink, thanks for that response. Not to be pedantic here, but where is the schadenfreude if no rational person on the right disagrees with you? In this instance, since there is no Republican chance, there are no Republican losers, no?

As for the "bit in the mouth,". I'm a firm believer in dead horse flogging. With that in mind, what's Charlie Cooks latest pronouncement vis a vis the Senate chances in '12 make you think?

I would never have pegged you for a "crusher" afficianado. "Furry," yes. But "crusher?" I just didn't see it coming. ;-)

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | March 2, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

"shrink, by "socialist" you mean Myrdal "Swedish School" capitalist, in which entrepreneurship thrives, and the state provides a Bismarckian welfare blanket." Not exactly. One day, probably night, I'll spell out my vision for American Socialism, but not just to be heckled by Philistines. It is disturbing to see The Guide's Green Book monuments, self-erected to salute his own messianic vision for an Arab Socialist state, getting tipped by al-Queda elements taking hallucinogenic pills supplied by The West.

"By "socialist", I mean one who wants the means of production and allocation owned by government."

That is communism. I can honestly testify that I am not now nor have I ever been a card carrying member of the CP USA, nor have I ever advocated the violent overthrow of the government of the United States.

"I do not even know if you prefer regulation or state ownership of natural monopolies."

Speaking of tricky labels, do I get any other choices?

Posted by: shrink2 | March 2, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

@DDAWD

I luv ya dude...but....

"Republicans have pretty much limited themselves to uneducated white males."

IMHO that is a sexist comment. They also have plenty of uneducated white females. Alas I have to place my 86 year old mom in that group of Fox geezers.

BTW we joke about the video from California Fox used to illustrate their Wisconsin report but this is really more than just horrible journalism...it's insidious propaganda and on the weak minds of folks like skippy and claw it's devastating and successful.

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 2, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

"They need to deal with that as reality and stop manufacturing stuff."

Today, Chief Justice Roberts' Supremes dealt a devastating blow to this argument.

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-751.pdf

No matter how awful and offensive Republican lies about Obama are, they do not have to deal with reality and they can manufacture as much of that stuff as they want. This is America.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 2, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Shrink- In all fairness it was an 8-1 decision with Alito issuing the only dissent. So... protection for hate speech is apparently bipartisan.

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 2, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

@shrink

Thanks for the link to the NY Times report on the murder of 9 innocent Afghans by us!

I worn out the rest here with my rants on this insane war and the antiseptic terms like collateral damage! Tonight..Obama..and ALL of us can live with the knowledge that we were complicit in murdering 9 teenage Afghans who did nothing wrong but try to find some firewood.

And Four Star Goober Petraues will still be screaming "win the hearts and minds" of the people. Like you shrink I am a parent and now a grandparent. If all of us would just take a moment to think what it might feel like to have our child brutally gunned down...do we suppose we'd keep our hearts and minds open to the perpetrators.

Meanwhile I keep waiting for the first politician...R or D to say..It's time to rebuild Detroit, Cleveland, Dayton...forget Helmand province!

And so shrink I ask you this...is their a clinical term for mass lunacy?

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 2, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

in response to this:
==============
No matter how awful and offensive Republican lies about Obama are, they do not have to deal with reality and they can manufacture as much of that stuff as they want. This is America.

=====================

There are really two issues here: what people in a free country CAN say and what people in a free country SHOULD believe.

The linked decision doesn't change much of anything that I can see. I never thought that the case against Westboro had much merit.

Mind you, I don't like the Westboro folks, but the Supreme's are right, the highest rung on the heirarchial ladder of free speech is free speech about public matters. The Westboro folks are nothing if not public.

But what should we believe? That is the much tougher question. This week the WaPo writers are telling us an interesting story. Much of what they tell us is, apparently, not the complete truth.

Is there enought truth in what we're being told to make good choices?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | March 2, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Yes, to be serious for just a second, protecting hate is an American affectation.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 2, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Hi Ruk!

I forgot to add the TANG fraud. That, irrefutably, was intended to influence the election. The thing is, we ignore our own cranks. Legit rightwing sites purged birtherism long ago.  It's generally only discussed on the right in the context of liberal accusations. Kos purged truthers long ago, for example.  And other than the TANG thing, none of these are orchestrated, they're just cranks. 

Have a great one!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | March 2, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

"And so shrink I ask you this...is [there] a clinical term for mass lunacy?"

No. Religion, need I say more? But I will. When enough people believe something is true, it becomes true, in a post-modern semiotic parlay, narrative is reality.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 2, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

"No matter how awful and offensive Republican lies about Obama are,"

Bingo! ;-)

Absolutely great comments everybody! Many thanks!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | March 2, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

"Legit rightwing sites..."

Ok Troll, you link, I'll read; like everyone here, I am a voracious reader and I've always wanted to be familiar with the content of legit right wing sites.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 2, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Hey Troll you "jarhead"...again said with respect..:-)

"The thing is, we ignore our own cranks."

Wow you give new meaning to the term "Trollblocker". LMAO

I'll take you at your word about right wing sites purging the birthers...now I need to download Kevin's little program to purge the "birthers" on this site. LOL

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 2, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Shrink....

OK bust me for the misspelled homophone. LOL
Spell check sucks for homophones doesn't it?

And so perception is reality...which is why I rant so often about Faux and the incorrect perceptions..narratives..they sow in our nation on a daily basis.

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 2, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Huckabee only seems like a "nice guy" to people who never witnessed him in action.

When the school shooting happened in Jonesboro while Huckabee was governor, he rushed to press with a book called "When Kids Kill" (local wags suggested it should have been called "When Kids Kill Dogs" in reference to his dog-torturing son). Asked if he would be donating proceeds from the books, in part or whole, to the victims' fund, he became petulant about how it was his right to traffic on his title as governor to raise money off a tragedy that occured in his state during his tenure, making some comment about how he had to make money to send his kids to college. This, coming from a preacher.

That incident told me all I ever needed to know about the Huckster.

Posted by: JennOfArk | March 2, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, obviously I make typos all the time, usage errors, formatting gaffes, I just didn't want someone to think that excerpting the typo was part of the point of my response, if that makes any sense.

As a socialist, I don't believe in post modernism, I believe in reality, no magic, no narrative, only what we know about what is real and what we don't know. How we deal with that boundary is crucial. Politics is about transacting power.

Anyway, to cut to the chase, I don't think telling hateful lies should be legal, but in this country it is.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 2, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

"I readily concede the latter part of your statement...John Kerry was a horrible candidate! "

Actually as political scientists reckon it, Kerry was above average for a challenger facing a war-president incumbent in a decent economy (As these things are measured by political scientists via GDP growth in the year leading up to the election).

He lost 51-48 and came within 1 state of the EC. That's not some humiliating defeat.

Maybe he could have done better or Dean would have, and no question he mishandled the swift liars, but he also cleaned Bush's clock 3 times in debate.


Posted by: Scientician | March 2, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

@Scientician ""I readily concede the latter part of your statement...John Kerry was a horrible candidate! "

Actually as political scientists reckon it, Kerry was above average for a challenger facing a war-president incumbent in a decent economy (As these things are measured by political scientists via GDP growth in the year leading up to the election).

He lost 51-48 and came within 1 state of the EC. That's not some humiliating defeat.

Maybe he could have done better or Dean would have, and no question he mishandled the swift liars, but he also cleaned Bush's clock 3 times in debate."

Kerry's real issue was himself: I was for the war funding bill before I was against it.

Posted by: jnc4p | March 2, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

""Legit rightwing sites..."

Ok Troll, you link, I'll read; like everyone here, I am a voracious reader and I've always wanted to be familiar with the content of legit right wing sites."

Now this is fascinating, and I appreciate the response. I'd be happy to direct you the ones I like:

Hotair.com
Instapundit.com
Ace.mu.nu be careful with this one, the snark is very strong.
National Review Online (I like "The Corner" personally)

Do you believe there are legit rightwing websites?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | March 2, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

TrollMc:

"I forgot to add the TANG fraud. "

It's entertaining watching you try to equate this to birtherism. There is 0 evidence or even any reason to suspect Obama was not born in the US. It's a complete fabrication based on squat but wishful thinking by bigots who can't stand having a black president.

Bush was an alcoholic playboy avoiding Vietnam who got into the TANG because Daddy was important. It's not exactly crazy to think he wasn't too serious about his service.

Honestly I don't care if he did show up or not, the scandal to me is that he jumped the queue to get into the TANG at all. Someone else, lacking an important father went to Vietnam in his place. Anyway, there's a ton more reason to believe Bush was AWOL at some point in 1972-73 than there is to think Obama was not born in Hawaii.

Posted by: Scientician | March 2, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Oops, I forgot:

DRUDGE, he hissed.

Plus, I think a Doctoral thesis could be written just on what pictures he chooses to use. ;-). Seriously!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | March 2, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Hi Scientician!  Thanks for responding!

We'll have to agree to disagree with regards to the equivalency between birthers and TANGers. I was referring to the forged memo's that were dropped in a naked attempt to influence the election.  The other things, truthers, birthers, TANGers and Diebolders (?) are just cranks. ;-)

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | March 2, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Obama??? A LIBERAL?!

I knew it!!

He's been outed by one of his own kind.

An Obamacrat media, promoter of THE ONE.

Posted by: battleground51 | March 2, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

@scientician

"but he also cleaned Bush's clock 3 times in debate."

Agree with that and the rest of your observations. I think he and Gore both came across as too haughty and Kerry in particular as too patrician. As a Viet vet myself I realize that the swift boating was as heinous as the Willie Horton ads or G.W.'s smear of McCain in the S.C. primary but as shrink has pointed out..the narrative becomes reality.

I was not a fan of Dean at the time but since then I realize he may be the only "genuine" progressive to have a shot at the Dem nomination. I admire and respect Obama but he's hardly a progressive...again perhaps I'm totally mistaken...maybe he is just playing his cards close to the vest and eking out what he thinks is possible.

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 2, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

12barBlues writes
"Let's use a little common sense here and not overly intellectualize this: the President was not brought up in Kenya to thereby hate the British."


And what the hells wrong with hating the british? The put malt vinegar on their french fries, for gods sake.

.

Posted by: bsimon1 | March 2, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse

But if I said that Huckabee hates Obama because white conservatives from Arkansas hate black people because the National Guard was once called in to forcibly integrate schools in his home state, that would be outrageous, unfair, and false.

Uhh, what makes you think that is false? You seem to be missing your own point here -- that actually happened, and a lot of white Arkansans do hate black people with that historically true event being part of the background. That may or may not be true of Huckabee, although I kind of lean toward it being true -- but it isn't based on a fictitious life story, it's based on true facts.

Posted by: therealcervantes | March 2, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Republicans need to keep insisting that our President is "very different than the average American" or their 'belief' that Obama is an invalid usurper of the Presidency.

For Republicans, it's a faith-based world and to claim that what they believe isn't true is just as offensive to them as saying that that their "Faith" is wrong. That the Bible isn't rue, word for word.

Evolution, global warming, government for the common good, science? Facts are offensive to 'Believers'.

It's no surprise that Huckabee polls ahead of all others in the South. They still believe that we should celebrate Treason of The Confederacy and Traitors that led them into War against the U.S.A.

Posted by: thebobbob | March 2, 2011 5:13 PM | Report abuse

just too funny. thebobbob wrote this:
==========
Republicans need to keep insisting that our President is "very different than the average American" or their 'belief' that Obama is an invalid usurper of the Presidency.

======================

Nah, not so much an invalid usurper but more of an incompentent boob. He's different from most in America and that's just the way it is. His education alone was supposed to seperate him from the great unwashed.

So yeah. we're going to hammer away at why he doesn't deserve to be our leader, because he's really not one of us. How that approach be different from what the liberals tried against Bush? Want an example? Just scroll a few comments up and you'll find this:

"Bush was an alcoholic playboy avoiding Vietnam who got into the TANG because Daddy was important. It's not exactly crazy to think he wasn't too serious about his service"

If that kind of slander is OK for the left, slander is OK for everybody.

Sauce for goose, once again, is sauce for the gander.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | March 2, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Just when I thought Politico couldn't sink any lower.

Anyway, maybe somebody should put a plaque with the Ten Commandments on Huckabee's wall, you know. to remind him not to bear false witness.

Posted by: RoguePlanet | March 2, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Adam Serwer is the lowest form of hypocrite.

It's not o.k. to traffic in pure fiction about Obama's background, but Serwer thinks it's kosher to traffic in pure fiction about the words of the U.S. Constitution. See here where he creates, out of thin air, a "Constitutional imperative" that is simply Serwer's DELIBERATE fiction:

"The phrases 'necessary and proper' and 'provide for the general welfare' [sic] might be somewhat disquieting to conservatives. But those phrases are as much a part of the Constitution as the 'right of the People to keep and bear arms.'" http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=necessary_and_proper

Of course, Serwer WISHES the Constitution contained this phrase, because it would support his argument on behalf of a religious, cultural, ethnic, and financial hegemony (look up that phrase) that the American people must be driven deeper and deeper into debt slavery to the international bankers. If Serwer had a shred of professional integrity he would resign.

Posted by: RomeoHotel | March 2, 2011 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Obama is a lying imposter and I applaud the liberal media establishment for its ability to keep his true birth place a secret from 6 billion people. That is the one and only success from the Obama presidency.

Posted by: bmayhewbz@hotmail.com | March 2, 2011 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Obama can put a stop to this nonsense about where he was born and raised any time he wants to. He chooses not to, so he has no one to blame but himself for anyone questioning his birth and elegibility to be President.
Maybe he's just ashamed of a free loving mother.

Posted by: jhnjdy | March 2, 2011 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Don't want Huckabee as president. Don't want him as governor of any state I live in.

But please -- believe it or not, the vast majority of the American people have NOT memorized our exalted leader's biography. Most of us haven't read either of his autobiographies. Gasp! the mind reels. So it's quite possible Huckabee got his various snippets of into he DID remember confused. No malicious intent, just confusion.

I saw a remark earlier today haughtily reminding Huckabee (as though he were reading this c omment) about the autobiographies. And I wanted to say, we haven't all read them, babycakes. Most of the rest of us have lives.

Posted by: bethIllinois | March 2, 2011 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Obama was the son of a Kenyan socialist and wrote a book "Dreams from My Father" to praise the political philosphies that his socialist Kenyan father bestowed on him.

Mike Huckabee should have simply left it at that and these lefty whackos would'n't have gotten so upset.

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | March 2, 2011 9:26 PM | Report abuse

greg, you're a young hack, anyone with a brain knows it, and the WaPo cements its reputation as a rag with every column you publish. i really don't care about mike huckabee, but i saw him on some talk show recently, deftly taking obama apart issue by issue. loved it, because whatever he is, on matters political/obama he spoke pure truth.

Posted by: subframer | March 2, 2011 10:02 PM | Report abuse

It's great to see Serwer buff his way into supporting telling the truth. It's also a bit ironic since countless MSM "reporters" have lied about the basic, indisputable facts of *what we know* about O's background. We don't even know for sure simple things like what hospital it was (O himself has given differing accounts)!

Serwer's "honesty" only goes so far; it stops when it would make O or the Dems look bad.

For the fact-based alternative, see my extensive coverage of *what we know*:

http://24ahead.com/s/obama-citizenship

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | March 2, 2011 10:29 PM | Report abuse

"Kenyan anti-colonialism" thesis, "motivated by anti-white racial revenge."

"But Obama's actual life wouldn't confirm any of this"

Hmm.....

Obama's biologic father was jailed by the British in Kenya...that is a fact

Obama wrote in "Dreams of My Father" that white people were a "race alien and apart"...that is a fact

Look them both up, facts.

What conclusion, I don't know

One could construe facts many ways.

But to run interference for Obama in such an incompetent manner as this article does....

..... assert as false that which could be easily shown to be true....

and then impugn the conclusions others make.....

..totally undermines the lame argument offered in the plum line today.

Proof-read....then think....then maybe hit send

Your side is wrong, ideologically failed....but in flacking...one should not do more damage to the client than the opposition is

Posted by: georgedixon1 | March 2, 2011 10:55 PM | Report abuse

You're missing the key point here--the mention of the mau mau uprising. This makes it VERY clear what Huckabee is doing: accusing Obama of sympathizing with the big black bogeyman.

Most of what was presented here in the US in the 1950's about the uprising was the most lurid atrocities committed by mau-maus. One horrific incident in particular, where a white settler family was killed, had photos throughout the news showing a little boy's teddy bears covered in blood.

There's a movie that Janet Leigh was in during the late 1950's that captures the coverage--it was the story of a white guy who was bent on getting revenge against the mau mau who brutally murdered his child and elderly aunt when he was away on safari. It captures how the story was told--crazy, out of control mau maus were killing innocent people left and right, wild Africans on the loose! If you're over 65, you remember this from your childhood.

Accusing Obama of having sympathy for the child-murdering mau maus makes the Willie Horton thing look subtle.

The reason Huck's getting away with it is because most reporters don't know their history and don't realize that for millions of older Americans who remember the 50's, mau mau=black bogeyman.

It's way, way more disgusting an attack than you realize.

Posted by: theorajones1 | March 2, 2011 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Indonesia, Kenya, Rhodesia, does it matter? He made a mistake and corrected it. Moreover, Huckabee can tell lies about Obama if he wants. After Obama and every other democrat have comported themselves during Scott Walker's absolute crushing of public sector unions, the civility ship has clearly sailed. Expect even establishment Republicans to make fun of Obama's confused upbringing.

Posted by: dummypants | March 2, 2011 11:11 PM | Report abuse

I haven't seen Gov Huckabee's remarks, but I thought Obama was raised first in Indonesia, a Muslim Country, and then in Hawaii. His father was a Kenyan Muslim? I have no idea why Obama hates the British, but he wasted no time after being sworn into office insulting and snubbing them over and over, and destroying, or at least severely damaging the special relationship we've had with them since WWII. I take Obama at his word that he isn't a Muslim, not that there is anything wrong with that if he were, but I assume his clear Muslim sympathies come from his time in Indonesia. As for is Elite extreme left wing politics I assume that came from attending Elite very liberal Universites, and hanging out with the most extreme left wing elements like former domestic terrorists. I would agree anybody speculating about Obama extreme left wing ideology and Muslim leaning should make sure they have their historical facts correct!

Posted by: valwayne | March 2, 2011 11:33 PM | Report abuse

I wont vote for liars, cheaters, pervs, corporate hacks,hipocrits,. This rules out Huckabee, Palin, Vitter, Santorum, Gingrich, Pawlenty, Romney,anyBush,any Cheney, Bachman, Daniels,.. Anybody that would stoop to this kind of disinformation just to get some bigots to vote for them should not be a preacher nevertheless allowed to live in this country. Deport the lot of them and start over. This is sickening.

Posted by: jimbobkalina1 | March 3, 2011 2:31 AM | Report abuse

Whether it was deliberate or he 'mispoke', Huckabee's account of Obama's upbringing is is an incredible distortion. But compared to the lies and distortions of Governor Palin's life, record and positions by the Left, it pales into significant. So far I have counted some sixty such memes all of which are verifiably false.

The German and Italian equivalent of the Weathermen in the US were the Meinhoff gang and the Red Brigades. Any German or Italian politician who associated in any way with members of these groups, whether retired or not would be run out of town.

Posted by: genecarr100 | March 3, 2011 6:58 AM | Report abuse

Don't liberals ever get tired or playing the race card? Mike Huckabee is not a racist. Those who think he is probably fall into one of the following catergories: 1)They are either ignorant of who Mike Huckabee is, and what he stands for, or 2)They play the race card in an attempt to silence him; 3)They dislike him because he is a Christian/conservative.

It isn't bigoted to raise the issue of President Obama's heritage. He has created his own problems on this issue.

What is really amazing is that some of the same individuals who complain about the opposition to Obama and how terrible it is to be critical of him, savaged former President Bush for 8 years, or is that 10 years since they still blame Bush for everything under the sun, and probably will continue to do so for many years to come.

In their minds it must be Bush's fault, because it certainly can't be Obama and the tax and spendocrats who are the problem on anything.

Their attempts to silence those they disagree with will not work. Hopefully, two more years of Obama will wake up a majority of those who vote that the "hope and change" they wanted wasn't what they got.

For the sake of our country, I hope so.


Posted by: chrcon1 | March 3, 2011 12:32 PM | Report abuse

chrcon1

The author of the article is not trying to shut up Mike Huckabee. What he said is that telling a fictional account of this president's upbringing is wrong and is part of a disturbing trend amongst republicans, and the author didn't speak in generalities about those fictional accounts of the presidents life, he detailed them.

Now instead of dealing with what was written, you attempt to change the subject, to GWB or M. Huckabee being silenced. What nonsense.

The bottom line is that M. Huckabee told lies about this president's upbringing, and the lies he told about this president are a direct attempt at a republican narrative to make him foreign, unAmerican/Anti-American, muslim, socialist, communist, racist who wants to destroy the country.

That's is what you call race-baiting.

Posted by: iamme74 | March 3, 2011 8:42 PM | Report abuse

serwer takes the long road to try to avoid admitting that he,like everyone else doesn't have a dam clue about obama's background.his only evidence toward the "truth" is from the "man himself" and that is as good as "he said,she said."anyone that says huckabee "lied" can't "prove" that they are correct either because all they have as "evidence" is obama's word.

Posted by: alamodefender | March 5, 2011 6:09 PM | Report abuse

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