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Silk On Huckabee on Obama Growing Up in Kenya

Mark Silk looks at Mike Huckabee's comments asserting that President Obama's experience growing up in Kenya is partly responsible for the fact that his worldview is so skewed. Huckabee said the President viewed the Brits differently from most past presidents because of his supposed childhood in Kenya. Of course, President Obama did not grow up in Kenya at all and only visited the country of his father's birth as a young man.
Silk sees Huckabee's rant as part of a broader ability to give dog whistles to the kookie right. But, there is a less remote explanation for Huckabee's comments. Dinesh D'Souza, a thoroughly nice guy by the way, wrote a cover story for Forbes last year suggesting that Obama had certain anti-colonial ways of thinking because of his Kenyan roots, via the American academy. I did not agree with D'Souza's piece, but it was far less coarse than Huckabee's condensed version of the claim.
Silk is not wrong about the dog whistles. But, in this case, I think it is more likely that Huckabee heard about D'Souza's article at a cocktail party and merely repeated, albeit mistakenly, what he heard. That tells us something about Mr. Huckabee, however. Large claims need careful justifications and arguments. D'Souza supplied that, whether you agree with him or not. Huckabee was just looking for the soundbite.

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November 21-December 5, 2014

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