White House wannebe Mike Huckabee (R) recently asserted that President Obama grew up in Kenya and that he (Obama) had undoubtedly been greatly influenced by the anti-colonialist Mau Mau movement.
When it was pointed out to Huckabee (a former Baptist Minister) that this was not the case, he claimed that he had mis-spoken and had intended to say Indonesia.
Our President hardly "grew up" in Indonesia. He lived there for between four and five years at ages 5 -10. (Even with his correction, Huckabee did not acknowledge that the Mau Mau was never in Indonesia, and thus could not have influenced young Obama).
For an excellet historical background, please read the Salon article, (link below PLEASE READ THE STORY).
I do not believe that Huckabee's words were a gaffe. I think that they are part of a right wing trend to paint our President as somehow "un-American" - and therefore even "anti-American".
Their "case" would go something like this: "He has a funny name. His father was a Muslim. He spent four or five years in Indonesia. He is an anti-colonialist".
This spurious effort attempts to taint the President with "guilt by association". (Something which Senator Joe McCarthy perfected in the 1950's).
If, as it happens, Barack Obama is anti-colonialist, I applaud and remind folks that American foreign policy was decidely anti-colonialist from the time of President Monroe (the fifth President of the United States, serving two terms from 1817 to 1825) through the Presidencies of Eisenhower and Kennedy (with the tragic exception of the Presidencies of McKinley and (T) Roosevelt 1897-1909).
It should be a badge of honour to describe any American politician as anti-colonialist!
The "occasion" for Huckabee's distortions was that a bust of Sir Winston Churchill had been moved from Obama's Oval Office, and placed elsewhere in the White House. (Ironically - the Oval Office bust was replaced by one of Abraham Lincoln - who was of course a Republican!)
The London Daily Telegraph (that bastion of right wing nonsense) ran a story which said that the removal of Churchill's bust proved that Obama was anti-British, and implied that our President "hates" the British. It was this story which influenced Huckabee's trashy nonsense.
There has been a political myth from the days of World War II that the United States and the United Kingdom enjoyed a "special relationship". That myth was fostered by what appeared to be a good friendship betweeen President Kennedy and Prime Minister Harold MacMillan; by the unhelathy relationship between Prime Minister Thatcher and President Reagan; and by the dangerous relationship between President George W Bush and Premier Tony Blair (Bush's poodle!).
It seems clear to me that neither President Obama nor Prime Minister Cameron have any interest in preserving the myth. That is all to the good. Nations never have "relationships" - they merely have coinciding policy objectives.
Meanwhile Huckabee and the like will spread any lie, any delusional story, any crack-pot theory to discredit President Barack Obama.
Of course there is nothing new under the sun! The 1828 election between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson was particularly raw. But that's a topic for another day.