Huckabee and Gingrich: Not a great week for GOP presidential candidates(Read article summary)
Conservative columnist George Will takes off on Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich for their comments about President Obama's upbringing, railing against "careless, delusional, egomaniacal, spotlight-chasing" presidential candidates.
Michael Bonfigli/Special to the Christian Science Monitor
It hasnâ€™t been a great week for Republicans yearning to be the next president.
Mike Huckabee put his foot in his mouth â€“ twice â€“ and had to reel in controversial (and in one case hilariously wrong) comments heâ€™d made.
Newt Gingrich, giving all indications that heâ€™d announce the obligatory â€śexploratory committeeâ€ť â€“ the first official step in running â€“ instead merely unveiled a new web site, then was uncharacteristically indecisive in telling Fox News it might be another six or seven weeks before he made up his mind.
Questions have been raised about Haley Barbourâ€™s days as a lobbyist for the energy industry.
Maybe itâ€™s the late winter season, when many street corners are still filled with piles of dirty snow, and the atmosphere is grumbly.
Could that explain conservative columnist George Willâ€™s diatribe against the â€śvibrations of weirdness emanating from people associated with the party?â€ť
In his Washington Post column to be published Sunday, Will takes after Huckabee and Gingrich, suggesting that they are â€ścareless, delusional, egomaniacal, [and] spotlight-chasing.â€ť (Which sounds more like comedian Mort Sahl than the sober Mr. Will in his bow tie.)
Specifically, Will is talking about comments both men have made about President Obamaâ€™s upbringing and family background.
During a radio interview Tuesday on the Steve Malzberg Show, Huckabee went on at some length about how Obama had â€śgrown upâ€ť in Kenya. This might have influenced Obamaâ€™s view of Great Britain as a colonial power because of the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya, the former Arkansas governor explained at some length.
When it was pointed out that Obama was born in the United States (Huckabee is not an ardent â€śbirther,â€ť by the way) and never lived in Kenya, a Huckabee spokesman said that his boss â€śsimply misspokeâ€ť and had meant to say â€śIndonesia.â€ť Which doesnâ€™t explain the bit about the Mau Maus, who never made it to Indonesia. Or the fact that most of Obamaâ€™s growing up â€“ 13 of his first 18 years â€“ was in Hawaii.
(George Will did not mention Huckabeeâ€™s other flap this week â€“ the one where he took after actor Natalie Portman for having a child out of wedlock with her fiancĂ©, from which Huckabee had to back-pedal. It was fun being reminded of Dan Quayle and Murphy Brown, however.)
Gingrich has not claimed that Obama was born anywhere but in the United States. But like Huckabee, he has tried to make a big deal out of the Kenya link.
Obamaâ€™s â€śKenyan, anti-colonial behavior," Gingrich observes, is â€śthe most accurate, predictive model for his behavior."
â€śI think Obama gets up every morning with a worldview that is fundamentally wrong about reality,â€ť Gingrich told the National Review Online. â€śIf you look at the continuous denial of reality, there has got to be a point where someone stands up and says that this is just factually insane.â€ť
â€śLet us not mince words,â€ť he writes. â€śThere are at most five plausible Republican presidents on the horizon â€“ Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Utah governor and departing ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, former Massachusetts governor Romney, and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty.â€ť
â€śSo the Republican winnowing process is far advanced,â€ť Will writes. â€śBut the nominee may emerge much diminished by involvement in a process cluttered with careless, delusional, egomaniacal, spotlight-chasing candidates to whom the sensible American majority would never entrust a lemonade stand, much less nuclear weapons.â€ť
â€śImplausibleâ€ť candidates such as Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Herman â€śThe Herminatorâ€ť Cain, and Jimmy (Rent Is Too Damn High) McMillan can only be grateful to have escaped Willâ€™s laser.