In general, I don't write about politics because by nature it is not scientific, and is not driven by data, by facts. But the example this week of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is a bit much, prompting me to share this example of "false witness."
His remarks reflect an anti-intellectual, xenophobic mindset within our nation -- the term "xenophObamia" comes to mind. Such provocative statements may not be an accident, given that Mike Huckabee is on a national tour to promote the publication of a new book. Perhaps posts such as this go under the category of there is "no such thing as bad publicity."
I don't agree with everything Chris Matthews presents, but in general I do appreciate his thoughtful analyses and guests that represent a range of views. I believe that any candidate is better served by presenting innovative ideas, building themselves up, rather than attempting to "tear down" their opponent.
Below is one of Chris Matthews' recent commentaries regarding Mike Huckabee that highlights such destructive narrative:
From Chris Matthews' "Hardball" on MSNBC
Let me finish tonight with this potentially dangerous talk in American politics. It comes, I suppose, from a mix of belief and politics.
Consider, seriously, what Mike Huckabee, has been saying.
The other day he was on a radio program and followed up a challenge to President Obama's basic American identity by adding his own charges.
What Huckabee did was repeat, basically, something Newt Gingrich said in September about the president looking at the world from his father's perspective, as a Kenyan living under British colonialism.
Huckabee said on the radio Monday that he finds it "troubling" that because of Obama's grown up in Kenya -- his view of the Brits -- for example -- (is) very different from the average American... His perspective growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists persecuted his grandfather."
Huckabee said all this Monday and then listened as his radio host explained that his background of the President growing up in Kenya is why President Obama despises the West, despises the British, and why he despises Israel and could take it out on her.
Huckabee engaged in this conversation about Obama coming from a youth in Kenya even though we Americans know a tremendous amount about our president's life: how he grew up in Hawaii, spent several years in Indonesia, attended a top-rated prep school in Honolulu, went to Occidental college, then Columbia and Harvard Law. He was elected State Senator in Illinois, ran and lost for the House, ran for the Senate and won. The rest is history.
So this story, this narrative, that Mike Huckabee is preaching, is simply the kind of "African" story the cultural right wing in this country wants to hear. It's a story of foreign-ness and exotic ethnicity that fits with its notion that if you're not a right-winger from the country, you're not a real American.
This is dangerous talk, telling a "birther" he "would love to know more" about the president's background - like there's something unAmerican here.
Mike Hukabee shouldn't be spreading false witness about people. It's just wrong
A version of this article was published at "Dean's Corner" on ScienceBlogs.