What Mike Huckabee Really Means When He Calls Obama 'Anti-American'
Media Matters reports on Mike Huckabee's appearance on the Bryan Fischer radio program. Here they discuss why Barack Obama has "anti-American" views.
Fischer: Well Governor, what got lost in all the shuffle was the legitimate point that you were making which is that we may have a president who has some fundamentally anti-American ideas that may be rooted in a childhood where he had a father who was virulently anti-colonial, hated the British - might have something to do with the President returning the bust of Winston Churchill back to England. You know, I was struck by the fact that when he made his tour to Indonesia, he made a point of going to an Indonesian memorial that celebrated the victory of Indonesians over British troops - again, part of that anti-colonial thing. And so I'd like you to comment on that; you seem to think that there is some validity to the fact that there may be some fundamental anti-Americanism in this president.
Huckabee: Well, that's exactly the point that I make in the book and I don't know why these reporters - maybe they can't read, I guess that's part of it because it's clearly spelled out and I'm quoting a British newspaper who really were expressing the outrage of the Brits over that bust being returned and the point was that they felt like that due to Obama's father and grandfather it could be that his version and view of the Mau Mau Revolution was very different than most of the people who perhaps would grow up in the United States. And I have said many times, publicly, that I do think he has a different worldview and I think it is, in part, molded out of a very different experience. Most of us grew up going to Boy Scout meetings and, you know, our communities were filled with Rotary Clubs, not madrassas.
Let's start with the obvious. The president replaced a bust of Winston Churchill with a bust of Abraham Lincoln. The bust of Winston Churchill was loaned to the United States by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. It was removed from the Oval Office before the inauguration and then returned to Britain, whereupon the right-wing rags UK Telegraph and Times of London tried to make a big deal about it as some kind of snub. Now, you know what I'm thinking? I'm thinking that replacing an Englishman with an American might indicate an anti-British attitude and a pro-American one. But that's too simple for the Cro-Magnons of the right. Barely one month after the inauguration, Frank Gaffney was already pushing the line that Obama "clearly identifies with those colonized, rather than the colonizers."
So, here's how it works. This country was formed by colonizers who almost completely obliterated the culture and civilizations that were native to the Americas. Obama, because of his father's experiences in Kenya, is naturally sympathetic to the victims of colonization (e.g., Native-Americans) and dislikes the people who displace them (i.e., Europeans like Winston Churchill, whites, "real" Americans, you).
To believe this, you don't have to believe that Obama was born in Kenya. You just have to believe that he shares his forebears' distaste for foreign domination and therefore doesn't like it when America dominates foreign countries. And, of course, you have to consider this an "anti-American" point of view. It's "apologizing for America" and what America is (and is supposed to be), all about.
Now, there is no need to concede the point that Obama inherited some anti-colonizer, or anti-British, point of view from his father. After his father left for Harvard when he was a toddler, Obama met him only one time. But if we stipulate, for the sake of argument, that Obama has some residual bad feelings about how the British behaved in Kenya in the 1950's, we still have no reason to see this as an anti-American point of view. It might pay to familiarize yourselves with the details of the Mau Mau Uprising that led to Kenyan independence. But there is something very basic and easy to understand that Gaffney and Huckabee and Fischer are missing. The Mau Mau and the Founding Fathers share one major thing in common: they won independence from Great Britain and helped form brand new countries. What distinguishes America from other countries isn't just that we reintroduced democracy to the modern world; it's that we demonstrated that we could throw off the tyranny of a monarch in Europe and run our own affairs. We were colonizers, yes, but we also developed the original anti-colonial ideology that served as a template for others. We didn't just inspire the French Revolution; we inspired the post-World War Two anti-colonial revolutions that took place all over the world. In some cases, we fought on the side of the colonizers or sought to replace them with a softer form of imperialism, but that doesn't mean that our example wasn't a guiding light. Need proof? Here's the opening to Ho Chi Minh's 1945 Declaration of Independence:
All men are created equal; they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights; among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
This immortal statement was made in the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America in 1776. In a broader sense, this means: All the peoples on the earth are equal from birth, all the peoples have a right to live, to be happy and free.
The Declaration of The French Revolution made in 1791 on the Rights of Man and the Citizen also states: "All men are born free and with equal rights, and must always remain free and have equal rights."
Those are undeniable truths.
Nevertheless, for more than eighty years, the French imperialists, abusing the standard of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, have violated our Fatherland and oppressed our fellow citizens. The have acted contrary to the ideals of humanity and justice.
What's different about the Kenyan and American experiences in independence is that in America the people winning independence were the same ethnically and racially as the people who were losing power. In Kenya, black Africans were taking power from colonizing whites. So, if you choose to see things racially, you can see Kenyan independence as a bad thing that no right-thinking president would support. But a more valid way of seeing things is that the Kenyans were only winning for themselves the same rights we won for ourselves 180 years earlier. That view is completely consistent with a very pro-American view. That's how I see things, and I am certainly pro-American (and born in New Jersey, if you choose to believe me).
We're seeing this binary way of looking at history unfold right now in Libya. Obama doesn't want to repeat the history of America stepping in to guide events because we are an imperial power and we provide negative credibility to those seeking true independence and freedom. The progressive pro-American view is that we should let the Libyans follow the example of our founding. The conservative/mainstream establishment pro-American view is that we should go in and do all the work for the Libyans, make lucrative deals with their oil industry, and call ourselves great allies. The conservative view is that we're always on the side of the angels and any other view is "apologizing for America" and a demonstration of an "anti-American" point of view.
It depends on what you think is best about America. Is it our ideals and ideology, or is it our power?