Mike Huckabee, who considers himself a serious Republican challenger for the 2012 American presidential election and who the media takes seriously (he’s also host of a TV “news” show), made up facts about Barack Obama on a far-right radio show earlier this week. This included that Obama “grew up” in Kenya; and that Obama grew up with his father. This is patently false; Obama grew up with his mother, in Hawaii and Indonesia. Obama only met his father in his early teens–once–in Hawaii. Huckabee also claim Obama shared his father and father’s view of the Mau-Mau, prominent in the struggle against British colonialism. In contrast, “the average American” supports British colonialism. And I thought the United States was born out of an anti-colonial struggle against British colonialism? The purpose with this baiting is that Huckabee is playing to a base for whom Kenya is equated with anti-American, i.e. not us, alien, “socialist,” and not white America. There’s tons of people debunking this nonsense daily in the US, including some in the mainstream media–the clip above is from MSNBC’s “The Last Word”–but it still sticks. Last month a poll showed that half of all Republicans believe Obama was not born in the United States.
Anyway, I was wondering aloud how Kenya got this reputation in US politics, particularly on the Right.
Since independence Kenya’s leaders and political elites were basically pro-US, anti-Communist. More recently Kenya’s government has been firm supporters of the US’s War on Terror. So much so that for that support Kenyans have even been targeted by Al Quada bombers. Remember the US embassy bombings in Nairobi or the attacks on resorts there? The only logic I could come up with is that the way the right delegitimizes Obama is to say he is not American after all. Since Kenyan is not American, it must be socialist, anti-colonialist. Which is not American. And since they don’t read or check their own history, this is the kind of politics you get.