Republican presidential aspirant Mike Huckabee's recent utterances have been downright nasty.
Let's start with his drivel about President Obama and his supposed Kenyan upbringing.
Huckabee began this riff on conservative radio host Steve Malzberg's show by sympathizing with his nonsensical concerns about Obama's eligibility to be the President of the United States: "I would love to know more. What I know is troubling enough."
But this ridiculous, fact-free playing to the Birthers' gallery wasn't enough for Huckabee. He went on to descend deeper into the muck.
He added, "If you think about it, his perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather."
Huckabee is so completely wrong here. Obama was not brought up in Kenya. He was raised mainly in Hawaii by his mother and maternal grandparents, and barely met his dad, let alone his paternal grandfather.
And Huckabee's mention of the Mau Mau uprising is race-baiting of the worst sort. Many Americans, especially of a certain age, have a strong association of Kenya with the Mau Mau rebellion, a violent insurrection in the 1950s that killed a number of British and Kenyans. Huckabee's citing of that episode in history is a disgusting attempt to pander to racial prejudices. Besides, he is mistaken about who was responsible for the major share of atrocities during the revolt.
"In 1952, stirred partly by their displacement and partly by British efforts to prohibit traditional Kikuyu customs, a Kikuyu secret society, the Mau Mau, launched a rebellion, attacking white-owned farms and brutally killing perhaps a hundred whites and 1,800 of their African supporters," the New York Times writes in a review of the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya." "In retaliation, the British carried out a campaign that, [Harvard University Professor] Caroline Elkins suggests, amounted to genocide."
So, the "British were a bunch of imperialists," even if Obama didn't hear tales about their ruthlessness during his childhood in Kenya due to the simple fact that he was never there.
Huckabee is parroting a narrative popular with other Republicans. Last September, Newt Gingrich, another presidential hopeful, claimed that Obama's "Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior" was the essence of his character. Gingrich was commenting on a vicious Dinesh D'Souza piece about Obama in Forbes magazine, which Gingrich thought to possess "stunning insight," the "most profound insight I have read in the last six years about Barack Obama."
Huckabee further put his foot in his mouth during a recent appearance on Charlie Rose's show. He defended both Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Egypt's ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak. Huckabee's justification of Walker's union-busting may be understandable, if deplorable. But his plea that the Obama Administration should have cut Mubarak some slack since he was a stalwart U.S. ally was dumbfounding.
A few years ago, I had a tiny twinge of regret that I missed attending a Huckabee speech at a conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. But I know now that listening to Mike Huckabee would have been an utter waste of my time.
If you liked this article by Amitabh Pal, the managing editor of The Progressive magazine, please check out his article entitled "Change Continues to Sweep the Middle East."
Follow Amitabh Pal @amitpal on Twitter.