Huckabee and the Birthers

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Mike Huckabee says he’s not a birther. Oh sure, when radio host Steve Malzberg quizzed him about it on Monday he admitted that “I would love to know more. What I know is troubling enough.” And he went on to express his concerns about Obama being raised in Kenya, even though Obama wasn’t, in fact, raised in Kenya. (He was raised in Honolulu, mainly, with a few years spent in Indonesia, facts that aren’t exactly hard to dig up.) Still, Huckabee’s not a birther. He thinks Obama was born in America.

But here’s the great part. I hadn’t heard this before, but apparently Huckabee’s stock answer about why he believes Obama was born in America goes like this:

The only reason I’m not as confident that there’s something about the birth certificate, Steve, is because I know the Clintons. I’m convinced if there was anything that they could have found on that, they would have found it, and I promise they would have used it.

That’s brilliant! Huckabee wants to appear sane, so he can’t be a birther. But he probably doesn’t want to lose the birther vote either, since a big part of his base believes the birther conspiracy. So how does he explain not believing it? By pointing to Obama’s certificate of live birth? By mentioning the birth notices in the Honolulu papers in 1961? By quoting the director of the Hawaii State Department of Health?

Nope. He shows the nutballs that he’s one of them by appealing to their even more rock solid belief in the supernaturally malevolent powers of the Clintons. Because that’s a genuinely tough call: should you believe that Obama was born in Kenya, or should you believe that Hillary and her gang of Arkansas thugs aren’t quite as demonically ruthless as you thought? Decisions, decisions. Either way, though, bravo to Huckabee for inventing such a terrific dodge.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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