NEW ORLEANS — Mike Huckabee invoked Martin Luther King Jr. to suggest that Haley Barbour had faced something akin to discrimination because political analysts believed the Mississippi governor would have difficult running for president with his thick Delta accent.
"There were people who said, 'Nobody is going to elect some white guy from Mississippi with a real, slow molasses-type Southern accent for president of the United States," Huckabee said in a speech before a heavily Southern crowd at the Republican Leadership Conference here.
He added: "I was highly offended by that." [...]
"I thought our nation had learned something, I thought that maybe we had taken seriously the message of Dr. King who said that we should not be judged by the color of our skin but by the contents of our character," Huck said to applause.
You know, the depressing thing is that I do get what Huckabee is trying to say here. Yes, Barbour's accent shouldn't matter. But somehow I don't think Barbour's hypothesized problems with his accent is quite the same as the oppression faced by black Americans in Haley Barbour's state, in the 1950s and 1960s. It's a bit like saying my hangnail is like you losing an arm, or that your making faces at me is exactly what the Nazi Germany would have done. And defending Barbour, in particular, with a civil rights comparison?
I never cease to be amazed (and, yes, irritated) at how often conservatives are convinced that they are the victimized ones, that they are the oppressed ones, and that they are the ones discriminated against. Beck and Limbaugh excel at this, but here Mike Huckabee is making a stab at it as well. He is eager to take MLK's message "seriously" when it comes to a white conservative suffering from even the most trivial slight. But conservatives to this day don't seem interested in taking that same message "seriously" when it comes to black Americans or poor Americans or anyone else.