I'm not big on apologies from big wheels. Because 99 percent of the time the apology doesn't have anything to do with being sorry. I was raised to believe that a real apology means repentance, and repentance includes an implicit pledge not to repeat the behavior that generates the need for an apology in the first place. Instead, when big wheels, be they Mel Gibson saying he's sorry for anti-semitic comments or Joe Wilson apologizing for "You lie!", it's all about repairing image, not contrition.
So you won't catch me asking presidential wannabe Mike Huckabee to apologize for his despicable but slyly hedged paean to the birther faction of his party voiced on WOR radio's The Steve Malzberg Show Monday:
MALZBERG: Don't you think it's fair also to ask him, I know your stance on this. How come we don't have a health record, we don't have a college record, we don't have a birth cer - why Mr. Obama did you spend millions of dollars in courts all over this country to defend against having to present a birth certificate. It's one thing to say, I've -- you've seen it, goodbye. But why go to court and send lawyers to defend against having to show it? Don't you think we deserve to
know more about this man?
HUCKABEE: I would love to know more. What I know is troubling enough. And one thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American. When he gave the bust back to the Brits --
MALZBERG: Of Winston Churchill.
HUCKABEE: The bust of Winston Churchill, a great insult to the
British. But then 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 was later asked if he would bring up the issue of Obama's birth certificate during a presidential debate. Huckabee replied: "The only reason I'm not as confident that there's something about the birth certificate, Steve, is because I know the Clintons [inaudible] and believe me, they have lots of investigators out on him, and 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."
MALZBERG: Let me just give you one as we end here. The Clintons probably - there was probably a lot on the Clintons that the Obamas could have said, 'yeah, you do that, we'll come back with this.' Don't think for a minute. You're from Arkansas; you know that better than me. Now, having said that, when are you going to decide to run or not?
HUCKABEE: Probably sometime late spring, early summer.
Clever Mike didn't make the mistake of actually challenging the authenticity of Barack Obama's birth certificate. He simply let Malzberg handle that with innuendos that the Clintons' oppositional research team probably found something fishy about it but made a deal with Obama not to say anything as long as his team said nothing about some allegedly nefarious thing in Hillary Clinton's background.
The President was born in the state of Hawai'i and spent some time as a boy living in Indonesia. He didn't grow up with his father and grandfather in Kenya. And the Mau Mau revolt had zero impact on his political views. Obama has only visited Kenya three times.
Huckabee knows this. And he's not sorry he poured out this pile of manure on Malzberg's show. Because he figures that even if he makes one of those non-apology apologies for his remarks, the audience he was addressing will know full well that he doesn't really mean it. What he means is what many politicians — and a multitude of radio hosts — mean: Obama is other, not really an American, and he has no right to the Presidency. It's a reprehensible point of view no matter who expresses it. But Huckabee is one of the GOP's golden boys.
Do us favor, Mike. Don't add insult to injury by apologizing, okay?