Politicians lose favor for many reasons. Sometimes it’s a buildup of things so overwhelming that even the under-informed get it: Sarah Palin’s increasing perception as a mean-spirited, no-nothing, money-grubbing quitter. Mitt Romney’s almost farcical flip-flopping. Or Newt Gingrich’s hypocrisy, fueled by the discovery of his own affair with a younger staffer while he was constantly chastising President Clinton about Monica Lewinsky.
Sometimes a politician just steps in something unexpectedly, like tar. George Allen, former good-ole’ boy Virginia senator who was a leading contender for the 2008 presidential election called a young American of color a “macaca” on video. Twice. Bu-bye.
That racist moment resonates to this day, and has become a catchword that not only foiled Allen’s candidacy, but will probably follow him to his obit and beyond. No matter what he did before or what he does after, it defines him.
Mike Huckabee just had his macaca moment. More specifically, his Mau-Mau moment.
On a radio interview with right-winger Steve Malzberg last week, Huckabee went into detail about how President Obama grew up in Kenya and then brought up the Mau Mau uprising, a code-phrase that resonated perhaps with his base but which turned off anyone with a sense of fairness or a grasp of truth.
In case you missed it:
No matter how much Huckabee wriggles from it, no matter the claims of misspeaking, no matter the brush-off of right-wing apologists, the comment will stick.
Why is Huckabee’s Mau-Mau moment so damaging?
It was an elaborate statement. It proves that he meant what he said and that the apologies of a misspoken word are false.
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