Leader Blues

Thursday, January 03, 2008

EDITORIALS>>Don’t know geography

An endless succession of blunders once he attained center stage in the presidential race suggests that our man Mike Huckabee needs to stick to what he does best, one-liners and clemency, and leave foreign policy to others. He should say he’ll appoint someone like Colin Powell to be secretary of state and get out of the way. Meantime, he should avoid talking about it.

It all started the week of his big surge in Iowa when he was caught flat-footed talking about Iran’s nuclear weapons 36 hours after the dramatic intelligence report that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

He explained over and over that no one had bothered to tell him the big news. It has got worse almost daily.

Even when he (or a ghostwriter using his name) penned a halfway thoughtful critique of Bush foreign policy in Foreign Affairs magazine (“arrogant,” he said), the other Republicans jumped on him and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called him “ludicrous.”

Then he tried to wade into the coverage of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto by comparing the Pakistani crisis to the Mexican- border situation.

He placed Pakistan in the wrong place — well, Middle East maps are confusing — and then he had trouble trying to explain his remarks.

He said the murder of the former prime minister of Pakistan showed why it was important for the government to build that mammoth wall from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. The Mexican wall, Huckabee explained, would keep Pakistani militants from coming across the border.

He is not so concerned about people coming across to pick lettuce, he said, but it’s those swarthy Muslims coming across carrying shoulder-fired missile launchers. Say what?

After all, Huckabee said, next to Mexicans, Pakistanis are by far the most numerous illegal border crossers.

The media had to point out that, no, there were many more from the Philippines, Korea, China, Vietnam and other countries. Oh, never mind.

Try to understand, country, that when you’re tied down for a decade dealing with the Arkansas Legislature and Wayne DuMond and mediating between polluting chicken processors and the state of Oklahoma, there’s no time to become an expert on ancient hatreds and the exotic cultures of distant shores.
Americans will understand, won’t they?

Ernie Dumas writes editorials for The Leader.