From The Grio – While I’ve been mesmerized along with the rest of the country by Charlie Sheen’s kooky public rantings, it’s former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee whose off-the-wall soundbites are really grabbing my attention.
The Republican 2012 presidential hopeful has made several controversial comments in recent days that threaten to outdo even the “bi-winning-est” Sheen quotes. And unlike Charlie Sheen, Huckabee is actively seeking public office (no Charlie, that is not an invitation), so his views hold somewhat more serious repercussions for the lives of American citizens, especially poor people and minorities.
First, Huckabee made “birther”-like comments, incorrectly stating that President Obama grew up in Kenya, then saying he meant Indonesia (he actually grew up in predominately in Hawaii), and making ignorant assumptions about the potential effects of a childhood spent abroad on Obama’s patriotism and his ability to relate to the “average American”.
WATCH NBC NIGHTLY NEWS COVERAGE OF HUCKABEE’S SINGLE MOTHER SWIPE:
“One thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, (is) very different than the average American,” said Huckabee on Monday at the New York radio station WOR. “Most of us grew up going to Boy Scout meetings and, you know, our communities were filled with Rotary Clubs, not madrassas.”[Emphasis mine.]
As if these comments about Obama’s upbringing weren’t ignorant enough, later in the same interview, Huckabee issued a worrisome condemnation of single mothers:
One of the things that’s troubling is that people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boasts of, ‘Hey look, you know, we’re having children, we’re not married, but we’re having these children, and they’re doing just fine.’ But there aren’t really a lot of single moms out there who are making millions of dollars every year for being in a movie. And I think it gives a distorted image that yes, not everybody hires nannies, and caretakers, and nurses. Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can’t get a job, and if it weren’t for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and never have health care. And that’s the story that we’re not seeing, and it’s unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the idea of out of children wedlock.
This is the portion of Huckabee’s statement has been widely reported, and it’s offensive for a variety of reasons, most pressingly that it’s factually incorrect. As Melissa Harris-Perry, an associate professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University, recently pointed out, data from a 2009 report on unmarried parents show that 80 percent of custodial single mothers are gainfully employed and fewer than 10 percent are recipients of Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF). And the rates of poverty among single parents do not approach the “most” which Huckabee claims.