Maybe there’s a better reason than I thought that others haven’t taken Mike Huckabee seriously on foreign policy. It doesn’t help that the man is apparently oblivious to one of the biggest foreign policy news stories of the last year:
Kuhn: I don’t know to what extent you have been briefed or been able to take a look at the NIE report that came out yesterday …
Huckabee: I’m sorry?
Kuhn: The NIE report, the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran. Have you been briefed or been able to take a look at it —
Kuhn: Have you heard of the finding?
Huckabee: No. [bold mine DL; ed.-doesn’t he read the newspaper?]
Kuhn then summarized the NIE finding that Iran had stopped work on a clandestine nuclear program four years ago and asked if it “adjusts your view on Iran in any sense.”
Kuhn: What is your concern on Iran as of now?
Huckabee: I’ve a serious concern if they were to be able to weaponize nuclear material, and I think we all should, mainly because the statements of Ahmadinejad are certainly not conducive to a peaceful purpose for his having it and the fear that he would in fact weaponize it and use it. (He pauses and thinks) I don’t know where the intelligence is coming from that says they have suspended the program or how credible that is versus the view that they actually are expanding it. â€¦ And I’ve heard, the last two weeks, supposed reports that they are accelerating it and it could be having a reactor in a much shorter period of time than originally been thought. [bold mine-DL; ed.-this ought to discredit him utterly, and maybe it will.]
Wow. There goes my idea that Huckabee could exploit the NIE to demonstrate that he has the more sober, responsible approach to U.S. foreign policy. He literally had no idea what it was or what it said. Obviously, it’s out of the question that he would have had any idea how this might have reflected well on remarks he had made in the past. This makes Huckabee’s rise take on a new, fairly horrifying dimension: he is wedded to Gersonism, seems to be just as clueless about foreign policy as Bush was and is, and people are starting to take a real liking to him (he now leads the Rasmussen daily tracking poll 20-17%).
Update: Huckabee has an excuse that is almost worse than the original blunder:
I had been up about 20 hours at that time, and I had not even so much as had the opportunity to look at a newspaper. We were literally going from early in the morning until late that night and talking to guys like you. And so I had not had an opportunity to be briefed on it. There are going to be times out there on the campaign trail, Wolf – you’ve been on the trail, you know – that candidates are literally driven from one event to the next. And it would have been nice had someone been able to first say here’s some things that are going on, that are taking place. That didn’t happen. It’s going to happen again.
That’s great, except that the NIE story broke on Monday. Essentially, Huckabee is saying that a long, gruelling day of public and media appearances prevented him from remaining informed about one of the more significant policy issues of the day. If that is supposed to increase confidence in his ability to be President, it isn’t working.