Huckabee joke backfires

By Sujay Kumar

Last Friday when Mike Huckabee took the stage at a National Rifle Association convention in Kentucky, he had hopes of resurrecting some semblance of a successful political campaign. Sadly, his failed attempt at comedy may have shot everything up.

Now when I say it shot everything up, I don’t really mean that someone pointed a gun at Mike Huckabee. Just throwing that out there.

The ordained Baptist minister began his speech wonderfully, getting the crowd to go wild as he preached something about how those who grew up with firearms are less likely to commit a crime. With Chuck Norris-esque poise, Huckabee said that the government should “get its hands off of us.”

Not even a loud and interrupting offstage noise could derail the quick-witted Huckster as he glanced behind without hesitation and rattled off some seemingly pre-written improvised lines.

“That was Barack Obama. He just tripped off his chair,” Huckabee said as the crowd roared with laughter. Even with a rushed delivery throwing his deadpan timing off, Huck cleverly blended the peoples’ love for America’s Funniest Home Videos fall-down-comedy with some scathing political humor.

For the split second before his next line, you could sense that the audience was his.

But much like the initial steam of leading the Republican presidential nomination race, Huck’s luck was about to tragically run out.

“He’s getting ready to speak,” Huckabee went on, seizing the moment, “And somebody aimed a gun at him and he – he dove to the floor.” A few faint murmurs from the dead crowd drowned out a spotlight usually headlined by crickets and pin drops.

Huckabee, whose hesitation and repetition of the word “he” before quipping about Obama’s dive seemed painfully forced, issued an apology later that day saying that his offhand remark was offensive and that he never intended to disparage Obama.

On Sunday’s Meet the Press, he regrettably called his joke dumb and not funny, but confessed that he will probably say more stupid things in the future. Huckabee also made a pitch to be on the ticket this November as the number two man to John McCain.

Somehow, I just don’t see the Huckster as the Vice President.

Angry critics accuse Huckabee of appealing to the predominantly white NRA crowd’s “nostalgia” for the time before the civil rights movement. It’s even been suggested that Huck was asking for Obama to be eliminated come November.

But as appalling as Huck’s wisecrack was, it shouldn’t be spun into anything more than a really bad joke.

It seems as though Huckabee was a victim of his own edgy humor that night. He went straight for the jugular of the audience, once again not literally, and tried out some pre-written – err, improvised – material that may have indirectly hinted at the assassination of Obama.

That sort of humor never goes down well with the NRA, players of Grand Theft Auto 4, and most sensible people of this nation.

The only obvious question is, given the circumstances, why wasn’t there a Chuck Norris reference?

Sujay is a senior in biochemistry. He may or may not be hinting that Chuck Norris roundhouse kicked Barack Obama off a chair.