by Max Brantley
The Washington Post's fact-checker feature was prompted to create a whole new category for assessing politicians in the aftermath of Mike Huckabee's extended pander to conservative Israelis on his recent trip there.
The feature first works Huckabee over for his suggestion that Palestinians have no claim on occupied lands and that a homeland should be created for them in Arab Muslim-held lands.
The first part of Huckabee's statement is factually correct—virtually all of the Middle East is occupied by Arab Muslims—but his proposal is completely unrealistic. If an American president were to formally propose such an idea, it would spark outrage throughout the Muslim world. It might even start a war.
The Post, after nothing that a rough majority of Israelis aren't opposed to Palestinian settlements on the West Bank and repeating that Huckabee's idea is a "non-starter" and "deeply offensive" to many, concludes:
Ordinarily, at this point we would have a "Pinocchio Test." But Huckabee's statement does not lend itself easily to Pinocchios. The problem is less one of facts than in being completely divorced from reality. So, with this statement, The Fact Checker is going to start a new feature on politician panders, which we will grade according to how unrealistic they are. What should we call this category? How should we grade them? And what sort of icon should we display? (a "Pander Bear"?) Huckabee's proposal sets a pretty high bar for other politicians to leap over, but we are sure the challenge will be met.