by Max Brantley
Interesting, nonetheless, even if you don't want to assume too much simply because Huckabee had his picture taken with someone characterized as a "Japanese gangster" or that he was once in talks to be a cruise ship lecturer with another dubious figure, according to The Cable blog at foreignpolicy.com.
This encounter is not Huckabee's only bizarre connection with Japanese politics. In 2009, The Cable reported that Huckabee was to be the featured lecturer for a cruise with a controversial Japanese general who is known for defending Japan's World War II atrocities.
Huckabee was in discussions to interview the organizer of that cruise, Toshio Tamogami, the former Japanese Air Force chief of staff who was fired in 2009 after creating an international incident by writing in an essay that Japan was "not an aggressor nation" in WWII. Huckabee's participation in the event was scuttled after The Cable's report came out.
"There seems to be an unholy alliance between Japan's ultra-right and the American right," said Mindy Kotler, the founder of Asia Policy Point, a non-profit organization that does research on Japan. "They agree on an aggressive anti-China defense policy, but little else. If the two compared values they would frighten each other."
Closer to home was the article's mention of Sylvester Smith as Huckabee's communications spokesman. Is that the same former Huckabee administration minority affairs staffer and lobbyist? If so, I saw him just the other day and I thought he said he was still state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, another Republican corporate front group. But wait...Google turns up Smith's name as a contact on The Huckster's enterprise to sell animated cartoon history lessons (appropriately slanted, of course) for kids. If Repubs take over the legislature, no heavy lifting will be required for Smith as a lobbyist. NFIB votes will be automatic, unless the Kochs or ALEC disapprove for some reason. So time for a little moonlighting, I guess.