Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mike Huckabee's "Willie Horton" problem

Front paged at Booman Tribune and ePluribus Media

There has been much focus on Mike Huckabee’s performance at last night’s debate, as well as the intrigue that goes along with a new candidate that shows some dose of sanity or a momentary lack of phoniness.

And there has been much written about him in Left Blogistan lately as well, including an excellent post by Devilstower and another that garnered a lot of exposure regarding his positions.

But as with fabulous Fred Thompson, once there is any looking below the surface, there are a number of ugly things about Huckabee that haven’t yet come to light for the general public. Taking out the believing in creationism or his extreme and out of the mainstream right wing positions on abortion and other issues as well, there is another item that hasn’t received the proper attention – and this is one that goes straight to the heart of the whole “strong on crime” and “good judgment” theme that the cowardly but chest thumping republicans love to exhibit.

Call it Mike Huckabee’s “ Willie Horton problem”, and its’ name is Wayne Dumond.

Huckabee, whose self-deprecating humor and easy candor have charmed many on the campaign trail, bristles when asked about the case, in which Dumond - now dead - was paroled from an Arkansas prison, with then- governor Huckabee's endorsement, only to sexually assault and kill a woman in Missouri.


Dumond's case is notorious in Arkansas. In 1984, he raped a 17-year-old girl. While awaiting trial at his home, he was castrated by, he said, masked intruders. Later, after Dumond went to prison for life, some people in Arkansas saw the sentence as excessive, especially given his mutilation.

Huckabee was one, and, after becoming governor in 1996, he announced his desire to commute Dumond's sentence. Dumond's rape victim, Ashley Stevens, saw it differently.

Stevens, now 40 and living in the western United States, said she tried to persuade Huckabee not to shorten the sentence for Dumond.

"I told [Huckabee]: If you ever let him out, he's going to do it again," she said in an interview.

She was able to get a meeting with the governor - who, she said, had not spoken to her before announcing his intention to commute Dumond's sentence - but realized Huckabee had "made up his mind." So Stevens stood up, she said, walked over to Huckabee, who was seated on a sofa, squatted down and thrust her face inches from his.

"I said, 'This is how close I was to Dumond's face for an hour,' " Stevens recalled. " 'I'll never forget his face, and you'll never forget mine.' "

The parole board - following a closed meeting with Huckabee - decided to let Dumond go. The following year, Dumond committed the Missouri slaying. He died in prison in 2005.

To break this down to the bite size piece that can be digested by “Joe Flag Waver” – Mike Huckabee lobbied for the parole of a convicted rapist in an unprecedented manner over the protest of the victim and the parole board. This convicted rapist then sexually assaulted and murdered another woman the following year.

Another twist to this is that conservative commentators (read:talking meatsticks) harshly criticized Bill Clinton for NOT granting clemency to Dumond because the victim was a distant relative of Clinton’s:

Some conservative commentators began to question Clinton's denial of clemency for Dumond in light of the fact that Dumond's victim was a distant relative of Clinton, "even though Clinton had recused himself in 1990 from any involvement in the case because of his distant relationship with Stevens."

In order to fit in with the republican base, you not only have to be “strong on terrorism” or “strong on crime and criminals”, you have to do it to the extreme. Taking out the absolute hypocrisy of those “conservative commentators” who suddenly found a soft spot for a convicted rapist just because the victim was a distant relative of the most evil Bill Clinton, it is an opportunity to exploit the poor judgment of Mike Huckabee when it comes to violent sexual offenders.

There are many reasons (some of which will no doubt remain buried) why Huckabee is unfit for the Presidency. There are many reasons that will be cited as why he would make a great candidate, some of which are genuine and some of which are absolute nonsense. However, there is a specific case and instance where Huckabee’s poor judgment (and possible abuse of his power as Governor?) resulted in the release of a violent sex offender over the protest and warnings of the victim, the protest of the prior Governor and the parole board.

And that decision resulted in the subsequent sexual assault and murder of another woman – a woman who would still be alive if not for Huckabee’s decision to grant clemency to Dumond. In a final kicker, despite the warning by the victim, we have the following Bush administration moment from Huckabee:

"But nobody could know that" Dumond would attack again, he said.

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