Mike Huckabee had zero to do with the deaths this past week of four Seattle police officers. Radio hosts and bloggers who attempt to imply anything to the contrary are dishonest. Any who attempt to make political hay with it are actually "pundits who are not to be trusted."
As one who clearly understands the election cycles of American politics can explain to you, making predictions three years before the next election is really silly. I was driving home one afternoon this past week sometime after 6pm EST and heard a fill-in host on a nationally syndicated talk show self-identifying under a mono-syllabic air-name. The monotoned droner was taking great delight in repeating a perverse little phrase--repeating to himself over and over: "Put a bullet in Huckabee, he's dead."
"Put a bullet in him!"
"Yep a bullet in him, he's dead!"
Understandably, the fill-in host might have had an agenda that would be driving his perverse assassination wish. The show he subbed for famously went "all-in" for the candidate that finished third in the 2004 GOP primaries. The candidate did so while spending millions in personal wealth, and never gaining enough traction to win anything except a single state.
What strikes me as curious, however, is why so many supporters of the candidate who finished third in the 2004 primaries were so quick to pronounce Huckabee's political death this week, even as the victims of a violent crime these critics were attempting to link to Huckabee were not yet buried.
Why would such tasteless, naked political pronouncement take the priority in their minds, as opposed to say, comforting the families of the victims, or at minimum, honestly reporting the facts that former Gov. Mike Huckabee had zero to do with Maurice Clemmons being out on bail following a child rape, and free to kill four policemen in cold blood?
You read that right: Governor Michael Huckabee had zero to do with Maurice Clemmons being on the street, and had even less to do with the deaths of Seattle's four finest.
Governor Huckabee has repeatedly attempted to focus his comments on the suffering of the victims' families, expressing his and his family's support for them, and encouraging the media to do the same.
Unfortunately, some mono-syllabic, pen-name, on-air "guy" chose to repeatedly say that Huckabee's political ambitions had met the same fate as the police officers. It was tasteless, it was ugly, and it was immoral.
How much courage does it take to do talk radio under a false name anyway?
But this particular nationally syndicated show was not the only one to misrepresent the facts of Huckabee's history. Prominent bloggers, names everyone would know, got into the action this week. Either they were negligent in speaking with the Governor directly, checking the facts of the record, or, like the sore-loser radio host, had an axe to grind.
As a result, I feel it has fallen to me to re-state the truth--the record as it exists--on the matter.
1. Huckabee offered no "pardon" to Maurice Clemmons.
For the crimes of theft and burglary, Maurice Clemmons at the age of 16 was sentenced to 108 years. In all likelihood, had the same crimes been committed by a white youth from a middle class family, he would've received 20 years and been out on probation in under ten. What Governor Huckabee did do was reduce the 108 years to a sentence of 47 years. Shortly thereafter--not simultaneously--Clemmons met the qualifications for parole, and the parole board allowed him to go free, but kept him on probation.
2. Huckabee was not an activist in the Clemmons parole.
Some have claimed that Huckabee sought and pressured the parole board to intercede in the Clemmons case. This is blatantly false. The truth is that the parole board requested the Governor to consider the sentence reduction, as did the presiding judge. Governor Huckabee sought the input from the Attorney General and the prosecutors in the case. Both declined to weigh in. The judge and parole board were both unanimous in the decision to grant parole.
3. Huckabee had nothing to do with Clemmons release.
Following the short period of time that Clemmons had been paroled, he violated his parole by committing another minor offense. As is the case in all probation issues, that violation brought him back to prison to serve time for his crimes. Once back in prison, the Governor ceased to play any role. His sentence was back in effect. Prosecutorial malfeasance and a judge's lack of action caused Clemmons' second release from the Arkansas prison system.
If Governor Huckabee's sentence reduction allowed Clemmons any opportunity to do crime it was to violate his parole. Once violated however, Clemmons was back into the digestive track of the Arkansas justice system.
The major scandal here is why none of the supporters of the candidate who finished third in the 2004 primaries have not focused one ounce of attention on the two judges that allowed Clemmons to go free following the rape of a child, who was a female relative, some nine years after the Arkansas prosecutors dropped the ball.
Huckabee was in essence reducing a sentence for petty theft from 108 to 47 years for a black kid. White kids would've gotten far more preferential treatment in the courts.
The judges in Washington State were attempting to make a statement of belligerence to the world at large about how liberal their court systems are.
Huckabee had no way of knowing that Clemmons would leave the world of minor crime, live in another state for 6 years as a model citizen, and then become a violent sexual offender of family members.
The judges in Washington State had all of Clemmons' history to judge in making their decision. That history included eight felony arrests in the last three years in Washington State.
Kudos to Governor Huckabee for staying out of the politics of such a painful experience for the victim's families. His attempt to see justice achieved "blind of color" during his time as Governor came from a worldview that underpins the same value system that gives him the self control to not take the current discussion beyond what it should at present.
It is this class, this decency of human behavior, and this ability to understand that the world isn't all about him that will not remove him from consideration for the Presidency in 2012.
And his honest and genuine humility is something that we could all learn lessons from.
Especially mono-syllabic radio hosts and bloggers with obsessed with visions of bullets in their opponents' heads.