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December 12, 2007

More on Huckabee's Clemencies

Good piece from Philip Klein at The American Spectator. A lot of it is stuff you know, but it might be a good article to send to a Huckabee supporter in your family.

Over the course of his 10 and a half years as governor, Huckabee granted a staggering 1,033 clemencies, according to the Associated Press. That was more than double the combined 507 that were granted during the 17 and a half years of his three predecessors: Bill Clinton, Frank White, and Jim Guy Tucker.

...

"I felt like Huckabee had more compassion for the murderers than he ever did for the victims," Elaine Colclasure, co-leader of the Central Arkansas chapter of Parents of Murdered Children, a group that works on behalf of victims' families, told TAS. "He was kind of like a defense attorney. He couldn't see the pain and suffering that the victims were going through."

Among the violent criminals Huckabee granted clemency to were Denver Witham, who was "convicted of beating a man to death with a lead pipe at a bar," according to the AP; Robert A. Arnold Jr., who was convicted of killing his father in law; Willy Way Jr., who pled guilty to shooting a grocery store owner as his wife looked on; and James Maxwell, who murdered a reverend. According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, when the reverend's daughter met with Huckabee to plead that Maxwell be denied clemency, Huckabee "'affectionately referred' to her father's killer as 'Jim.'"

...

When Huckabee did backpedal on his decisions, it was only after tremendous public pressure, or, in one case, a lawsuit.

In 2004, Huckabee agreed to commute the sentence of Don Jeffers, who pled guilty to beating and strangling a man to death in 1980. The Saline County Prosecuting Attorney at the time, Robert Herzfeld, another Democrat, wrote to Huckabee to complain about the decision and request an explanation, according to the Arkansas News Bureau. Herzfeld received a letter from Huckabee's adviser on criminal justice in response that said, "the governor read your letter and laughed out loud." The commutation was eventually stopped, but only after Herzfeld sued Huckabee and the state attorney general's office concluded that certain procedures were not properly followed.

Later that year, Huckabee created a firestorm when he announced his plans to grant clemency to Dennis Lewis, who shot and killed a pawnshop owner in a robbery, and Glen Martin Green. As Arkansas Leader columnist Garrick Feldman described it, Green "beat an 18-year-old woman with Chinese martial-arts sticks, raped her as she barely clung to life, ran over her with his car, then dumped her in the bayou..." Under intense public scrutiny, Huckabee reversed his decision weeks later, and vowed to be more open about his reasoning for making such choices in the future.

Note on that vow: The legislature was debating amending the state constitution to require the Governor -- specifically Huckabee, due to his abuse -- to require that he state his reasons for granting clemency. He had provoked so much outrage that the legislature and public was prepared to limit his ability to grant clemency to killers. So his vow was not exactly freely offered, nor was his retreat from releasing the savage rapist/killer Green his own choice.

But because Huckabee gave little explanation for his decisions for much of his time as governor, it created a vacuum for others to draw educated conclusions. In a long 2004 investigative article, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette found that prisoners had a better chance of being granted clemency by Huckabee if they had a mutual acquaintance, labored at the governor's mansion under a prisoner work program, or a minister intervened on their behalf.

I've criticized Huckabee for his excessively personal approach to politics before. Here again an example: He'll spring killers and rapists so long as he superficially knows them or if an acquaintance or minister speaks up for them. This will not do. The man seems incapable of abstract or logical, disinterested thought or adherence to general principles. Most of his political decisions and clemencies can be explained by his personal feelings about the matter.

This is a Republican?

On the plus side, it will be good to have a president incapable of separating his personal spiritual obligations to Christ from his job as the people's representative. Huckabee must forgive, ergo the public must forgive through his clemencies; Huckabee must be compassionate towards illegal immigrants, ergo so must we all. We won't need to have policy debates once Huckabee's in office, as he answers to a Higher Constituency. That will, at least, free up a lot of our time.

The Power of God: Huckabee's plan to free ourselves of "energy consumption" consists of a bold plan to free ourselves of "energy consumption."

Oh wait, there's more details: He wants to do this in ten years.

Wow, for a second there I thought he was once again speaking glib gibberish about an important issue. But now that I see the details -- "in ten years" -- I am reassured that he has pondered this issue carefully.

We're All "Racists and Nativists:" Glad to know that, thanks!

Just two years ago, Huckabee appeared before the open-borders Hispanic group, The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), preaching an open-door policy. According to the Arkansas News Bureau, Huckabee also criticized state legislation requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote and enhanced reporting of illegal aliens as un-Christian, un-American, irresponsible and anti-life — not to mention “inflammatory,” “race-baiting” and “demagoguery.”

Just last year, Huckabee lambasted opponents of the bipartisan shamnesty bill providing a mass pardon to illegal aliens as “driven by racism or nativism.” He called strict immigration enforcement — the kind he now supports — “sheer folly” in his campaign-timed book released earlier this year. He actively invited the Mexican government to establish a consulate in Arkansas — giving its office a $1 per year special office space rate — so that its foreign officials could start dispensing security-undermining matricula consular ID cards to illegal aliens for banking and employment purposes. And he's not only for government in-state illegal alien discounts, he's for expanding them far beyond what the federal DREAM Act proposed.

I completely believe he's changed his mind on the issue. After all, he wouldn't lie. Like, he wouldn't talk bigoted nonsense about Mormons believing Christ and Satan to be brothers and then send out a spokesman to to claim the statement actually proves his unwillingness to Mormon-bash:

A report released tonight cites an upcoming article in the Sunday edition of The New York Times Magazine which quotes former Arkansas Governor and Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee asking a question about the content of the Mormon faith. In fact, the full context of the exchange makes it clear that Governor Huckabee was illustrating his unwillingness to answer questions about Mormonism and to avoid addressing theological questions during this campaign. “Governor Huckabee has said consistently that he believes this campaign should center on a discussion of the important issues confronting our nation,” said Senior Advisor, Dr. Charmaine Yoest, “and not focus on questions of religious belief. He wants to assure persons of all faith traditions of his firm commitment to religious tolerance and freedom of worship. Governor Huckabee believes that one of the great strengths of our nation lies in its diversity of thought, opinion and faith.”

The first link above, from a Mormon, explains that yes, in the same sense that all of God's created beings are his "spirit children" and are hence his sons and, to one another, "brothers," Satan is held to be a brother of Christ, as are we all. But that is the extent off the familial relationship. It's not as if Mormons have elevated Satan to an exalted status called "spirit child of God" and thereby deified him or put him on par with Christ.

And for him to suggest otherwise is -- pardon me for disrespecting those who cling to this belief -- ignorant and nasty and more than a little bumpkinish. And for him to then claim that injecting this canard into the debate actually demonstrates how much he doesn't want to be thrown into that Briar Patch is just insulting.

As Jim Geraghty and others have said: It's getting tiring to hear Huckabee say things with clear meanings and then be told that he said nothing of the sort. As if we're retarded.


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posted by Ace at 01:40 PM

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