Huckabee’s Record Will Haunt Him in 2012

Mike Huckabee giving a speech following the So...

Mike Huckabee

Bookmark and Share In 2008, like many, I was initially struck by Mike Huckabee’sgood natured, easy going persona and mastery of the issues. As a former two term Governor, he came across as a credible conservative force and his homespun stories and original and witty sayings helped convey the points he wanted to get across in a memorable and often impressive way. But a closer look shows that Mike Huckabee is more like a used car salesman than a reliable conservative.

As Governor of Arkansas, while touting his credentials as a fiscal conservative, the record shows that a liberal Republican like Rudy Giuliani cut taxes far more in New York City as Mayor than Huckabee did as Governor of Arkansas.

On immigration, Mike Huckabee’s tough talk neglects to mention that as Governor he opposed fellow Republicans on a bill that would have required proof of citizenship to vote or in order to receive social services. And as a minister, the former Governor has called illegal immigration God’s payback for slavery.

But it is the issue of crime which truly shuts the door on Huckabee’s conservative credentials.

While in office, Huckabee had a schedule of clemencies that amounted to 1 pardon every four days that he was in office as Governor. The 1,033 sentences that he commuted, far exceeded that of other Governors and some of those pardons proved to be deadly.

Maurice Clemmons Shot Dead
Marice Clemmons
Wayne DuMond

In one case, Huckabee pardoned hardened criminal Wayne DuMond whom after he was released, raped and killed two women. Beyond those preventable tragedies, in 2009 another criminal who was pardoned by Huckabee was Maurice Clemmons, a man who’s criminal history included five felony convictions in Arkansas and at least eight felony charges in Washington State. At one point Clemmons went on spree so violent that a judge saw fit to sentence him to 95 years behind bars. Yet despite the objections of prosecutors, Governor Huckabee issued Clemmons clemency and gave him the opportunity that he took to kill 4 police officers in cold blood as they sat in a Lakewood, Washington coffee house.

On the day that Clemmons was found to be the murderer of officers Ronald Owens, Mark Renninger, Greg Richards and Tina Griswold, the prosecuting attorney, Larry Jegley, who handled the Clemmons case in Arkansas’ Pulaski County, made clear his doubts about Huckabee’s numerous pardons by calling it a day he had been “dreading for a long time.”

For his part, when it was learned that one of his pardoned criminals was responsible for the murder of the four police officers, Huckabee avoided any responsibility by dodging the issue in a statement that read;

“Politics is the last thing on my mind. It should be the last thing on anybody’s mind. To me it’s repulsive that people are trying to bring something like that up in the midst of what ought to be a concern for these officer’s families”

Huckabee did however add that that the criminal justice system “was far from perfect and in this case it failed miserably on all sides”, but that little addition still neglected to name himself as being responsible for part of the failure.

That is a point which Mike Huckabee may not be willing to make but in 2012, too many of his opponents will be more than happy to mention it.

Back in 2008 Huckabee was a virtual unknown who shocked the political world after winning Iowa, a caucus state with a high percentage of fundamental Christians who fell for the Hucksters conservative message. In 2012 though, it will be pretty hard for him to make the same case for himself.

This time, the Republican field is ready for him and they are prepared to take him out among an electorate that is more conservative, more motivated and much angrier than they were in ’08, when Huckabee’s record didn’t have time tarnish. Combined with what will be an extremely competitive field that has no clear frontrunner and what you have in Mike Huckabee is very smooth talking and very flawed candidate who is going to have a hard time convincing voters that he is tougher on taxes and crime than someone like Sarah Palin or Haley Barbour or Mike Pence, Mitch Daniels or Bobby Jindal.

All of these factors are making a 2012 run for the presidency by Huckabee quite unlikely and rightly so.

In 2012 values voters are going to have a multitude of good choices. So much so that Huckabee will not have as tight a grip on the evangelical Christian vote, as he did two years ago. And on top of that, now that the ramifications of Huckabee’s record as Governor have now had plenty of time to reveal themselves, they will haunt him every step of the way.

In 2008 Huckabee played the role of spoiler. For voters who were looking for a viable alternative to early frontrunner John McCain, Huckabee siphoned off votes from the one man who had a real shot of taking the nomination from McCain. Mitt Romney. But in 2012 call it payback or karma but Mike Huckabee’s own record will be siphoning votes away from himself. The mere mention of the four cops killed by the man that Huckabee set free will certainly be making people think twice before voting for Mike Huckabee again and for that reason, I think Mike Huckabee is going to have to think twice too, before throwing his hat in the ring anytime soon.

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2 Responses

  1. […] White House 2012 addressed the very same issue that Karger has written about. In a piece called Huckabees Record Will Haunt Him in 2012, I maintained that the clemency problem facing Huckabee is even worse than it was for Michael […]

  2. […] Another reason for Huckabee not being given a place on the ticket could be the same issues which probably prevented him from running for President. […]

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