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It’s safe to say that Mike Huckabee’s presidential future is done. The nail in the coffin is the revelation that as governor of Arkansas, Huckabee commuted the sentence of serial felon Maurice Clemmons, who recently gunned down four police officers in cold blood in Washington state. Clemmons is not the first future murderer to be let go by Huckabee. In 1998, he let loose convicted rapist Wayne DuMond, who went on to murder Carol Sue Shields. In his tenure as Arkansas governor, Huckabee helped free 1,033 criminals. His three successors combined freed less than half that number.
Huckabee responded to the Clemmons murders by blaming prosecutors, the parole board and other officials. He made irrelevant quibbles about how he did not technically pardon Clemmons but rather commuted his sentence to make him eligible for parole. But no matter how he wants to spin it, had he not intervened on Clemmons’ behalf, four brave police officers would be alive today.
Voters do not look very kindly on politicians who are soft on murderers and rapists. Many commentators make the obvious comparison of Huckabee and Clemmons to Michael Dukakis and Willie Horton. As governor of Massachusetts, Dukakis heavily promoted the weekend furlough program that allowed convicted murderer Horton out on the weekends. While on furlough, he brutally raped and assaulted a woman. During the 1988 presidential campaign, Al Gore (who ran in the Democratic primary) and then George Bush Sr. used Horton to showcase Dukakis’ soft-on-crime approach, with great success.
But it might be more useful to contrast Huckabee’s record on law and order to the 1992 Democratic nominee for president, his fellow Arkansas governor, slick Willie Clinton. After learning how unpopular Dukakis’ position on crime was, Clinton prominently flew back to Arkansas during the campaign to sign the death warrant of Ricky Ray Rector. Clinton said Democrats “should no longer feel guilty about protecting the innocent.”
Compared to Huckabee, Bill Clinton looks like Charles Bronson.
While the Left rushed to defend Dukakis over Horton and continue to accuse Republicans of racism for the ad, they are perplexed with how to deal with Huckabee. It’s easy partisan political fodder, but they can’t attack conservatives for being too soft on crime. So some liberals are blaming Huckabee’s Christian faith.
Salon.com columnist Joe Conalson wrote:
Huckabee has proudly declared on many occasions that he disdains the separation of church and state, insisting that his strict Baptist piety should serve as the bedrock of public policy. Nowhere in his record as governor was the influence of religious zeal felt more heavily than in the distribution of pardons and commutations.
Liberals claim to oppose mixing God and government, yet they are always more than happy to invoke left-wing pastors who claim it is our Christian duty to raise taxes, give amnesty to illegal aliens and end the death penalty. Huckabee using his Christian faith to justify his left-wing policies is no more conservative than Barack Obama invoking Rev. Wright.
Conservative evangelical columnist Dan Calabrese wrote:
Huckabee was very fast and loose with his power to grant pardons and commute sentences, apparently because he felt like, as a merciful Christian, he should forgive like Jesus did.
But Jesus didn’t go around urging civil authorities to turn loose violent criminals who would prey upon the people if given the chance. Nowhere does God command Christians to undermine civil order – indeed, he tells us the opposite – and undermining civil order is exactly what Huckabee did by going nuts handing out the get-out-of-jail-free cards.
Huckabee’s position on ignoring the law in the name of dispensing Christian mercy to criminals extends to his open-borders position on immigration. He called a plan to deny welfare to illegal aliens “un-Christian, un-American, irresponsible and anti-life.” In his 2007 book “From Hope to Higher Ground,” he said that opposition to illegal immigration was “sparked by the unholy spirit of racism.”
As opposed to being a Christian conservative, Huckabee tries to cover his unconservative positions on immigration and crime with a Southern accent and a few Bible verses. The tragic consequences of his policies just exposed his charade.