Thursday, December 3, 2009
Huckabee Unfairly Lambasted in Pardon of Alleged Cop Killer
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is, to be perhaps uncouth, having a new one ripped for him by right wingers like Michelle Malkin over a pardon he made while he was Governor. The person he pardoned nearly 10 years ago, Maurice Clemmons, allegedly showed up Sunday in a suburban Seattle coffee shop and executed four police officers last week.
The Huffington Post reports that, as governor, Huckabee had a penchant for pardoning. The former and perhaps current presidential hopeful pardoned or commuted the sentences of as many criminals as his three predecessors combined according to the Huffington Post. One of those three predecessors was a man named Bill Clinton who drew fire for 11th-hour presidential pardons as he left the Oval Office in 2001.
Clemmons will never be tried for his alleged actions in that coffee shop because he was gunned down by law enforcement on Tuesday. Now, four families are suffering through the grief of losing a loved one, and law enforcement officers are feeling the loss of four of their own.
Dead are officers Mark Renninger, 39, Ronald Owens, 37, Tina Griswold, 40, and Greg Richards, 42. These four, all from the Lakewood (WA) Police Department. were sitting in a coffee shop catching up on paperwork when Clemmons walked in and gunned them down. Some of Clemmons' alleged accomplices have been charged in the case.
Huckabee, for his part, released a statement on the Newsmax.com website discussing his role in the tragedy. "I take full responsibility for my actions of nine years ago. I acted on the facts presented to me in 2000. If I could have possibly known what Clemmons would do nine years later, I obviously would have made a different decision. But if the same file was presented to me today, I would have likely made the same decision," said Huckabee in the statement.
Personally, I think that the right wing's attacks on Huckabee are just a way of trying to eliminate different and somewhat independent voice from the 2012 presidential pool of candidates.
While it's true that Huckabee's background as a Southern Baptist preacher does definitely qualify him as a conservative, his policies toward government, taxation, and other policies have been far more liberal than some Republicans. Socially, Huckabee fits the bill of a candidate that the right would love to have, but, in other ways, he does not. Pushing him out of the race this early would allow the far right to eliminate him from the running.
Far be it from me to defend Huckabee, but he pardoned this guy nine years ago. Clemmons was convicted of other crimes and jailed again in 2001 and was released by a parole board in 2004. Huckabee, like the parole board that released Clemmons in '04, did not directly cause what happened in that Seattle-area coffee shop, and he does not deserve this much heat from either side of the aisle.
Somewhat coincidentally, Huckabee was in Indiana speaking to a group at Purdue University on Tuesday night. The Indianapolis Star reported on the visit here. Huckabee did not address the pardon situation at all.
In the political fallout of all this, let's not forget the lives of the four brave officers who died in the line of duty. Our men and women in uniform work everyday to make our communities safe and to keep us safe in that community. They are true public servants that do amazingly challenging work for all of us. I salute them and their sacrifices.
I also salute the sacrifice of those four police officers whose lives were snuffed out allegedly at the hands of a madman with many many problems. That man was not Mike Huckabee, and it's unfair to make a one-to-one connection between his pardon and the alleged actions in that coffee shop.