by Max Brantley
If this case does not sink the presidential aspirations of Huckabee, a leading Republican candidate, it should. By the standards that Republicans launched almost 20 years ago, Huckabee will be Willie Hortonized. But this case also shows, as with an earlier episode in Arkansas, that Huckabee’s judgment is seriously flawed.
If Huckabee were a liberal and a Democrat, he would be a punching bag for right wing blowhards an example of clueless, soft-on-crime politicians at their worst. Fox News would be stalking him, as they have others responsible for letting criminals out early.
Instead, he’s been allowed to get away with issuing a passive, blame-shifting statement. In the release, issued Sunday night, Huckabee takes no personal responsibility for letting Clemmons out early. Instead, he cites “a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington.”
Yes, a series of failures, resulting in the worst act of violence against law enforcement in the history of this state – four officers gunned down in “a targeted, selective ambush,” in Detective Troyer’s words.
A series of failures: starting at the top, with Gov. Huckabee.
“This is the day I’ve been dreading for a long time,” Arkansas prosecutor Larry Jegley told the Seattle Times. Jegley had strenuously objected to Huckabee’s granting of clemency to Clemmons.
Dumond and Clemmons are not Huckabee's only clemency screwups, as Arkansans well know. Some were worse than misguided compassion, but favors for pals. Ah, but Huckabee has an advantage not available to Democrats when GOP hit man Roger Ailes created the issue of Willie Horton.
Ailes now runs Fox News. If they decide to hold the politician accountable for early release of a violent felon linked now to a death of four police officers, they know where to find him – in studio, as a Fox News host.