by Max Brantley
Media are reporting that Maurice Clemmons, the Arkansas ex-con sought in the slayings of four police officers, was fatally shot by police in Seattle about 5:30 a.m. Little Rock time.
It's not likely to end the commentary on Mike Huckabee's pivotol role in Clemmons' release. (Without his commutation, Clemmons would still be in an Arkansas prison serving 108 years.) Joe Conason writes on piety-enwrapped Huckabee's poor judgment and willingness to buy prison conversion stories from people like Clemmons:
Huckabee granted mercy to prisoners whom he chanced to meet, to prisoners who had personal connections to him or his family, and especially to prisoners who were vouchsafed to him by the pastors he had befriended during his years as a Baptist minister and denominational leader. Among the thugs who benefited from his mercy was a robber who beat an old man to death with a lead pipe.
During the 2008 campaign, Huckabee's arrogance and stupidity mostly escaped the full scrutiny of the national press corps, in part because his stint as a contender was so brief. But next time, if there is a next time, he should get no such free pass -- and his claims to divine guidance ought to be thoroughly debunked.
A critical difference now is that conservatives are bashing Huckabee big-time. Many gave him a pass on Dumond, because that case was tied up in Clinton craziness, never mind the many other questionable clemency decisions Huckabee made. Many of those were rounded up in a Democrat-Gazette sidebar today.
The New York Times spreads on the national record Huckabee's sneering dismissal as governor of prosecutors who complained about his lax clemency policies.
Columnist John Brummett, who knows Huckabee as well as anyone, writes how Huckabee revealed himself as 1) a money grubber; 2) superficial, and 3) unwilling to take responsibility for his actions.
Even Huckabee campaign consultant Dick Dresner thinks Huck blew the Clemmons case. And here, potential rival Tim Pawlenty kicks Huck while he's down.
Also, Wayne Dumond is getting a new look, here from ABC. Even Republicans -- including a columnist and former Huckabee staffer quoted in the ABC link -- are in agreement with what the Arkansas Times documented long ago. Huckabee advocated energetically for the rapist's release and the blood of his future crimes is on Huckabee's hands, a fact a murder victim's mother has no intention of letting anyone forget.
A note on Clemmons' school attendance from LRSD:
According to our records, Maurice Clemons was not a student in LRSD for high school. We have a record of his attendance through the end of his 9th grade year in LRSD. After that it appears he may have enrolled in summer school in LRSD for the summer of 1989. Also, according to CNN reports in a letter to Governor Huckabee, Clemons states he moved to LR in 1989 after which he was arrested and put in jail during what would have been his senior year. There is no record of his enrolling in LRSD for the 1989-1990 school year.
However, the parole application completed by his attorney states he attended Hall High School through the end of his 11th grade year.