by Max Brantley
Tim Pawlenty cheesily took advantage of Mike Huckabee's clemency decision in the cop-killer case by suggesting he'd never do such a thing.
Mitt Romney inserted the knife in Huck much more effectively, without seeming to do so. Why, Romney told an interviewer, he has great empathy for Huckabee. He thinks the focus should be on the loss of lives, not political considerations. He said he took Huckabee at his word that he'd have made a different decision based on what he knows now. (Huckabee has actually also said he would NOT have done things differently based on what he knew then.)
But, the article also noted that Romney never issued a single pardon or commutation in four years as Masschusetts governor.
As Governor, Romney said he put strict pardoning guidelines in place to avoid letting personal impressions fog his judgment.
"My conclusion was if somebody has been convicted by a jury of their peers and they have been prosecuted and the police were able to get the evidence necessary to put them behind bars, why in the world would I step in and reverse that sentence," he said.
Romney thus eviscerated the easy-on-criminals Huckabee. It was done so gracefully that both the CNN story and a National Review blog said that Romney had "defended" Huckabee's clemency decision. I'd predict Huckabee wouldn't read it that way.
HUCKABEE CLEMENCY READING: The sledgehammer, not the stiletto, is applied to the Huckster in the Arkansas Leader, which did groundbreaking reporting on Huckabee's poorly thought out clemency practices back in the day. Publisher Garrick Feldman recaps. And editorialist Ernie Dumas contributes, too.