by Max Brantley
Smackdown time. Caribou Barbie raps Mike Huckabee on the Maurice Clemmons' clemency. The Huckster has been clearly working hard to remain civil as Palin dominates the best-seller lists and attention of the right-wing Republican base. This could bring out the jabbing, jiving, wise-cracking Huckabee that we know so well.
In a battle of wits, Huckabee is better armed. The provocation in Politico:
Sarah Palin says former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee made a “horrible decision” nine years ago in granting clemency to a man suspected of killing four police officers two weeks ago in Washington state.
“It was a bad decision obviously, but my heart goes out to Huckabee,” the former Alaska governor said of her potential 2012 GOP presidential rival during an interview Monday with conservative radio host Lars Larson. “I love him, and I feel bad for him to be in this position. But I feel even worse for the victims’ families in this situation.”
And check this further quote from a radio show -- enough to make you gag and support Huckabee:
"Most Alaskans know me well enough to know that I don't have a whole lot of mercy for the bad guys. I'm on the good guys' side. I'm all about redemption and recovery and reform and all that. But I will always error on the side of punishing even stricter, even harder on the bad guys."
UPDATE: Poll shows Huckabee numbers unaffected by week's events. (Nobody is running a ton of advertising on it at the moment either.) Pollster comment:
Does that mean he's getting a free pass on the Washington cop killings by an inmate whose sentence he commuted? Probably not. I'm sure that would be a massive liability if he did get into the 2012 Republican field, and used effectively against him by his opponents. But it's a good reminder that the vast majority of Americans do not live and die by the 24 hour news cycle. Huckabee's numbers haven't changed because more than likely few voters who didn't already have their minds made up about him are familiar with his connection to last week's tragedy.
The incident will probably hurt Huckabee's political standing in the long run, but for now it's not having an impact on him.
Huckabee will appear on the Daily Show tonight. Jon Stewart is typically gentle with The Huckster and, since most of his defense in the Clemmons affair has come from liberals (who don't know him or the facts of the case very well), this might be a helpful appearance for Huck.