by Max Brantley
Here's that major New Yorker profile of Mike Huckabee I mentioned yesterday, now on-line. It's friendly, headlined: "Prodigal Son/ Is the wayward Republican Mike Huckabee now his party’s best hope?" It opens with a focus on his appeal to conservative Israelis (and unfriendliness to the cause of Palestinians, a nationality he doesn't recognize).
In many ways, the profile presents Huckabee as the Republicans' best hope for 2012, in part because he's something of a party outsider. His former chief of staff Brenda Turner offered a thought on that:
Turner suspects that Huckabee will not run for President in 2012. “He’s actually living the dream that he’s always had, starting on radio at fourteen and loving TV like he does,” she said. “If he runs, it would have to be a calling, and it couldn’t just come from supporters; he’d have to feel the Lord was calling him. I don’t feel like he has that urgency.”
He also defended his commutation for Maurice Cllemmons.
In Arkansas, Huckabee commuted the sentence of Maurice Clemmons, who went on to shoot four police officers in Washington last year. Given the same information he had then, Huckabee says, he would make the same decision. “When I looked at his case, I looked at a twenty-seven-year-old put away for a non-weapon burglary and an aggravated robbery. He had a sentence of a hundred and eight years,” Huckabee said. “People had murdered and gone to prison sentenced to less time than he had served; it made no sense. He was black, he was poor, he had a lousy defense attorney. It was a classic example of what can happen and the reason you empower governors to have clemency.” It’s a decision that would make a perfect weapon for his competitors in a Republican primary. “But do we really want people who only make decisions in their political lives that are in their own best interest?” he asked. “Frankly, I’m afraid that we might. The truth is, it could be the kind of thing that would keep me from ever being able to run.”
(Clemmons' record in Arkansas was more extensive than Huckabee depicts and included some violent acts while dealing with the justice system.)
Also, his comment about the "ick factor" of same-sex marriage gets a working over at Talking Points Memo.
The fabled New Yorker fact-checks let slide a photo caption that refers to Florida resident Mike Huckabee's North Little Rock "home." I'd say it's more accurately a vacation retreat.