Willie Horton Redux
Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) kicked off his presidential campaign on the Sunday talk shows this week, and with any luck, it’ll be the shortest candidacy in history.
Huckabee has a number foibles in his past – mostly campaign finance shenanigans that he’s harrumphed his way out of – but the stake through the heart of his presidential ambitions will be his pardon of Wayne Dumond, a violent criminal with a long record of sex crimes and murder, who, according to the wingnuts in AR, got a raw deal when he was sentenced to 39 ½ years for raping a teenager in 1985.
Dumond was a cause célèbre with the Religious Right, who claimed he was exonerated by DNA testing (in reality, none was ever done), and the reason he was railroaded was because the victim, Ashley Stevens, was a distant relative of Bill Clinton’s.
In 1997, Huckabee intervened with the parole board (all of who owed their $70K jobs to the Governor), threatening to commute Dumond’s sentence to time served unless they paroled him. (His original life sentence had been commuted to 39 1/2 years by Huckabee's predecessor, Gov. Jim Guy Tucker (D). Huckabee's decision was based on the remonstrations of Jay Cole, a Baptist minister/radio talk show host and close friend of Huckabee’s who had pleaded Dumond’s case on the air for a decade. It was also the idée fixe for tabloid scumbag Steve Dunleavy of “A Current Affair” and the New York Post.
So, through a series of backdoor bureaucratic work-arounds, Huckabee released Dumond, making his Clinton-hating base very happy.
Dumond was happy too. So tickled, in fact, that he married one of the religious kooks who had fallen in love with him while he was in prison, and moved to MO, where he promptly raped and murdered Carol Sue Shields (for which there is conclusive DNA proof), and was a suspect in another rape/murder. Dumond died in prison in MO before the second case came to trial.
This dark moment in Huckabee’s career makes Mike Dukakis’s Willie Horton affair look like a clerical error.
Aside from the obvious moral implications (that Huckabee is indirectly responsible for the second and possibly third murders), it raises questions about the former governor’s competency. Throughout his finagling to spring Dumond from prison, he ignored the official judicial record and relied upon the word of the Clinton-bashing religious crazies in his base. It all sounds frighteningly similar to the non-reality-based administration we’ve labored under for the past six years.
A screw-up of this magnitude disqualifies Huckabee from consideration as a serious candidate for president. In a just world, he’d be serving Dumond’s sentence for him. At the very least, he should jog his sorry ass back to AR and never show his face in public again.
Read Murray Wass’s award winning investigative piece on the whole ugly mess here.
Also see: Murray Waas responds to Huckabee’s comments to Tim Russert on MTP