Conservatives Hit Huckabee for ‘Cop Killer’ Clemency

Monday, November 30, 2009 at 7:06 pm
Mike Huckabee (Erik Lesser/ZUMA Press)

Mike Huckabee (Erik Lesser/ZUMA Press)

It was damage control worthy of a presidential campaign. On Sunday morning, former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.) told the audience of “Fox News Sunday” that he was “nowhere near ready” for a 2012 presidential run. Hours later, the Seattle Times reported that Maurice Clemmons, a suspect in the killing of four police officers in Washington state, had been granted clemency by then-Gov. Huckabee back in 2000. Shortly before midnight, Huckabee released a statement on the killings through his political PAC. On Monday morning, he took to Fox News Radio for yet another take on the killings in Washington.

[GOP1] Huckabee’s multiple answers and explanations for his clemency decision have not quelled a riot of anger against him rising up from blogs, talk radio, and some Republican strategists who’ve worked against him in the past. For 24 hours, conservatives debated Huckabee’s role in the Washington tragedy. Opponents of the governor-turned-TV-host piled on, offering it up as proof that he could never lead the party. Even some former campaign aides suggested that the Clemmons clemency, in the context of many similar decisions Huckabee made during his 12-year stint in the governor’s office, had seriously damaged his hope of grabbing the Republican presidential nomination.

“Huckabee was—and likely remains—a true believer in the concept of restorative justice,” wrote Joe Carter, a veteran of Huckabee’s 2008 campaign who is now web editor of the conservative magazine First Things. “Ironically, what makes Huckabee such an appealing Presidential candidate—his empathy for all people and genuine belief in the individual—is also the trait that will prevent him from ever reaching the White House.”

Talk radio hosts set the tone for Monday. On the first hour of his show, Rush Limbaugh referred to Clemmons as “Huckabee’s Willie Horton,” comparing him to the criminal furloughed by then-Gov. Mike Dukakis (D-Mass.), whose subsequent crimes became a drag on the Democrat’s presidential campaign. “This guy who killed four cops is on the streets,” said Limbaugh, “because nine years ago—it bugs me because people—politicians and intellectuals—can’t withstand protest and stick to principles, and let a guy like this out.”

Those arguments were replicated on conservative news sites, Twitter feeds, and on Huckabee’s own Facebook page. National Review, the conservative biweekly that endorsed Mitt Romney over Huckabee and the rest of the Republican field in 2008, put the clemency story on its front page all day, informing readers that the former governor had enabled a “Suspected Cop Killer.” WorldNetDaily, the widely read conservative site whose columnist Janet Porter was an influential early supporter of Huckabee, devoted its front page to an exhaustive story about Huckabee’s clemency. The American Spectator published multiple stories about Huckabee, including an irate attack from Quin Hillyer charging that “no amount of stagecraft featuring backlit crosses and folksy aphorisms should hide Huckabee’s culpability for such horrendous judgment.”

Huckabee’s Facebook thread on the story often got just as ugly. “As one who works in Law Enforcement, it gets old seeing criminal after criminal being released,” said one supporter. “Mike, I am deeply disappointed that you had anything to do with this sociopath being loose,” said another. Huckabee’s Wikipedia biography page was temporarily vandalized by a critic who screamed that Huckabee will “FOREVER BE KNOWN AS THE IDIOT WHO RELEASED THE COP KILLER MAURICE CLEMMONS.”, the influential conservative group blog, was dotted with diaries and posts attacking Huckabee. “How many Willie Hortons can one man have?” RedState’s Erick Erickson asked TWI.

In one sense, the ferocity of Huckabee’s critics is out of sync with his overall popularity among Republicans. In a full year of polling, Huckabee has proven to be the most popular, most favorably-viewed Republican hopeful for 2012. His highest rating came just last week in a Rasmussen Reports survey that put his favorable rating at 58 percent, and had him trailing President Obama by only 4 points in a two-way match-up. Several other polls have suggested that Huckabee gets closer to Obama than any other potential nominee.

That popularity, however, provides one explanation for the wave of criticism. Long before Huckabee entered the 2008 primaries, he feuded with libertarian-leaning and fiscal conservative groups which took issue with his record in Arkansas, specifically the 21 tax increases enacted under his tenure. Huckabee’s resilience as a national Republican voice has been a source of irritation to groups like the Club for Growth, which Huckabee labeled the “Club for Greed.” (Huckabee’s decision not to endorse Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate in the NY-23 special election, was reportedly influenced by the Club’s own endorsement of Hoffman.)

“I think the news from Seattle is a huge blow to his presidential chances,” said David Keating, executive director of the Club for Growth. “It’s not just another crime, it’s unbelievable — when’s the last time four police officers were killed like this? It would be his Willie Horton, except much worse. Willie Horton was a general election issue. We’re talking about a GOP primary where voters will be sensitive to law and order issues.”

Huckabee’s clemencies became an issue, albeit not a defining one, during his brief surge in the 2008 primaries. In 1996, shortly after becoming governor, Huckabee announced his intention to grant clemency to Wayne DuMond, a convicted rapist and murder. A year after he was freed, DuMond assaulted and murdered a woman in Missouri. During the 2008 race, a mysterious group named Iowans for Some Semblance of Christian Decency pushed the DuMond story, and Mitt Romney’s campaign ran one ad in Iowa attacking Huckabee for granting “1,033 pardons and commutations, including 12 convicted murderers.” Such was the pace of the campaign, though, that the damage didn’t really last. In his campaign memoir, “Do the Right Thing,” Huckabee took many swings at Romney’s negative campaign, but did not mention the specifics of the Dumond attack. But for Huckabee’s opponents, it was a telling scandal that should have gotten more attention.

“It appeared that he was pardoning people who had friends who knew him or who’d had religious conversions in prison,” said Jon Henke, a Republican strategist who worked on Fred Thompson’s 2008 campaign. “It’s about Huckabee feeling his way to justice — not just criminal justice, because this pervades his thinking on a lot of policy. It’s illustrative of his bleeding heart conservatism. This issue sort of opens up discussion again on the thing everyone already objects to about him.”

Richard Viguerie, a longtime conservative strategist and Huckabee critic, echoed Henke’s analysis. “It kind of feeds into the image I have of Huckabee,” said Viguerie, a former member of the “Arlington Group” of conservative activists whom Huckabee courted, with mixed success, in 2008. “Huckabee is a Christian socialist. He’s got a good heart and all that, but he’s wrong on the important issues. He’s coming at them from a Christian perspective, trying to do the humanitarian thing, and it comes back to bite him.”

On Monday evening, as Huckabee headed onto “The O’Reilly Factor” for an interview, the attacks hadn’t slowed down. Michelle Malkin, the influential conservative blogger and columnist, was helping define the story with a frequently updated post harking back to all of Huckabee’s pardons. Huckabee’s responses so far, she argued, were making matters worse.

“Note the passive language and blame-shifting to prosecutors with no explicit mention of Huckabee’s role in granting clemency over the objections of prosecutors,” wrote Malkin. Helpfully, she gave readers “a few more background links to brush up on before Huckabee’s Fox News appearance tonight.”

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Tweets that mention Conservatives Hit Huckabee for ‘Cop Killer’ Clemency « The Washington Independent --
Pingback posted November 30, 2009 @ 7:18 pm

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shoq Values, daveweigel. daveweigel said: My story tonight: Conservatives rip Huckabee apart over the "cop killer" clemency. [...]

Comment posted November 30, 2009 @ 9:13 pm

Huck is also the guy who paroled Wayne Dumond, a convicted rapist, after a long campaign by wing nut Steve Dunleavy of the New York Post and other far right wingers. They were outraged that Dumond had received a 50-year sentence for raping a young girl who happened to be a distant cousin of Bill Clinton.

Dumond, of course, went on to murder another young woman after his parole. Huckabee was not held responsible for Dumond's parole in the last election. Maybe this time it will be different. The Dumond case was outrageous.

4 Cops Dead At The Hands Of A Criminal Granted Clemency By Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee « Rock River Patriots
Pingback posted November 30, 2009 @ 11:09 pm

[...] 4 Cops Dead At The Hands Of A Criminal Granted Clemency By Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee Posted on November 30, 2009 by dhorvatin This story proves that Mike Huckabee is no conservative and always was a dangerous choice for America.  It is too bad 4 cops had to die because of Mike Huckabee’s dangerous decisions to grant clemency to this violent criminal.   Please pray for the families of these fallen officers.  I wonder how many other people have died at the hands of criminals granted clemency by Mike Huckabee.  Here is the story: Conservatives Hit Huckabee for ‘Cop Killer’ Clemency [...]

Comment posted December 1, 2009 @ 1:08 am

“National Review, the conservative biweekly that endorsed Mitt Romney” Why is this not a shock, backers of Romney attack Huck, on the same day the Desert News (Mormon Owned) and other media run stories on tolerating Romney religion.

Of course, Romney is going to use bucks to stab Huck, Romney will pull money from his own pocket. Romney is a man out for blood and out to win, no matter the cost.

Comment posted December 1, 2009 @ 1:10 am

Romney is not a better choice there are many who never made it to the justice system who were cover up in Romneys church. Romneys lives in a glass house, and only hope through intimidation, and tearing a persons life up, things stay cover up.

Comment posted December 1, 2009 @ 2:05 am

ok. Sorry. But I have to say that you people
are idiots. First, you said that Romney is “out
to get blood”. Haha. Just because his name was mentioned doesn't mean he's out to get blood. And it seems to me that the huck follower is much more rabid here than anyone else. That entire second paragraph is
a blatant stab at Romney. And what's with these attacks about his religion? Let me guess. You couldn't find anything better to attack
so you decided to focus on his religion. Hahaha. Desperate much? When Mitt Romney is directly responsible for the release of a man who murders 4 officers excecution style, then call me. Haha

Comment posted December 1, 2009 @ 2:55 am

Okay, Huckaby made a major error releasing a soon in the future cop killer, etc. I am truely sorry for their senseless deaths. They are heros-just like those at Fort Hood are. But let us take a look at another view-do we blast cops like those that had Ted Bundy years ago and released him so he could kill(How Many) women. Do we blame every cop that somewhere sometime had someone that they releases on a gut feeling that later killed/raped. etc? No it the privilege of hindsight that allows this travesty to be reviewed. What about the clemencies where they became Models in society? Like the war the Major networks are not going to show the good we have done-water,sewer,schools,roads, etc. only that one blast that killed oh yes make sure you harp on the children that were killed-does anyone recall Kosovo where enemy surrounded tanks with women/children?? Yes, looking at his criminal record I would not have released him-possibly should have a law that after X number years in prison you get put to death since you are not willing to serve as a valuable asset to society. We have all made mistakes-I am sure knowing now he wishes he had not done what he did-but I bet he has been on his knees praying to God for forgiveness and comfort for those families. Go ahead kick him around! Now, look at times where YOU/I have messed up and possibly got away with something!! We possibly only did not get caught. My heart really goes out to the families, the little ones left, wives/husband left. I wish we live in a society with a real Crystal ball! .

Mercy | The League of Ordinary Gentlemen
Pingback posted December 1, 2009 @ 9:58 am

[...] looks as if Huckabee’s decision to grant clemency to an unstable criminal will cost him the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. Joe Carter, who worked on the governor’s campaign, has written a great post on [...]

Prison Nation « Gerry Canavan
Pingback posted December 1, 2009 @ 10:10 am

[...] him back in jail and the Mike Huckabee clemency case threatening to inaugurate a whole new round of Willie-Horton-style fingerpointing despite the apparent merits of clemency in this case, these two links from MetaFilter seem very [...]

Comment posted December 1, 2009 @ 10:25 am

Your extra commentary is pathetic for a news reporter. Try reporting the news and omit your personal views.

Comment posted December 1, 2009 @ 10:38 am

Huckabee must never have the power to make decisions that can affect other people's lives again! How many people have to die before people realize that Huckabee is unfit for leadership.

Comment posted December 1, 2009 @ 1:09 pm

As the widow of an Alaska State Trooper – I'm appalled that Huckabee is such an IDIOT regarding murderers and rapists.

It's unfortunate – to say the least that he doesn't KNOW how to submit to others with MORE knowledge on any situation than he has.

See – this is what's wrong with the Charismatic – that go by feelings – they can be VERY unstable – and look at the carnage that is created b'c these MURDERERS and RAPISTS were released.

God have mercy on your soul Huckabee – and may HE grant you some humility and WISDOM – I pray you NEVER get into another job where you have the power to RELEASE people who need to spend the REST of their lives in JAIL … where they are safe from society.
May we be SAFE from your perverted – unconscionable – CRAPPY judgment!

Rest in Peace – the 4 who were killed in the line of duty in Washington State …
God comfort the families of those who lost their LOVED ones that day.

Comment posted December 1, 2009 @ 3:02 pm

Huckabee Hound must be shitting himself watching his 'kind' now picking over his presidential carcass. If I was Mitt Romney I'd be worried. His 'liberal' days in MA are going to be his downfall against Messiah Palin.

I love to watch a right-wing feast.

Comment posted December 1, 2009 @ 6:37 pm

So, whose fault is it if a dog owner consciously lets a rabid dog out of the back yard, 12 people who had chances to catch the dog fail to do so, then the dog attacks somebody? Yeah – the 12 maybe could have done more, but the owner is ultimately responsible. He LET the dog out. OPENED THE FREAKING GATE for the dog.

Huckabee dug a further hole by not admitting any responsibility. I would have respected a simple “he seemed like such a good boy, but he pulled the wool over all our eyes – including mine.” Instead, we get the dog owner who opened the gate yelling at the other 12 for not catching HIS DOG.

Sorry, charlie – you screwed up. Now try to live with it, and try to explain how none of this is your fault to the families of the four dead police officers.

Rashtrakut » Blog Archive » Mike Huckabee under fire for clemency grant
Pingback posted December 1, 2009 @ 10:34 pm

[...] Huckabee under fire for yet another clemency grant.  However, unlike his previous politically motivated attempt to [...]

Comment posted December 2, 2009 @ 12:03 pm

I'm confused but shouldn't the State Parole Board Committee/Members be at fault also and not just Huckabee? I read that Circuit Judge Marion Humphrey supported Clemmon's application for clemency in 2000, urged the Parole Board to give him clemency and Huckabee cut his sentence in 1/2. Judge Humphrey performed Clemmons wedding in his office in 2004. After he was released Clemmons returned to prison for robbery and was to stay prisoned till 2015. In 2004 it was the State Parole Board that voted to give Clemmons parole. It was also the Parole Board members that voted to parole DuMond, who later returned to prison for rape and murder, he died in prison.

Comment posted December 2, 2009 @ 4:16 pm

Since 1980, the number of inmates residing in US prisons has increased 400%. And I might actually be slightly off on that stat, I believe it is actually higher.

How is this not part of the national political and/or social discourse? How do we change this rather unbelievable stat?

Huckabee PAC coordinator resigns over clemency uproar | Raw Story
Pingback posted December 2, 2009 @ 5:12 pm

[...] under severe criticism from his conservative allies since the Washington state shooting, with even Rush Limbaugh echoing the "Willie Horton" [...]

Comment posted December 3, 2009 @ 2:30 pm

What cops released Ted Bundy? He *escaped* from jail in Colorado by starving himself for two months and going through the ceiling. That is scarcely the same as what Mike Huckabee did.

I dislike Huckabee intensely for his Dominionist ties and his misogyny, but let's be accurate here….

Comment posted December 3, 2009 @ 2:55 pm

I just read that on 11-23-09 in Pierce County, Washington State Clemmons was able to post bond and get out of jail and days later he killed the cops. The article states that an former traffic Judge Stephen Morley was involved in getting Clemmons a lower bail. Apparently the Prosecutor in Washington tried to keep him jailed with a high bail but lots of stuff went on and it got lowered. I think Huckabee, Parole Board Members and those in Washington State that had him in jail again are all at fault.

Comment posted December 3, 2009 @ 9:36 pm

I had always supported Mike until I learned of this. I reamed him on an e-mail to his Fox News Show. What he did is disgraceful and there was no reason at all for it. His actions resulted in 4 dead policeman and children without Mom's & Dad's. It disgusts me. A lot of people are at fault but it started with his incredible bad judgement.

Let me be governor. Bring me 1200 clemency requests per year. Guess how many I throw in the trash per year? That's right, 1200 go to file 13. I'm through with him, never to support or watch his show. He should resign. He will face God for what he has done.

Comment posted December 5, 2009 @ 10:59 am

Who do you think you are fooling? Is your last name “Mitt” or Romney? Your post is just a little too bizzare- Anyway, I hope Huckabee run in 2012!

Comment posted December 5, 2009 @ 11:01 am

Good point!

Comment posted January 8, 2010 @ 7:30 pm

This Idiot Anti Soveriegnty JERK Huckabee has pulled many a boneheaded moves. Building an unauthorized psydo mexican embasy to aid and abbet illegal aliens is among the list of stupid!

Comment posted January 9, 2010 @ 12:30 am

This Idiot Anti Soveriegnty JERK Huckabee has pulled many a boneheaded moves. Building an unauthorized psycho mexican embasy to aid and abbet illegal aliens is among the list of stupid!

Best of Weigel: A Look Back | The Lie Politic
Pingback posted June 29, 2010 @ 5:45 am

[...] spotlight on conservative attacks on Mike Huckabee for granting clemency to a future suspect in the shooting [...]

Comment posted August 9, 2010 @ 12:58 am


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Comment posted August 20, 2010 @ 3:05 am

Building an unauthorized psycho mexican embasy to aid and abbet illegal aliens is among the list of stupid!

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Comment posted August 21, 2010 @ 2:34 am

I had always supported Mike until I learned of this.

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Comment posted September 5, 2010 @ 7:23 pm

Legal channels – not just criminal justice, as it runs through a lot of policy ideas…

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Comment posted September 17, 2010 @ 8:02 pm

Dumond, of course, went on to murder another young woman after his parole. Huckabee was not held responsible for Dumond's parole in the last election. Maybe this time it will be different. The Dumond case was outrageous.
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Huckabee says ousting of Iowa judges historic move (AP)…

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World Spinner
Trackback posted November 22, 2010 @ 2:30 am

Conservatives Hit Huckabee for 'Cop Killer' Clemency « The ……

Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

GOP Cattle Call 2012: Inaugural Edition – Week of 01/30/11 - Online Political Blog
Pingback posted February 4, 2011 @ 5:58 pm

[...] It’s not as if he doesn’t have his weak spots beyond his past fundraising woes; his pardon, as Arkansas governor, of a felon who went on to kill four cops in Washington could set up as a [...]

Comment posted February 24, 2011 @ 7:18 pm

Shuck the Huck Up. 4 Dead Police Officer because of His Political Correctness and White Guilt. No Cop Killer for President in My Time. SARGE, US Army, Airborne, Ret

Comment posted February 24, 2011 @ 7:20 pm

Shuck the Huck Up. 4 Dead Police Officer because of His Political Correctness and White Guilt. No Cop Killer for President in My Time. SARGE, US Army, Airborne, Ret

Comment posted February 24, 2011 @ 7:20 pm

Shuck the Huck Up. 4 Dead Police Officer because of His Political Correctness and White Guilt. No Cop Killer for President in My Time. SARGE, US Army, Airborne, Ret

Comment posted February 24, 2011 @ 7:39 pm

You are Spot On!!!!! SARGE

Comment posted February 24, 2011 @ 7:41 pm

Just Watching Him Play His Guitar on His Show Turns My Stomach He looks Like a Complete MORON. sarge

Comment posted February 24, 2011 @ 8:13 pm

The “DON” for President 2012. TRUMP That Is.. Check Out His Resume. DON 2012

Comment posted February 24, 2011 @ 8:14 pm

The ‘DON” For President!!!! Trump that Is.
Check Out His Resume!!!!

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