Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Bad blow for Huckabee -- UPDATED and Bumped -- Timeline of events at Hot Air with Huck response; Waas find a former aide who contradicts Huck

I don't usually link to the Lefty blogs (for the sheer fact that most of them are nuts), but today I'm making an exception because the Huffington Post has a damning story on what might be the final coffin nail for Mike Huckabee. It seems that they have obtained some information regarding the pardon of Wayne Dumond, a convicted rapist who was paroled by then Governor Huckabee. Upon his release, he raped again, and this was after a previous victim had begged him not to release Dumond.

Huckabee has denied that he did anything inappropriate during the deliberations by the parole board regarding Dumond, but that's not entirely true. He's claimed that he didn't lobby members of the board to release Dumond, but HuffPo contributor Murray Waas has brought up an extremely damaging news article from the Arkansas Times that he wrote with regard to the paroling:

Huckabee has denied a role in Dumond’s release, which has become an issue in his race for re-election against Democrat Jimmie Lou Fisher. Fisher says Huckabee’s advocacy of Dumond’s freedom, plus other acts of executive clemency, exhibit poor judgment. In response, Huckabee has shifted responsibility for Dumond’s release to others, claiming former Gov. Jim Guy Tucker made Dumond eligible for parole and saying the Post Prison Transfer Board made the decision on its own to free Dumond.

But the Times’ new reporting shows the extent to which Huckabee and a key aide were involved in the process to win Dumond’s release. It was a process marked by deviation from accepted parole practice and direct personal lobbying by the governor, in an apparently illegal and unrecorded closed-door meeting with the parole board (the informal name by which the Post Prison Transfer Board is known).

After Huckabee told the board, in executive session, that he believed Dumond got a “raw deal,” according to a board member who was there, and supported his release, board chairman Leroy Brownlee personally paved the way for Dumond’s release, according to board records and former members. During that time — from December 1996 to January 1997 — Brownlee regularly consulted with Butch Reeves, the governor’s prison liaison, on the status of his efforts, two state officials have told the Times.

The governor, his office and spokesman Rex Nelson were repeatedly contacted for a response to this article, but none was forthcoming. Brownlee also did not respond to phone calls, but the Post Prison Transfer Board responded in writing.

The Times has also learned that:

• Ermer Pondexter, a former member of the Post Prison Transfer Board, says she was persuaded by the parole board chairman Brownlee to vote for Dumond’s release and because she knew the governor supported it.

The board did not allow its recording secretary to attend a closed session with the governor regarding Dumond, nor was the session taped, a departure from custom.

• Board chair Brownlee [2005 note: Brownless has since been reappointed to the Board by Huckabee] personally interviewed Dumond in prison and set in motion the reconsideration of the board’s August 1996 vote to refuse Dumond parole. Normally, inmates must wait a year after a decision for a new hearing. Thanks to Brownlee’s efforts, Dumond was granted a new parole hearing Jan. 16, 1997, just six weeks after his request for reconsideration. This time, the board voted to parole. Brownlee later was reappointed to the board by Huckabee.

• Dumond was transferred to the Tucker unit in December 1996, after his request for rehearing. Had he stayed at Varner, he could not have been scheduled for a new hearing before Jan. 20, 1997, Huckabee’s deadline to act on his announcement that he was considering commuting Dumond’s sentence. His transfer — which the Department of Corrections has explained in conflicting ways — allowed him to get on the Tucker hearing schedule, which let the board parole Dumond before Huckabee’s deadline — and thus take the heat for his release.

It looks like the stories are true about Huckabee and the fact that he, himself, wanted Dumond paroled. He didn't want to personally pardon him, for fear he might take heat on the decision. But what's more disturbing about this is the secretive way which the process proceeded, and the fact that those involved in the decision were rewarded for their "compliance" with Huckabee's wishes. So we can add this to the laundry list of reasons why Huckabee would be a bad nominee, in addition to being a disingenuous candidate:

Soft on crime. Bad policy, gives away a perennial winning issue for the GOP. It's not such a big issue now that the eighties crimewave has ended, but it's still an issue -- and Huckabee is a liberal on law and order.

Tax-and-spender. One of the biggest clubs in the GOP's bag -- not this cycle. Hillary and Huckabee are sympatico on the notion that we need to take more of people's money to do public good.

Soft on the War on Terror. Wants to shut down Gitmo, wants to outlaw waterboarding, speaks softly and carries no stick on Iran (he has been conspicuously soft in his rhetoric in debates, counseling the need for dialogue and warning against bombing). Has not been a leader, rhetorical or otherwise, for the War in Iraq, unlike John McCain or Rudy Giuliani. The primary reason for voting GOP for many of us, and Huckabee sounds more like Barack Obama on the issue than George Bush.

Soft on Immigration. The only truly winning issue for the GOP this cycle and Huckabee is right there with the Amnestias. Remember how we all pined for the day we had a President not named "Bush" who would take our side in this fight so that we didn't have to rely on filibusters and procedural blocking tactics every time the issue came up? Well, like Bush, Huckabee is a True Believer in the need to be accommodating to Undocumented Americans. So forget the issue, and forget the cause -- it's lost under President Huckabee.

If I were Governor Huckabee, I'd bow out. We don't care about the Paul-esque campaign he's running in Iowa. After tomorrow, he probably won't even matter when Mitt knocks his speech on faith out of the park. Huckabee is, as we have recently opined, a compassionate conservative. the problem is we've had enough of that over the last seven years that we're choking on what's left of the final year ahead. President Bush is a good man, and is a strong president. He's shown us what leadership means when it comes to defending this nation, and protecting its citizens.

But we criticize the stances on issues he's taken -- like shamnesty, like his inability to veto one damn piece of legislation until last year -- and it's deserved. He hasn't done a really great job on the domestic front. Good tax cuts (which he should make a priority that they be made permanent before he leaves office), and strong defense is what he'll be remembered for.

What will Mike Huckabee be remembered for? the fact that he was an also-ran who never had a shot because his record as governor, his statements as a candidate, are appalling. Oh, and for those who still aren't convinced that we're right in our assessment of Governor Huckabee, we'd like to remind you that a group closely allied with our ideological foes is endorsing him:

The 16,000-member New Hampshire affiliate of the National Education Association has chosen to recommend to its members Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary and Mike Huckabee in the Republican primary, according to a source within the state NEA.

This is the first time the state affiliate has picked a candidate in the GOP primary, and it follows Huckabee’s showing as the only Republican who spoke to the NEA convention in July.

The state chapter's membership is more than 25% Republican, said the source, and the committee didn't want those members to be ignored. When Huckabee spoke at the convention and participated in an interview with the state affiliate, deciding members felt it would be right to point that out to members. Only education and related positions were considered, and the board appreciated Huckabee's "strong views on public education," especially supporting the arts and music.

When the NEA endorses a candidate, we walk the other way. Tax-hike Mike can enjoy this, but it isn't going to help him. As a matter of fact, this could very well hurt him, much like the Dumond story is doing right now.

Publius II

UPDATE: Post now bumped to the top of the page .... Huck's been firing back most of the day today on this issue. It's not flying well, especially after he has come out and called the parole board members who have gone on the record with his lobbying a bunch of liars. Make your own decisions, but follow that link because Allah has done something no one else has.

He's provided a timeline of events leading up to the Dumond parole. Huck's making the assertion that these parole board members waited to do this in 2002 (when the controversy first reared it's ugly mug), but Allah notes that the same thing cuts back on him -- giving into his demand so they could keep their jobs. Possibly. This is slowly devolving into a "he said, she said" discussion. At this point, I can only say that I bwelieve the parole board people a lot more because the facts seem to be on their side, and as yet, Huck hasn't offered one shred of evidence to the contrary.

Publius II

UPDATE II: This story isn't going away, and now Michael Waas has a new piece where he spoke with a former Huckabee aide. The aide basically says that Huck's full of it. He attended the closed meeting, and the idea he got was that Huck was fully in favor of the parole:

Directly contradicting Mike Huckabee's claims, his former senior aide tells the Huffington Post that, as governor of Arkansas, Huckabee indeed told the state's parole board that he supported the release of a convicted rapist.

The senior aide, Olan W. "Butch" Reeves, personally attended a controversial parole board meeting with Huckabee in Oct. 1996.

"The clear impression that I came away with from the meeting was that he favored Dumond's release," Reeves said, referring to convicted rapist Wayne Dumond. "And I can understand why board members would believe that to be the case."

This stands in stark contrast to Huckabee's assertion, repeated at a press conference today that he "did not ask [the board] to do anything." When asked directly about trying to influence the board, Huckabee responded: "No. I did not. Let me categorically say that I did not."

But, according to Reeves, Huckabee actually told the parole board members that the prison sentence meted out to Dumond for his rape conviction was "outlandish" and "way out of bounds for his crime." Huckabee believed there "was something nefarious" about the how the state's criminal justice system had treated Dumond, Reeves said.

Reeves's admission comes as a surprise since the interview was encouraged by Huckabee's presidential campaign. Reeves served as chief counsel to then-Gov. Huckabee until 2003, and was subsequently appointed by Huckabee as chairman of the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission. Reeves has donated to Huckabee's presidential campaign.

Ouch. this one's going to sting, and it'll leave it's mark. Try spinning this one away, Huck. Or is Mr. Reeves lying as well AFTER he was asked to speak on your behalf by your campaign?

Publius II

UPDATE III: I'm with Allah on this one. I don't really want to pile on. However, when you got the guy down and bleeding, let's finish this job off, shall we? It seems that when he was governor, Huckabee really liked handing our clemencies -- more than the six neighboring states combined. Via Dan Riehl:

Here are the figures for neighboring states since 1996, when Huckabee took office (and keep in mind the population of these states is nearly 20 times ours):
Louisiana – 213.
Mississippi – 24.
Missouri – 79.
Oklahoma – 178.
Tennessee – 32.
Texas – 98 (in-cludes 36 inmates released because they were convicted on drug charges with planted evidence).

Total: 624 vs. Huckabee's 703.

These are 2004 numbers, and the Nashua Telegraph actually nails the numbers closer to 669 clemencies granted. Allah's got Huck's spin up, and I'm still nauseous because there's no reason a GOP candidate would want to grant that many bloody clemencies! We're supposed to be the law and order party, not the Democrats.

Mike, talk the 'Sphere's advice, and please get out of the race before you're bled to the point where you won't even been appetizing to a famished vampire.

Publius II


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