I believe this is your knife, Gov. Palin?

Let me start by saying that the chances I would ever vote for Mike Huckabee are somewhere between nil and zilch. I could never, ever endorse his social conservatism, among other issues, and I disagree with him far more than I agree. However, that being said, he has always struck me as one of the more decent conservative politicians, and I've gotten the sense that he's been willing to take a higher road than many others from his party. So, while I'm not exactly a fan, I have a certain respect for the man.

On that note, I think the [excrement weather pattern] that has descended upon him following the Clemmons cop killings is lamentable. For those of you who missed it, back in 2000 then-Governor Huckabee commuted Clemmons sentence for a series of robberies/burglaries he had committed as a teenager. He was eventually paroled. However, over the past few years he began to demonstrate signs of emerging mental illness, which culminated in his killing several police officers in Washington state at the end of November. (He was killed by police shortly thereafter.)

Huckabee has laid out in clear and convincing language why he made to decision he made. Hindsight offers plenty of opportunity for strident criticism from the law-and-order Right. However, given what Huckabee knew at the time, I think he is right to say that he would have made the same decision if he had it all to do over again.

You know who I don't think has any basic decency? Sarah Palin. She was all too happy to make clear why I think she represents the absolute worst in American politics today. From 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.”


“It’s absolutely tragic and just unfathomable what has happened there, and I do feel bad for Huckabee,” Palin said. “But it was a horrible decision that he made.”
No, it really wasn't. It was the best decision he could have made at the time, and a dispassionate and disinterested observer could easily come to that conclusion. Not Sarah Palin, though. She knows what the base wants, and she's all too happy to deliver.
As governor of Alaska, she said she had never been in the position of having to grant a prisoner clemency, adding that “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’s side,” she said. “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.”

What a lovely way of formulating it, "on the good guys' side." (Nice copy editing, Politico!) Way to imply that Gov. Huckabee is not on the good guys' side with you.

Ugh. Now I feel like I need to go take a bath.


  1. Thanks, Dan, for sharing this -- I'd missed Huckabee's letter.

    Also: We're going to be introducing annoying word-verification to the comment posting. A little Turing Test in an effort to prevent spam. Thanks for your patience.

  2. I once read a comment of a liberal Jewish Democrat who said that Huckabee is one Republican he could support because he abides by Constitutional principles. Like you, I could never vote for him, but I'm glad you shared these insights.


  3. Huckabee's letter is not convincing to me. It is simply attempting to spread the blame around. Look at the passive voice ("... at which point the final decision is rendered."). There is plenty of blame to go around in any case.

    What we do know that Mr. Huckabee didn't mention is that he granted more than twice as many pardons and sentence reductions as the *three* previous AR governors. The Arkansas-Leader reported in '04 that Gov. Huckabee had granted more pardons and commutations during his term than the combined total of all six States surrounding AR. That sounds like a problem to me apart from any Parole Board or judicial misjudgement. And we know that other acts of clemency have come in for criticism. Clemmons isn't the first, and we can only hope he is the last. This does speak to Mr. Huckabee's judgement and use of power, and not in a good way.

    I don't like or trust Mr. Huckabee at all. He is a slick, smooth pol. I do grant that he sounds nice when he speaks; he has a folksy way of explaining issues. But I no more trust him than I trust the other slick, smooth pol; Barry O. At least Mr. Huckabee has executive experience, and I wouldn't expect him to be the disaster that Pres. Scary-smart has been to date. But I still don't like him.

  4. "The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
    It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
    Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
    It blesseth him that gives and him that takes."
    - some guy

  5. “I’m on the good guys’s side,” she said. “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.”

    How she even got out of high school is beyond me.

    gadfly, Huckabee was also Gov. for far longer than most people so it stands to reason he would have more, and that he has proportionally more than the standard string em up knuckledraggers in other states is nothing to be ashamed of. He was also a minister and his taking that aspect of his personality, understanding the sin and the sinner, is nothing to be ashamed of either. I wouldn't vote for Huckabee either, but I genuinely like the guy, and I liked him well before this brouhaha. I can say the same thing about many Conservative Republicans who I would never vote for but like just the same, such as Orrin Hatch, etc.

    Sarah Palin, otoh, is just out and out scum.