Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mike, you look toasted

Huckabee3 No, wait...you are toast!

It didn't take long for the news to come out that the cop shooter in Washington was pardoned from what was essentially a life sentence by the Arkansas Governor at the time, Mike Huckabee. (No disrespect towards the victims are meant in my caption. No, every bit of any disrespect is intended for Huckabee.)

I think it's safe to say that this pretty much dooms any chances he had for running for President in 2012, especially since he's faced this issue before with his pardon of a rapist who went on to rape and murder another woman. In doing some further reading, I'm disturbed by his penchant for commuting sentences.

According to an article on Politics Daily, Huckabee often let politics and connections influence his decisions. What is more disturbing to me is this:

Other prisoners, such as Clemmons, claimed to be on the straight and narrow after religious rebirths. Huckabee was "a bit of a sucker sometimes for the noble notion of personal redemption" because of his own background as a preacher, John Brummett, a columnist for the Arkansas News, wrote me in an e-mail. "He was perceived as soft or oddly sympathetic to prisoners. For a couple of years, the big political story in Arkansas was that Democrats and prosecutors professed themselves aghast at the rate at which he commuted the sentences of violent offenders."

Why did Huckabee grant the commutations? Joe Carter [former research director of his presidential campaign] says it was courage mixed with political naivete ("The governor seemed genuinely surprised that he was held responsible for the criminal acts committed by those whose sentences he had commuted as governor") and too much trust in conversion stories ("The opinion of clergy appears to have carried a great deal of weight in the decision-making process"). Carter concludes that Huckabee is an appealing candidate because of his empathy and belief in the individual, and for those same reasons he will never get to the White House.

This goes back to what I wrote the other day about keeping religion out of political decision-making. Huckabee's thinking process was obviously clouded by his own religious beliefs. As a preacher, he wants to believe that redemption can occur through Christ. But why would you take the word of clergy, let alone that of the convicted criminal himself, over that of prosecutors and professionals who maintained that some of these people were continued menaces to society? I definitely believe that people can turn their lives around. But to believe the veracity of every jailhouse conversion that comes down the pike is the height of naiveté, and there is case to be made that it is atrociously negligent.

When we saw Huckabee speak a while back, I was perplexed by his little tale of "Hucktown." I wrote this at the time:

He went into this weird shtick about a fictional place he called "Hucktown," where there was only one law: Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you. Because of this law, Hucktown had no economic woes, no need for a large police force, no drug problem, no crime, blah blah blah...basically, all of our problems are due to the loss of our "sense of decency" and our lack of "ethical behavior."

WTF? I wrote down on my little pad of paper "Simplistic." To me, that is a fundamental problem with the recent Republican agenda...they want to return to a time that never existed. He painted a pretty picture, but you know what, Mike? There will always be liars, cheaters, and thieves. There will always be those who are motivated by nothing more than sheer greed. It's laudable to hope for better, and to believe the best of mankind, and you all know that for the most part, I try to be that way. I'm also a realist, and I know that there is no changing human nature, and that's why there must be regulatory agencies in place. Wow, he totally sounded like a Pollyanna on that one. "Everyone is wonderful, trust that they'll do unto you the way they would want you to do unto them!" Riiight, Mike. I bet they'd do unto me, all right.

It would seem that that is the way he lives his life, and hey, more power to you, Mike. However, this attitude, colored by your beliefs, led you to pardon some very mentally unstable and dangerous people, and now more people are dead. If you want to live your life that way, have at it; however, it is dangerous to let such a simplistic world view influence what should be a rational, logical decision based upon documented evidence from professionals. "Yeah, I killed a buncha people but I love Jeebus now" just isn't good enough.

Palin witchcraft Susan Atkins also became a born-again Christian while in prison. Remember her? She was the Manson family member who repeatedly stabbed Sharon Tate--and her eight-month old fetus-- while Tate pleaded for mercy. Henry Lee Lucas, the notorious serial killer and profligate liar, also had a jailhouse conversion. They both rightfully died in prison. There are countless others. Even that skank Paris Hilton took to reading the Bible in her cell during her incarceration and declared herself a changed person. Odd that we haven't heard more about that since she's been out.

My whole point is that it is exactly this reason that religion has no place in politics. Huckabee's own belief system, based on his religion, caused him to make horrible decisions. With a snowball's chance in hell of winning the GOP nomination in 2012, I would guess that most of his supporters will throw their support behind Sarah Palin, who quizzed Billy Graham about what the Bible had to say about Israel, Iraq, and Iran. Yeah, way to trade up there, people. Go from a guy who lets violent criminals out because they say they’ve found God to someone who apparently thinks she has a direct line to God and wants to blow the holy hell out of people based on what the Bible has to say about it.

Palin and others of her ilk are the first to squawk about how they're losing their freedom of religion. Bullshit. They're taking away our right to freedom from religion, whether personally or within our government. Such demagoguery is incredibly dangerous, and I hope there are enough of us who realize that.


  1. As much as I agree and am dismayed by Huckabee and the mixing of religion and government - the ball was dropped a whole lot of times with this fellow and here in Washington most recently. There is a lot of blame to go around with this one.

  2. Religion is one of the things that helps us develop our values and morals, but when it comes to government, that is where it must stop. If only a moderate Republican would emerge versus the right wingnuts.

  3. Well done, Beth. Commuting sentences should only be allowed in cases where there is bonafied proof that a mistake was made that convicted an innocent person.

    Religion should have nothing to do with it. If one is "reborn" during incarceration, maybe that will help them deal with serving the prescribed sentence. It should not warrant their release.

  4. I agree about commuting sentences being allowed when there was a mistake, not because of religious conversion in prison. Yes, there's a lot of blame to go around for this guy.

    Good post. You made some excellent points, Beth! (as usual)

  5. Being "born again" does not mean that we don't have to pay for our crimes. For me, it's repentence. If you have "sinned" against another, you must make that right before you can expect to be forgiven. Just having a "religious redemption" doesn't strike out the need for making something right. (in this case, serving your sentence for the crime).

  6. I like Estela's comment above.

  7. Religion and politics make strange bedfellows, they say (in more ways than one can possibly count here).

    I struggle with my religious beliefs all the time. I believe in God, just not the kooks that follow him (or her).

    I believe in a supreme being, but not the Bible which purports to be the word of God--but I'll believe that when I see a fire burn words into stone, but not every word in a 2,000 year old book written by more old-time religious kooks whose education-based existence is barely a step above the stones, spears and knives of cavemen.

    I believe in God, but not the religous churches who make fools of themselves all the time by inflicting their "wisdom" on others.

    The fact that former Gov. Huckabee tripped on his Baptismal stoal only shows how pious, naive and foolish these guys can be sometime.

    All a criminah has to do is quote a few scriptures and they're miraculously cured and these idiots believe it?

    Give me a break!

  8. Huckabee is the poster boy for NOT mixing religion and politics.

  9. I agree with you completely. I don't think that we are supposed to simply let our faith be our complete measure of judgement. Believe in God but lock you doors, is a sentiment that works for me.

    Faith in your faith is no excuse for taking in available information and making a poor choice. Gov. Huckabee, Gov. Palin both have a problem with that.

  10. I saw this the other day..and totally agree with you, the guy dropped the ball big time with commuting sentences.

  11. Nicely said. Governments should be lead by highly reasoned people, not people with a hope and a prayer.

  12. You nailed it - politics and religion should not be mixed. Ever.


  13. I like this piece Beth.

    Conservative wingnuts definitely want to return to a time that never existed, with only themselves present in that time. They've made that abundantly clear.

    Government and religion are like oil and water, you should never try to mix them, or you have mess you just have the throw out.


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