<\body> Stories in America: Meet the Republican winner Mike Huckabee

Friday, January 04, 2008

Meet the Republican winner Mike Huckabee

Here's more on last night's winner. I'm sure the liberal media will give you the information you really need on Huckabee. How many times have you heard, "He's such a nice guy?" This was written by Max Brantley, editor of the Arkansas Times:
Huckabee insists he's not one of those harsh, punitive, "angry" conservatives, but again, there are witnesses who might say otherwise if anyone's interested.

Ask the retarded Fort Smith teenager, raped by her stepfather, who sought Medicaid funding for an abortion as federal law required. Huckabee stood in the hospital door, at least figuratively, to prevent state funding. Ask the gay people belittled by his cracks about "Adam and Steve." Ask the scientists who've seen evolution virtually disappear from the textbooks and classrooms of Arkansas with his administration's acquiescence.

Social issues alone should give moderates pause. He championed a law in Arkansas making it harder to get a divorce, the so-called covenant marriage law that has been widely ignored except when he and his wife recommitted in a Valentine's Day publicity stunt held in a 17,000-seat arena.

Huckabee's administration worked hard and unapologetically to prevent gay people from being foster parents. He avidly supported the state amendment that bans gay marriage as well as civil unions and bans any equal treatment under the law -- such as in health insurance coverage -- for same-sex partners. He professed opposition to alcohol and gambling, but he allowed passage of legislation that made it easier for restaurants to obtain private-club mixed-drink permits in dry counties. Over the angry objection of the church lobby, he sped final action on a bill to allow video poker at the state's racetracks, an act followed not long afterward by a $10,000 campaign contribution from the owner of the state's biggest race track, at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs.

All this is sometimes done with humor, but rarely the sort of gentle humor the national media has encountered. Huckabee prefers sarcastic putdowns and hyperbole. Because Arkansas Democrats tried to enfranchise more citizens with weekend voting in Arkansas, he called his home state a banana republic on the Don Imus show. He's compared weight loss with a concentration camp. Abortion, even in the earliest microscopic stages, he's called a holocaust. He referred in a Farm Bureau speech to "fruits and nuts" and "wacko environmentalists" in decrying environmentalists as a threat to agriculture. (Yes, this is the same man that gullible mainstream columnists praise for his ringing environmental proclamations.)

But the national press has more to examine than rhetoric when it comes to Huckabee. He is not the man of principle that credulous commentators describe. Though Huckabee doesn't support embryonic stem cell research, he took a hefty honorarium and bulk book sales this year from a diabetes drug maker, Novo Nordisk, which performs embryonic stem cell research. He has lied when there's been no other way around admitting embarrassing missteps, such as his advocacy of freedom for a convicted rapist.

There are also legitimate questions about his skills as a manager. He left Arkansas with a bill of more than $40 million for overcharges of the federal government's Medicaid program. A State Police director left after a tiff over Huckabee's demand that the agency improve his private lake property in the name of security. Troubles dogged both the state's computer services agency and its workforce agency. Youth services have been an unending series of tragedies. The buck never stopped at Huck's desk, you can be sure.

The governor's office records -- triumph and tragedy, sage advice and venom-filled screeds about members of the press and Legislature -- would tell this tale. But, as I've mentioned, the computer hard drive destruction ensured that would never happen.

If I could resurrect one batch of files, it would be those reflecting the advice of his staff that he not pursue his desire to free convicted rapist Wayne DuMond. By "advice," I mean I think some of them all but pleaded with Huckabee not to do it.

Though DuMond's prior record included a conviction for assault and his alleged involvement in a slaying and one other rape, by the start of Huckabee's governorship DuMond had become a national figure thanks to Republican efforts to depict him as a victim of the Bill Clinton machine. The rape victim was a distant relative of Clinton's.

Huckabee, perhaps persuaded by DuMond's supposed conversion to Christianity, announced his intention to commute DuMond's sentence without talking to the victim. Outraged, she stepped forward to protest publicly. The backlash was swift and powerful. Huckabee backed away from commuting DuMond's sentence, but in a private meeting lobbied the state Parole Board to release him. Huckabee said, in writing, that he supported DuMond's release. DuMond moved to Missouri in 2000, where he molested and killed one woman and was suspected of doing the same to another, but died in prison before he could be charged in the second case.

To this day, Huckabee tries to minimize his responsibility for DuMond's release. Huckabee's 2007 book "From Hope to Higher Ground" also fudges the facts, implying that DuMond died before being convicted of either Missouri murder. In one recent interview, he even suggested that he had fought DuMond's parole, a statement his own writings prove to be a lie.

1 Comments:

At 1/05/2008 12:38 PM, Anonymous former vet said...

Amazing. Huckabee has been interviewed all over the place and none of this comes up.

 

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