Will Washington shooting damage Huckabee bid?

posted at 12:15 pm on November 30, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

How could it not?  It’s the second time that a man granted clemency by Mike Huckabee over the objections of prosecutors has committed a violent act that would have been prevented otherwise.   Maurice Clemmons had his lengthy prison sentence commuted by Huckabee in 2000, despite a lifetime pattern of violent crime and erratic behavior, nine years before Clemmons shot four Seattle police officers to death in a coffee shop:

Maurice Clemmons, the 37-year-old Tacoma man being sought for questioning in the killing this morning of four Lakewood police officers, has a long criminal record punctuated by violence, erratic behavior and concerns about his mental health.

Nine years ago, then-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee granted clemency to Clemmons, commuting his lengthy prison sentence over the protests of prosecutors.

“This is the day I’ve been dreading for a long time,” Larry Jegley, prosecuting attorney for Arkansas’ Pulaski County said tonight when informed that Clemmons was being sought for questioning in connection with the killings.

Clemmons’ criminal history includes at least five felony convictions in Arkansas and at least eight felony charges in Washington. The record also stands out for the number of times he has been released from custody despite questions about the danger he posed.

Huckabee, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination last year, issued a statement tonight calling the slaying of the police officers “a horrible and tragic event.”

If Clemmons is found responsible, “it will be the result of a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington State,” Huckabee said.

As Michelle reminds us, it’s not the first time Huckabee had reason to regret his generosity:

New sources, including an advisor to Gov. Mike Huckabee, have told the Arkansas Times that Huckabee and a senior member of his staff exerted behind-the-scenes influence to bring about the parole of rapist Wayne Dumond, who Missouri authorities say raped and killed a woman there shortly after his parole.

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).

Six weeks after his release, Dumond raped and killed Carol Sue Shields, and was suspected of killing Sara Andrasek.  This came up in the 2008 Republican primaries, and Huckabee argued that clemency was a difficult matter to judge.  He also laid off considerable blame on prosecutors and his predecessor at the time, and claimed that he had little to do with the Dumond parole.  He doesn’t have the luxury of that argument with Clemmons.  Huckabee signed the commutation, and he did so over the objections of the prosecutors.

Unfortunately for Huckabee, he has two big political problems now.  First, clemency decisions go directly to judgment, as Michael Dukakis learned the hard way in 1988 with the Willie Horton work-furlough controversy.  In that case, Dukakis didn’t make the decision specifically to let Horton out of prison, but backed the program that did.  In this case, Huckabee personally freed Clemmons, and did so with full knowledge of the risks.  That is a very legitimate reason to question Huckabee’s judgment, and his attempt to back away from that decision in his statement doesn’t speak well to his sense of responsibility, either, although Clemmons’ subsequent release from armed-robbery convictions after his clemency spreads that responsibility around.

Second, before Huckabee can get into a general election, he has to win a nomination — and he has to convince conservatives to back him.  That will be very difficult if Huckabee is seen as weak on crime.  A general election electorate might be more sympathetic to a generous use of executive clemency, but Huckabee won’t find that in a Republican primary, where law and order is one of the central tenets of the GOP.

As soon as Huckabee enters the Republican primaries, expect his opponents to make Maurice Clemmons Exhibit A for an argument against Huckabee’s judgment.  And expect it to be effective.

Update: Joe Carter, who worked for Huckabee’s presidential campaign, has an excellent essay on why Huckabee’s personal strength of charitable action is the reason he will never be President:

Reflections on a politician by former campaign staffers should always be taken cum grano salis. This is no exception. While I’m still a fan of the governor I don’t believe he—nor anyone else from the 2008 primary season (from Palin to Romney to Giuliani to Paul)—has any chance of ever becoming President. Because of this, I don’t feel the need to either defend or condemn him. While the tragic chain of events that were set in place by his signing commutations are not entirely—or even primarily—the fault of the governor, he must bear a sufficient measure of responsibility. …

For instance, the politically prudent tactic would have been to simply refuse to grant any leniency—ever. Other governors with their sights set on higher offices had learned that doing nothing—even to correct obvious instances of injustice—was unlikely to cause any long-term political damage. Keeping an innocent man in prison is less harmful to an ambitious politician than freeing someone who may commit other crimes.

Huckabee would certain discover this political reality the hard way. Initially, I chalked it up solely to extraordinary political courage. Later, I tempered this view when I realized that this courage was mixed with a large dose of cluelessness. The governor seemed genuinely surprised that he was held responsible for the criminal acts committed by those whose sentences he had commuted as governor. It was as if he believed that simply having noble intentions and a willingness to make tough decisions would provide political cover. The notion that he should be accountable for future crimes committed by these men seemed as foreign to him as the idea that he should refuse all leniency.

His naivete about how his actions would be judged was compounded by his own belief in the nobleness of his motives. Huckabee was—and likely remains—a true believer in the concept of restorative justice. Like many politicians who latch onto ideas that support their worldview, however, he was enthusiastic about the general theory while failing to grasp the nuances of its application.

I think Joe nails this.  In my opinion, Huckabee would never have signed off on the commutations if he really believed that he was releasing dangerous men.  The problem is that his judgment on that was flawed, and Huckabee didn’t take the counsel of wiser men on some of these cases.  That goes directly to executive judgment.

Update: Andrew Barr has more about reaction from conservative bloggers, myself included, at Politico.

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Umm…Fred would NOT have been in the White House. Neither would Rudy Guiliani. Neither would McCain.

It would have been Mitt Romney.

Conservative Samizdat on November 30, 2009 at 9:31

Exactly right.

Whatever his faults, Mitt had the best chance against Obama and would almost certainly have been the best President for the times, but Huckabee exploited anti-Morman prejudice among fundamentalists in the Republican primaries to throw the nomination to McCain, who was as certain a loser as Dole. I will never understand it. Did the risk of Obama (or Hillary) winning really seem worth throwing a hissy fit over what denomination the Republican candidate practiced? If so, how’s that working out for you?

cool breeze on November 30, 2009 at 10:19 PM

Dr B on November 30, 2009 at 10:02 PM

Wrong. I’ve defended him and I have nothing invested in him at all. Some people just don’t like people playing politics with people’s death. The reaction here, for the most part, has not been about the deaths. It’s been about slamming Huckabee.

Narutoboy on November 30, 2009 at 10:39 PM

What it all comes down to is how will he govern?

Apparently he will govern by giving out more clemency than any other President. Clemency to repeat violent offenders. Most Americans and an overwhelming majority of conservatives wont be for that sort of thing.

The consequences of such actions are now overwhelmingly apparent. The shame of it is who paid the price.

Opportunity Costs on November 30, 2009 at 10:43 PM


profitsbeard on November 30, 2009 at 11:06 PM


(Somehow the word vanished from


profitsbeard on November 30, 2009 at 11:12 PM

Gee, I guess it’s a good thing we didn’t just hand him the nomination three years in advance like all the recent polls have supposedly been arguing we should, isn’t it?

Cylor on November 30, 2009 at 11:16 PM

“Blackbird, I said wait for the evidence, which began rolling out in earnest this week. …we should wait to see what else comes out. There is a difference.”

apacalyps on November 30, 2009 at 11:26 PM

We shouldn’t be afraid to report the facts, but we should be wary about drawing wide-reaching conclusions from them until we have a lot more certainty.”

apacalyps on November 30, 2009 at 11:28 PM

What a joke. Ban me. Get it over with. Give me my Badge of honour!

apacalyps on November 30, 2009 at 11:30 PM

Mitt Romney pointed out the fact that Huckabee pardoned murderers.

This was not considered “Iowa nice” and Mitt lost.

Iowans, I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure you people stop getting the responsibility of going first.

You can’t handle it.

scotash on November 30, 2009 at 11:48 PM

Hmmmm some more Huckabee chickens coming home to roost. Some of us, who originally liked Huckabee, discovered his true self. And his light-mindedness when it comes to criminals… was a big part of his loss of favor.

But others it seems will happily follow him to h**l.

petunia on November 30, 2009 at 11:55 PM

Lets see the scum sucking maggot was supposed to get 60 years and Huckabee sprung him in 2000 with less than 5 years under his belt..

No I don’t think that will hurt his chances in 2010 I think it will kill his chances in 2010 and it should.

If that murdered was still locked up this wouldn’t have happened..

MikePappas on December 1, 2009 at 12:14 AM

I also wondered what took you so long.

Anyone can make a mistake, but when you pardon 1,000+ felons, there is something to be said about your ability to discern. Everyone wants to forgive and give someone a 2nd chance, BUT!
Romney pardoned zippo, saying, (as I said above)the judge and the jury heard the case and he followed their direction.

Bambi on December 1, 2009 at 12:16 AM

Hotair has gone straight into the dumpster. I know dozens of actual CONSERVATIVES who would like to post here but instead, a pathological liar like Narutoboy is allowed to have multi IDs and post one lie after another and make false accusations, but then again, so does Allahpundit.
At least we have Ed for some modicum of truth.

nelsonknows on December 1, 2009 at 12:31 AM

Conservatives always get themselves into trouble when they try to be “compassionate”.

Really Right on December 1, 2009 at 12:32 AM

I guess no one saw my prior post about the 3 murders in Taney County MO committed by criminals that Huckleberry has pardoned or commuted their sentences. This isn’t the first group of murders Huckabee is at least partly responsible for, they probably won’t be the last.

nelsonknows on December 1, 2009 at 12:35 AM

First of all,Alluh,was sentenced for 104 years for robbery at the age of 16. If you saw O’Reilly tonight Mike Huckabee said that he has no record of prosecutors being against his commutation. Clemmons served 11 years for this robbery before he was let out of prison. I don’t think anybody could say that any boy of 16 deserved 104 years for robbery!!! I don’t think Mike Huckabee used bad judgment in this decision. He could not have foreseen what this boy would do in the future and shouldn’t be held accountable for Clemmons actions. Huckabee accepted responsibility for commuting his sentence tonight on O’Reilly. He was asked by the parole board and someone else to commute is sentence. (see O’Reilly’s coverage) He did not have any paperwork that indicated that the prosectors protested. Remember this was many years ago.

How convenient for all of you to blame Huckabee for this. Did you think that the sentence was justified (104 years)? No, surely not even people at HA can say that. It’s funny that not all the info was given isn’t it? Just typical of Michelle Malkin and all of you.

On Wayne Dumond…Huckabee stated many times how terrible he felt that Dumond committed the crimes he did right after he got out of jail. Mike Huckabee looked at and made decisions over 1,200 requests a day for parole or commutations of sentences. He served almost 11 years as Governor. That is much longer than anybody else has served who ran for political office, which, of course, gives him lots of time to make poor decisions.

How come you Rombots give Romney the excuse that he wasn’t responsible for the outcome of the Romneycare in Mass because the Dems “changed” the program? He was the Governor who signed it into law. Where is the same responsibility for Romney? He was responsible for many abortions ($50/abortion) that killed many babies because of the small charge for abortions in this healthcare bill in Mass.

Many judges, bail bondsman “changed” the reality that Clemmons was even out of jail to commit these crimes. Why isn’t anybody blaming the judges on even giving him the opportunity to make bail “after” he had committed rape and other very serious offenses? It doesn’t fit with your “job” in putting down Huckabee does it?

Yet, all of you “defend” Palin for quitting her job as Gov. after 2 years as “the right thing to do”. That’s BS and you know it. Mike Huckabee had just as much flak in Arkansas as Palin did with “ethic” violations that were bogus. Somebody on here said, “Yes, but Huckabee was convicted of 5 ethic violations.” Do you know what for? They were really small and petty. I can’t remember right now what exactly they were for, but they were ridiculous. Do you think it’s only Palin who gets a raw deal?

We all knew that the people on Hot Air would have a field day with this “Huckabee commutation”, especially from Alluhpundit. It’s too bad that it’s the Republicans that are being the most severe against Huckabee. Couldn’t be because he is Palins biggest threat to get the same voters as she would get, would it?

VFT on December 1, 2009 at 12:51 AM

Sorry, it was 1,200 per year that Mike Huckabee had to decide on for pardons or commutations. When you add up for his 10 years, that would be 12,000. He did give over 1,000 pardons or commutations, but now you can see how many he had to decide on each year as to why he pardoned such a large number of people while he was Governor.

VFT on December 1, 2009 at 12:59 AM

profitsbeard on November 30, 2009 at 11:12 PM

Hey, sometimes you have to understand that in politics, what goes
up, usually comes down. As a result, Huckabee is not a serious
condender for the presidency any more. He’s toast, I’m really not
kidding on that one.

Years later, when we all look back, we will wonder, just what
on earth were people thinking when they thought Huckabee measured
up to the title, “conservative”.

RINO in Name Only on December 1, 2009 at 1:00 AM

nelsonknows on December 1, 2009 at 12:31 AM

If you hate the site so much then maybe you, and almost certainly everyone else, will be happier if you just leave.

RINO in Name Only on December 1, 2009 at 1:11 AM

Will Washington shooting damage Huckabee bid?

Wait…he was serious about that?

James on December 1, 2009 at 1:18 AM


Let’s give amnesty to illegals and cut the criminals loose from our jails. After all, it’s the compassionate thing to do.

What could go wrong?

Oh! People could die…

I don’t care how many cases he had to look at, that was part of his job. The fact that he screwed up to such an amazing degree shows that he really doesn’t have a clue.
I am really glad that he no longer has the ability to unleash killers upon our society.

Let us count: How many people have died because the Huckster cut loose felons from his prisons?

Is it 5 or so?

shorebird on December 1, 2009 at 1:43 AM

Sorry, it was 1,200 per year that Mike Huckabee had to decide on for pardons or commutations. When you add up for his 10 years, that would be 12,000. He did give over 1,000 pardons or commutations, but now you can see how many he had to decide on each year as to why he pardoned such a large number of people while he was Governor.

VFT on December 1, 2009 at 12:59 AM

Huckabee supporters are coming up with the most lamest excuses for what the Huckster has done.

There’s no justification for pardoning that many criminals. Who knows which one out of the 1,000 will kill next?

People who were close to Huckabee said that he rarely gave his justification for why people deserved pardons or clemency or commutations.

There were no justifiable reason why Dumond or Clemmons deserved commutations. The State DA strongly objected on both men and yet they went out to kill after being released.

Politically speaking, Huckabee was STUPID to have commuted over 1,000 criminals. That’s too many commutations.

By letting that criminals go free, there was an extremely high probability that a criminal would commit a heinous crime upon his release and that it would be traced by to the Arkansas Governor.

Based on that alone, Huckabee isn’t bright enough to be President. He demonstrated poor judgment twice by allowing Dummond and Clemmons to go free. Those deaths could have been avoided had they stayed in prison.

State Governors who have presidential aspirations are typically smart enough to let justice do their work and support the judicial process rather than let criminals go free and kill people which would railroad their presidential aspirations.

Mitt Romney pardoned ZERO criminals. Huckabee gave over 1,000 commutations.

There’s a reason why Huckabee’s political career is over and why Romney is still in the political game.

Conservative Samizdat on December 1, 2009 at 1:44 AM

Let’s try a little perspective here. During Huckabee’s tenure as Governor of Arkansas, that state released more felons due to gubernatorial clemency than the SIX states bordering it COMBINED. This was no accident, it was the active policy of the Huckabee Administration, which appointed those giving the recommendations and many or most of the Parole Board members over time.
And yet, in his lamentation over the crime, Huckabee never at any point acknowledges any personal culpability for the results.
G’bye, Huckster, we hardly knew ye. But we knew enough of ye.

Adjoran on December 1, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee, and Mississippi . . . combined, did not issue the number of executive pardons and commutations of sentence as did Arkansas while Huckabee was Governor.
This was no failure of the criminal justice system. It was a failure of Mike Huckabee, which the coward won’t admit to.

Adjoran on December 1, 2009 at 5:04 AM

The AP is reporting that Seattle cops have blown Clemmons’ cop-killing ass away.

Cylor on December 1, 2009 at 7:05 AM

From reading the above posts, Huckabee is a Baptist minister and compassionate. Not what I want in a President. Sarah Palin is not an economic candidate. She does have a rep as a reformer, and D.C. needs to be purged from top down. Only question is can she handle it. Romney, I’ve always liked. He’s a money man. Imagine the election held today with Romney vs. the Empty Suit Communist. With the economy in the shape it’s in, it’d be a landslide for Mitt. Republicans need to think about winning the next election in 2012. I think Palin has a following similar to Obama’s,built on a lot of emotion. She had him beat with Executive experience, but I don’t think she has what it takes to be a national figure and she has a lot of negatives(unfair as they may be). Mitt is the guy to take down the Empty Suit. Only negatives will be religion, which this time won’t work and the healthcare thing in Mass. He had to do something to get anything done in one of the bluest of all states to make it there as a Republican Governor. He is best suited to say he tried the mistake that is socialist medicine and lo and behold, it didn’t work. That’s why things are tried at the local level first…Think about it, don’t feel about it. Okay, now the Palinbots can flame away at me. Feel free…..

adamsmith on December 1, 2009 at 7:15 AM

According to a live report currently airing on Fox, Clemmons, who had apparently been shot and wounded by one of the four cops he allegedly shot last night, was fatally shot by Seattle police approximately 90 minutes ago.

Cylor on December 1, 2009 at 7:18 AM

Sarah Palin is not an economic candidate.

How so? From what I’ve seen of her economic ideas, they seem to involve making government live within its means and a Reaganesque strategy of lowering government burdens to spur economic growth. Not that I’ve paid much attention to Romney since the ’08 primaries, but what does he offer economically that would improve on that?

Tresjin on December 1, 2009 at 7:24 AM

If Pass The Buck-A-Bee is foolish enough to actually enter a Republican primary environment, especially in Iowa, Palin will simply point out that she raised the bar for releasing convicted felons in Alaska.

Unlike some people she knows.

victor82 on December 1, 2009 at 8:17 AM

Okay, now the Palinbots can flame away at me. Feel free…..

adamsmith on December 1, 2009 at 7:15 AM

Not so much, just some corrections…first Romney is a “money man” in the private sector. His health care program is a disaster, he pulled Mass our of the big dig, but he gave away millions to his campaign buddies, even let one of the major contractors off the hook, after the engineering killed a woman. He took care of his long term cronies. It is much different being a private successful businessman, and a gov. economist. In recent 100 year history, what president was a successful businessman? The successful candidates (kind of)were, Forbes or Perot…
Remember, when challenged, Romney said he is not a Reagan Republican, he ran from the conservative label, he will never overcome that.
Palin shows she can balance a gov. budget, keep costs under control, work with major business, integrate gov. with private enterprise…she just has more successful experience then any other candidate melding private enterprise with gov. economics.

right2bright on December 1, 2009 at 8:25 AM

How could it not? It’s the second time that a man granted clemency by Mike Huckabee over the objections of prosecutors has committed a violent act that would have been prevented otherwise.

Wrong! No objections from prosecutors… Only the judges involved had influence and/or say so in Huck’s decision…and they advised him to commute the scumbag’s sentence.

Dakotobol on December 1, 2009 at 8:32 AM

Given that most conservatives, true conservatives, are tough on crime, then yes, this has killed Huckabee’s chances.

Gingrich is out because he keeps cozying up to libs like San Fran Nan, Al Sharpton and Dede Scozzafava.

Romney is out because of the RomneyCare disaster in Massachusetts.

The field is getting weeded out. Hmmmmm. Pawlenty? Boring. Jindal? Boring. Thompson? Boring. Who’s left?


Special K on December 1, 2009 at 8:37 AM

This is the second clemency granting by Huckabee that went bad. These two unforgivable mistakes and Huckabee’s support for free college educations for illegal aliens has put him out of the running.

Huckabee’s decision making abilities are lacking.

sinsing on December 1, 2009 at 8:39 AM

Imagine the election held today with Romney vs. the Empty Suit Communist. With the economy in the shape it’s in, it’d be a landslide for Mitt.


We don’t need another Wall Street hedge fund billionaire in Washington stealing our money for his corporate pals. Here’s a man who bankrupted Chrysler, and now pretends to care about Autoworkers. Hypocrite. Just another rich Republican in a fancy suit.

On social policy I sure wish Mr. Romney would make up his mind. He was for abortion before he was against it. He was for socialized medicine before he was against it. On foreign policy he talks like a Hawk, a chicken hawk. Mitt, how many of your 5 sons were moved by 9/11 to defend our country? None? They did find time for their two year Mormon missions right? So you’re family feels more allegiance to the Mormon Church than to the American people?

Shoot any squirrels lately?

In 2008 he could have won. In 2012 he’d be a disaster. He’s no leader. His refusal to stand up when his party is flopping around like a fish on the deck is proof positive that he’s just another scheming pol.

The real issue is Trust. We’ve been robbed of our money and liberty by both parties. I can count the politicians I would trust with my vote on one hand. Sarah’s one. Giuliani’s another. I don’t agree with them on everything but I trust them to put the USA first. I don’t trust Romney.

rcl on December 1, 2009 at 8:43 AM

adam smith on December 1, 2009 at 7:15 AM


What does that mean? That Sarah Palin could not do a better job than the economic disaster called Obama and Geithner, that she does not have solutions to the nation’s ill’s or that she does not have experience developing or administering budgets and allocating resources. First do you honestly think that Sarah Palin would not be a vast improvement over Obama, regardless of Romney? Objectively, you have to say yes. Palin’s solutions are founded on Reagan conservatism which ushered an unprecendented era of economic growth and third as governor Sarah Palin oversaw budgets, vetoed wasteful spending and brought in surpluses. What about that makes Sarah Palin NOT AN ECONOMIC CANDIDATE?


Let me use an analogy. It is said you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. Well, in politics you have to lead the horse to the trough first, before he can ever be exposed to the water and finally decide to drink it. Sarah can get folks to the trough better than any other GOP politician including Romney. And much of the reason IMHO she can do that is that her conservative is supercharged with tremendous emotion, passion and charisma that only she can bring to the table.


Did you see the huge crowds during the campaign or have you seen where Sarah is visiting in the Going Rogue Tour? She travelled throughout the lower 48; Are you trying to claim that Sarah is a local or regional candidate? I don’t see how you can. And about the negatives you must have missed the most recent polls which shows Sarah advancing at a rapid pace with independent voters, especially independent conservatives.


According to the PPP pollsters Romney’s F/UF are way down with conservatives and Republicans and they speculate it is due to Romneycare and a perception that Mitt is not conservative enough. But I am not going to bury my head in the sand and say Mitt’s religion will not be a factor in his appeal to evangelicals/conservatives. It will, but I wish it wasn’t.


Many who support Sarah Palin call ourselves Palinistas not Palinbots because the latter suggest we are robots or automatons that if Sarah Palin told us to jump off the nearest bridge or drink the ‘koolaid’ we would. That is not an accurate representation of Palin supporters at all. We are rational conservatives or libertarians who for the most part understand how politics is played in terms of attracting votes or fundamentally agree with Palin’s Reagan conservative positions. We do not see Sarah Palin as a clueless unsophisticated moron as the media has tried to make her out to be in caricatures of her; we see Sarah as competent, intelligent, astute, savvy and replete with poliitcal acumen who is a political superstar and capable of besting Obama in 2012.

technopeasant on December 1, 2009 at 9:08 AM

It’s laughable the way most of you ignore the facts of the case and impugn Huck as having blood on his hands. Ludicrous. You all hated Huckabee last week, so you’ll believe any kind of bizarre fantasy to fit the template to reinforce your hatred of him, and your hope that he will not run for POTUS again. Trust me, the general public will not be thinking about this in 2011 and 2012 in the heat of the primaries. It might be mentioned, but no one will dwell on it. If they do, it will be to their detriment, because Huckabee is so likable. Mike Huckabee will walk away from this trial stronger, and more suited to become our next President.

ceruleanblue on December 1, 2009 at 9:09 AM

Huckabee soft on crime? Please. He signed the execution order of 16 murderers during his tenure, more than any other Arkansas governor, ever. He denied over 80% of clemency requests. Because of Arkansas’ laws, the executive had to be heavily involved in the process…that’s why he had so many. He was in office for nearly 11 years! Just as a matter of percentages, a few of them were bound to go wrong. Huckabee made the right decision in the Clemmens case. Put yourself in his shoes before passing judgment.

ceruleanblue on December 1, 2009 at 9:18 AM

ceruleanblue on December 1, 2009 at 9:09 AM

If you are right, Huck’s ‘rehabilitation’ among conservatives will rival the ‘rehabilitation’ of Kobe Bryant or the successful comeback of Richard Nixon.

If it were 30 years ago without the Internet and 24/7 cable news I might agree with you but in the 21st century I don’t think he can pull it off because as much as most people hate to admit it-it was not 4 ordinary citizens that were killed–it was 4 cops that allegedly Clemmons shot and killed and that puts it into a another category indeed.

technopeasant on December 1, 2009 at 9:24 AM

Huckabee is the proverbial good ole boy who plays the evangelical vote like the democrats play the black vote. When he combined efforts with McCain in Florida, the conservatives should have seen him as he is. This might be a good way of making Huckabee go away so he cannot sabotage the party again for his own personal interests. The mainstream media will crucify him and in turn the teabaggers at a time when the grassroots movement is so desperately needed to reclaim our country’s future. Huckabee can do far more damage to the Republican Party than any democrat.

volsense on December 1, 2009 at 9:25 AM

If Romney is a money man, why is Romneycare ruining the state? No sarc, seriously?

Simona on December 1, 2009 at 10:04 AM

yes as well it should, the jacka$$

skatz51 on December 1, 2009 at 10:12 AM

Huck is toast for 2012. He already said “it is less than likely I’ll run in 2012” to Politico, then this story breaks, and it is over. This may even damage his TV ratings and book sales.

Memo to Allahpundit:

Can we stop with the Huckabee exit question at the end of every Palin post now please? Thanks.

Brian1972 on December 1, 2009 at 10:30 AM

Look on the bright side, Gov. Huckabee: Now you can eat whatever you want.

Jim Treacher on December 1, 2009 at 10:35 AM

Commutations of such as Clemmons whose record was apparently very bad accompanied by psychiatric problems are, at best, very short sighted. Then I read here that his pleas for commutation were heavily religious and that this may have swayed Huckabee’s decision. After reading and assessing all this, it’s plain to me that Huck, while a decent man, is not Presidential timber. Making the right call is not an exact science I know, but this decision showed bad judgment and an ability to be swayed by other than facts.

jeanie on December 1, 2009 at 10:39 AM

“He denied over 80% of clemency requests.”

Wow, I’d have almost a 1 in 5 chance of getting clemency under Huckabee… buy me a ticket!!

I would think it is very clear that Huck struggles with pride if he (mistakenly) thinks he can decide better than a judge and jury that often.

dtestard on December 1, 2009 at 10:40 AM

Huck is done. Looks like Palin is up at bat to take the front runner status. lol.

Decider on December 1, 2009 at 10:43 AM

A clear example of Huckabee governing not as an executive, but as a minister.

A good thing that he and his philosophy of governance won’t get a shot at the White House; a tragic thing that it had to happen this way.

JEM on December 1, 2009 at 10:45 AM

Don’t any of you listen? Clemmons was sentenced with 104 years for robbery at the age of 16 with no priors. Don’t you think this is a unjust sentence? Some of you said Huckabee should have let him stay in jail. Do you think that would be fair to somebody who was 16 with this unfair sentence? Would you have chosen to leave him in jail? There was no way Mike Huckabee could have foreseen what he would do in the future. He was not swayed by religion in this case, and whoever said that is trying to put paint Huckabee with bad information so all of you can be fooled. The parole board and somebody else asked Mike Huckabee to commute this boy’s sentence because he had already served 11 years for the crimes he had committed. This was a black boy, so maybe the judges were racist against him. It is terrible and a tragedy that the policemen died, and I do not want to minimize what he did to them. BUT, Mike Huckabee could not see into the future. He saw that this boy had been sentenced way to long for the crimes he committed, and because he was asked to commute his sentence, he looked into the crimes and determined that he had already paid his debt to society for the crimes. Remember, AT THAT TIME, this boy, Clemmons, had only committed robbery…not murder, not rape.

I saw a comment from somebody in Arkansas during the 2008 primary who said the judges in Arkansas would give much longer sentences to Black people than to White people for the same crime. Mike Huckabee is not “soft on crime”, but I do believe he saw misjustice to the Blacks in Arkansas with the sentences they received. He studied every case and took his job seriously. He cared about all of the people in Arkansas. Sixteen people were given the death sentence when he was Governor.

Unlike Mitt Romney who was so afraid of the “Dukasis” claim being on him, he wouldn’t pardon anybody. Who did he care more about, the people in Mass or his own Presidential ambitions. There was a young boy in Mass. who was convicted of using a BB gun when he was a teenager. When he was old enough, he joined the Army and went to Iraq where he received awards for his service to our country. When he returned to Mass., he wanted to become a police officer, but couldn’t because of his conviction as a teenager for using a BB gun. He asked Mitt Romney for a pardon, but good ole Romney only thought about himself and denied him a pardon. Do you think that is better? Yes, it sure was safer for Romney, but very selfish of him too.

VFT on December 1, 2009 at 1:14 PM

For all of you Huckabee haters, this will give you more information into what actually happened. Michelle Malkin owes Mike Huckabee an apology for lying about the circumstances in this case. See below:

Prosecutors lodged no objection to Huckabee’s sentence reduction for Clemmons
December 1st, 2009

Both mainstream and new media have falsely stated that prosecutors objected to Huckabee’s sentence reduction although I just got off the phone with Pulaski County (the county involved) prosecutor Larry Jegley who said of whether Huckabee had received an objection from him, “I am sure he didn’t receive an objection”.
He said that he would have objected but that his office does not have record of receiving a notice that Huckabee was looking for comment regarding clemency for Maurice Clemmons.
I asked him if it was common to not receive notices and he said it was, “not common”.
I asked him if he gets notified after the fact that a clemency takes place and he said that he does get notified.
I asked him why he did not object to the clemency documentation (which you can view here) showing that he had no objection and he said it would not have mattered to Huckabee whether he objected or not.
I asked him if thought there was a problem with the Arkansas notification system because he claims that he did not receive notification of the proposed clemency. He said that he did not believe there was a problem with the system and that he usually received notification.

Here are some of the false media reports:
LATimes as of 9:12AM PST 12/1/2009:
Under the sympathetic questioning of commentator Bill O’Reilly, Huckabee said he granted Clemmons’ clemency request — one of 1,200 that crossed his desk annually — because of Clemmons’ young age at the time of his conviction and the severity of his sentence. He said prosecutors never contacted him, though they did lodge a protest with the state parole board.
FACT: The protest by prosecutors was in regards to giving Clemmon parole. This objection came AFTER Huckabee’s actions.
Michelle Malkin as of 9:12AM PST 12/1/2009:
The man being sought by police was granted clemency by former GOP Arkansas Mike Huckabee despite his violent history and vehement protestations from prosecutors and victims’ family members.
FACT: Prosecutors did not lodge objection to Huckabee’s actions as I have proven above. As for protests of “victims’ family members”, I see no record of that in official documents. Malkin needs to source her statement here for it to have credibility. Considering that the other part of the sentence is blatantly false, what credibility does that give her?

VFT on December 1, 2009 at 2:44 PM


Give me documentation that the prosecutor or the families involved in this commutation by Mike Huckabee vehemently objected to his commutation. Look at my post above, and you will find that the prosecutor did not object at the time; therefore, what you and Michelle reported are lies and both of you need to apologize to Mike Huckabee for them. The least you could do is try and get the facts straight before you try and ruin somebody’s political career.

VFT on December 1, 2009 at 4:05 PM

Ed Morrissey, you and your boss Michelle Malkin owe your readers and Mike Huckabee an apology. The story that you and Michelle have painted is opposite to the facts.

apacalyps on December 1, 2009 at 4:18 PM

I was always wondering where all of Huckabee’s supporters were.

technopeasant on December 1, 2009 at 4:40 PM

It’s the second time that a man granted clemency by Mike Huckabee over the objections of prosecutors

Where is the record of this Ed and Michelle? Where is the source showing the objections of prosecutors to Huckabee’s actions?

apacalyps on December 1, 2009 at 5:31 PM

Maurice Clemmons had his lengthy prison sentence commuted by Huckabee in 2000, despite a lifetime pattern of violent crime and erratic behavior,

A lifetime pattern of violent crime and erratic behavior?? How do you figure that, Ed? Maurice Clemmons was a 16 year old youth when his prison sentence was commuted by Mike Huckabee. He committed a series of robberies just over a one year span.

apacalyps on December 1, 2009 at 5:52 PM

First, clemency decisions go directly to judgment,

Mike Huckabee’s judgment is NOT in question, Ed. Your judgment is in question! Michelle’s judgment is in question! Allahpundit’s judgment is in question! Mike Huckabee’s judgment is totally fine! He didn’t do anything wrong. And anybody who reads the facts concerning this case can see that this is true. What you did was hide the details of what really happened because you want people to believe that Mike Huckabee showed negligent judgment in commuting the sentence of Clemmons. How come you didn’t tell your readers that Clemmons was a 16 years old youth when he committed his non-violent crimes (robberies, stealing a purse, theft of property)? Why not?

apacalyps on December 1, 2009 at 6:16 PM

In this case, Huckabee personally freed Clemmons

Again that’s false, Ed. The Parole Board freed Clemmons, NOT Huckabee. Clemmons was sentenced to 108 years for some robberies he commited when he was 16 years old. It was the Arkansas Parole Board that recommended Huckabee commute his sentence, which didn’t release him, it only reduced his sentence to 47 years. That made him eligible for parole. And the Judge agreed with the recommendation of the parole board.

apacalyps on December 1, 2009 at 6:23 PM

In this case, Huckabee personally freed Clemmons… and his attempt to back away from that decision in his statement doesn’t speak well to his sense of responsibility,

Where is your update, Ed?

Mike Huckabee’s statement: I Take Full Responsibility

You’re effort to discredit Mike Huckabee was done in a hasty and foolhardy manner. And it’s gonna come back to haunt you. It’s you and your lack of apology to Mike Huckabee and your readers that doesn’t speak well to your sense of responsibility.

apacalyps on December 1, 2009 at 6:38 PM

I won’t support Huckabee becuase I think Huckabee’s number one priority is Huckabee and not this country. With that said, Michigan Gov Jennifer Granholm just released over 1100 inmates in Michigan becuase we have more criminals in our state than the national average. Well not too many states have Detroit and Flint to contend with either. I’m certain that several of these inmates will go on to murder others. What will the liberals say about their liberal Governor when that time comes? Nothing. Crickets.
Huckabee should be held to account for this. Our judicial system is a wothless joke that only requires the sympathy of one judge or governor to allow a murderer to be a murderer. Huckabee played his role and as far as I know never used the powers of his office to try and correct the process. The real victim in all this is getting overlooked. A 12 year old girl that was raped. These cops knew that dying in the line of fire was a possibility. The loss of their lives is a tragedy. But an SOB that would rape a 12 year old and the judges that would let him walk with a $15k bail…that’s the real story.

MichiganMatt on December 1, 2009 at 8:09 PM


apacalyps on December 1, 2009 at 9:55 PM


Clemmons was not a murderer when his sentence was commuted by Gov. Huckabee. He was a minority who was 16 yrs old that was sentenced 108 yrs for robbery of a empty house, stealing a woman’s purse, and taking an unregistered firearm to school. He also had no prior record! How many murderers do you know who got this kind of sentence? I doubt you could give anybody! A judge and parole board requested Clemmons’ sentence be commuted because it was very excessive to begin with. Gov. Huckabee sent out requests for input to this commutation to five officials in Arkansas which was standard procedure asking for their input on this case. Nobody registered a disagreement with this commutation. The prosecutor who has blasted Mike Huckabee said he did not receive a request which he says he always does get. Gov. Huckabee commuted his sentence to 47 yrs. He had already served 11 years. The parole board decided to parole him. Clemmons within a matter of months violated that parole and was arrested for that. This same prosecutor did not file the paperwork to keep him in prison, so he went free. Sure looks like he was trying to push the blame on Gov. Huckabee for his own negligence. So, for Michelle Malkin to say that the Gov. Huckabee gave a commutation over the strong protests of the prosecutor and family members is a LIE. The prosecutor was interviewd today and admitted he had never gave a protest to Mike Huckabee. It sure was convenient for Michelle and Ed to JUMP on this story without asking Mike Huckabee what happened or checking out the facts. This should ruin Michelle’s statements, not Mike Huckabee’s!

VFT on December 2, 2009 at 2:36 AM

How was Mike Huckabee supposed to correct the racism that the judges used in determining sentences for the minorities much more excessive than for the white kids who had a lawyer?

He did try to correct it by applying leadership and decision making in the most difficult cases. He received 1,200 of these case every year. 92% of them he did not parole.

He did not parole anybody or commute their sentences because he was a Christian (other than to try and correct the injustice that was given to the Black community in Arkansas). Those stories about him using his Christian faith as the reason to parole is false and was only used because he is a Christian and it seemed a plausible answer by some. Of course, it doesn’t matter if it’s not true, just any old reason to blast this “sleezy car salesmen…Huckabee”. Right!

Now you people on Hot Air and Michelle Malkin, Limbaugh and Levin are no better than the MSM that blasted Sarah Palin with such ferocity. Only this comes from YOU PEOPLE, and you should be ashamed just like the MSM should be ashamed they did that to Sarah Palin!!! What’s your excuse? There is no justification that any of you can give that holds any water. If you think the MSM is so bad, how about all of you? Even when I give you answers to what happened, you choose not to believe it because you want to stick with your preconceived lies about Mike Huckabee!!

VFT on December 2, 2009 at 2:46 AM


How can you say that Mike Huckabee’s number one priority is himself and not this country. You must be mistaking him for Mitt Romney. If Mike Huckabee’s number one priority was himself, do you think it makes any sense for him to parole 1,000 people as Gov? No, he did it for the people in Arkansas, not for his political ambitions, unlike Mitt Romney. His actions prove you are wrong, so stop with the lie about how he only cared about himself. Wouldn’t it have been much easier on himself and his political career to just not give any paroles? Of course, it would but he cared about the people in Arkansas….all the people in Arkansas.

VFT on December 2, 2009 at 2:50 AM


My reason for stating that Mike Huckabee’s number one priority is himself is because when he had no chance of winning the primaries, he stayed in and essentially gave McCain the Presidential nod. He did this for no other reason than to promote himself and knowingly created a worse situation for conservatives.
In regards to your question, If Mike Huckabee’s number one priority was himself, do you think it makes any sense for him to parole 1,000 people as Gov? I think you are making a huge leap in logic to assume that a pardon some how means that person is not self serving. Keep in mind that I said the real story is not being told. That is the true victim being a 12 year old girl and two judges that let this animal off on a mere $15k bail. I think you are blindly defending Huckabee and not thinking through others responses.

MichiganMatt on December 2, 2009 at 9:48 AM