Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

DuMond issue lives
Gene Lyons

Posted on Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Once in every century a serious presidential candidate emerges from
darkest Arkansas: Bill Clinton in the 20th, former Gov. Mike Huckabee in
the 21st. Although Huckabee seems a likelier vice-presidential pick if
Republicans nominate a Yankee, he’s getting favorable national press.
Noting that four leading GOP candidates have had nine marriages between
them—Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich have three each—Time columnist Joe
Klein writes that “Republican faithful are left with a devil of a
choice: moderate candidates who live like liberals, or religious
conservatives who talk like liberals.” That’s cute, but Gingrich a
moderate? Besides, the states with the highest divorce rates are the
“red” ones, especially Arkansas. Those with the lowest, like New York
and Massachusetts, lean Democratic.

About Huckabee, though, Klein’s got a point. Huckabee mouths the
religious right’s standard themes. He’s anti-abortion, pro-gun, against
gay marriage, all that. But he once gave a speech about the sin of
racial bigotry at a Little Rock Central High event that put Clinton, who
also spoke, in the shade. In Arkansas, where coded appeals to white
racists normally backfire, it’s good politics. That’s Huckabee at his

Becoming governor after Kenneth Starr convicted Democrat Jim Guy Tucker,
Huckabee executed a classic Clintonian straddle. A Baptist preacher
invulnerable from the right, he took progressive stances on education
reform and Medicaid insurance for poor children—made possible by former
President Clinton’s policies. Contrary to Huckabee’s claims, however,
taxes and government employment rose steadily during his decade in
office, along with the state’s population.

Even so, what’s more likely to prevent him from succeeding in national
politics is Huckabee’s role in the appalling saga of Wayne DuMond.

DuMond was the Arkansas celebrity inmate of the 1990s. Convicted of
raping a Forrest City high school cheerleader at knife point in 1985, he
became famous for two reasons.

First, somebody castrated him while he was free on bond awaiting trial.
(Local investigators said they suspected drunken self-mutilation, not
unknown among sex offenders.) Worse, the local sheriff exhibited
DuMond’s testicles in a jar of formaldehyde, an Arkansas-gothic stunt
triggering rumors of vigilante justice.

Second, DuMond’s victim, who’d recognized her attacker on the street
weeks after the crime, was a distant cousin of Clinton. That excited the
kinds of conspiracy nuts who circulated Clinton “death lists.” They
portrayed DuMond as a victim of the Clinton machine’s satanic wrath. His
innocence became an article of faith on the fruitcake right.

Huckabee came into office talking about pardoning DuMond, citing
“serious questions as to the legitimacy of his guilt.” He did that
without consulting the prosecutor, who described the case as one of the
strongest he’d ever tried. If nothing else, what were the odds that the
victim would have identified, purely by chance, a perp with an extensive
rap sheet? DuMond’s criminal history included arrests for murder and
assault as well as other allegations of rape. He’d beaten the murder rap
by testifying against two accomplices he’d helped beat a soldier to
death with a claw hammer. The rape cases never came to trial. Young
Ashley Stevens’ courageous eyewitness testimony, however, sent him to
the penitentiary. After Stevens went public in 1997, Huckabee relented
somewhat. Instead of pardoning DuMond, he held an improper closed-door
meeting with the state’s parole board, which subsequently reversed
itself, paroling DuMond to Missouri. Huckabee claimed the board brought
up DuMond; some board members insisted that he did. Huckabee wrote a
“Dear Wayne” letter, stating, “My desire is that you be released from
prison. I feel that parole is the best way for your reintroduction into
society to take place.” In June 2001, DuMond was charged with the murder
of a Kansas City area woman, exactly as some of us predicted. Police
found his DNA under the victim’s fingernails. Stevens said that when she
heard the news on her car radio, she had to pull off the highway until
she’d cried herself out. Convicted of first-degree murder, Du-Mond died
in prison in 2005. No sooner was his Missouri arrest announced than
Huckabee began blaming everybody in Arkansas except himself. “I think
you guys are being played like a cheap fiddle by the Democrats,” he
complained to reporters. “They’re trying to make a Willie Horton out of
it. And if anybody needs to get a Willie Horton out of it, it’s Jim Guy
Tucker and the Democrat Party, and it ain’t me.” His recent book, “From
Hope to Higher Ground,” claims that DuMond died in Missouri before
coming to trial. He even blames Clinton, who played no role whatsoever
in the affair, whining that the Arkansas “tabloid press” has
mischaracterized his actions. That’s Huckabee at his worst: rash,
devious, incapable of admitting error, a crybaby and definitely not, I
submit, presidential material.


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