Leader Blues

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

FROM THE PUBLISHER >> Candidates are plentiful for 2008 run

“Candidates Outnumber Voters in ‘08.”

That’s humorist Andy Borowitz’ gag newspaper headline about the crowded field of presidential candidates. His second headline: “One in Two Americans Running for President.” It sure seems that way, now that former Gov. Mike Huckabee announced over the weekend he’s running for president, along with a couple hundred other prospects.

Hillary Clinton made her announcement the weekend before. It seems as if there’s a new candidate every day. The election is almost two years away, so maybe we’ll see 500 candidates before it’s all over.

If you, dear reader, decide to run for president, please send us your announcement with a suitable photo. We’ll put it on the front page. But Mike Huckabee faces serious challenges as a presidential candidate, not only because he lacks money and name recognition but has trouble with facts that won’t endear him to national voters.

A killer named Wayne DuMond is a daily reminder of how terrible Huckabee was as governor. He’s even less qualified for the presidency. Since Huckabee appeared on “Meet the Press” on Sunday, much of the country knows that DuMond raped and killed a couple of women because Huckabee let him out of prison. It looks like DuMond, who died in a Missouri prison, will also kill Huckabee’s presidential aspirations from beyond the grave.

The former governor is running for the Republican presidential nomination as a conservative candidate, but wherever he goes, his critics point to Huckabee’s support for DuMond’s parole, allowing him to move to Missouri, where he went on his crime spree. Found guilty of one murder, he died in prison, relieving Missouri from the burden of feeding and holding an inmate who should never have been let out of prison in Arkansas.

Announcing his candidacy on “Meet the Press,” Huckabee hoped to make a good impression in front of a national audience, but moderator Tim Russert repeatedly asked him about DuMond’s parole. When Huckabee first became governor, he wondered if DuMond was framed by, you guessed it, Bill Clinton, whose distant cousin DuMond was convicted of raping in east Arkansas.

Huckabee blamed Clinton and Jim Guy Tucker for making DuMond eligible for parole — but if Clinton had framed DuMond, why would he support his parole? Huckabee finally conceded to Russert that yes, indeed, he had favored DuMond’s release and he feels terrible about the crimes DuMond committed afterward, as he should: Two Missouri women would be alive if Huckabee had not lobbied for DuMond’s freedom.

The public will not let Huckabee forget his role in this travesty, not to mention his other dubious achievements as governor: His petulance, his destruction of state computers, his taking of public property, his midnight pardons for pals, his secreting away public documents and his habit of offering cronies and relatives no-show jobs. Most politicians betray our trust eventually, but Huckabee is the worst: He blames the media for publicizing his shortcomings, yet it’s not reporters who have blood on their hands. It’s our former governor.