Leader Blues

Friday, December 04, 2009

FROM THE PUBLISHER >> Huckabee our worst governor?

By GARRICK FELDMAN
Leader editor-in-chief

Who is Arkansas’ worst governor?

Is it Orval Faubus, who defied federal authorities in 1957, when he wouldn’t allow nine black students to attend Central High School in Little Rock? He brought shame and ridicule on the whole state, but at least no one was killed.

Or is Mike Huckabee our worst governor ever? He freed both Wayne Dumond and Maurice Clemmons from prison. Between them, they killed six people. That should put any governor into a hall of shame.

Can you think of an Arkansas governor with a worse record? Can you think of a U.S. governor with a record like that?

Imagine having your name bracketed between Clemmons and Dumond for the rest of your life. Can Huckabee ever put the victims’ suffering out of his mind? Or their families’ suffering?

He’s an accomplice in the murders, and yet he won’t accept full blame for these atrocities.

He is still blaming others, including his own appointees to the Post Prison Transfer Board and the Board of Pardons and Paroles.

All they did was carry out his wishes for these criminals.

He keeps saying no one objected to Clemmons’ release. But many did: The parole administrator signed a form objecting to his release. Prosecutors objected the few times they were notified about his impending release.

Back then, the victims of his crimes didn’t even get a chance to object, but Huckabee didn’t care.

Huckabee freed these killers who committed the most terrible crimes. But he acts as if he were an innocent observer instead of an active agent in a bloody tragedy.

He will not say it: These six people wouldn’t be dead if he’d kept Clemmons and Dumond behind bars.

He won’t say it because he’d have a nervous breakdown if he confessed publicly. But in the middle of the night, or when he’s exercising on his treadmill, or when he’s eating his grapefruit, or when he’s making a speech on how he could make America a better country, it must hit him like a jolt to the electric chair from an executioner.

He had brazenly promised Dumond he’d get him out of prison. The governor wrote him a “Dear Wayne” letter and kept his word: Huckabee went before the parole board to help Dumond. Although Huckabee denied it for years, board members have confirmed that he did push for Dumond’s release.

As a condition for his parole, Dumond was eventually exiled to Missouri, where he killed two women, although he was tried and convicted for one murder.

People in Missouri are still wondering why they accepted Dumond. Folks in Washington state are asking themselves the same question: Who let Clemmons in, or his getaway driver, a thug named Darcus Allen?

He also drove the getaway car after a Little Rock liquor store robbery where two people were killed. Allen served less than 10 years, about the standard term, give or take a year, for violent criminals like Clemmons and Dumond.

You’d think Huckabee would have retired from office after Dumond let him down. But a year later he commuted Clemmons’ sentence to time served. The sociopath then continued his crime wave in Washington state, where he killed the four police officers in a coffee shop just outside McChord Air Force Base.

Why did Huckabee act this foolishly and risk his future political career? It was part naivete, part arrogance — he thought he could get away with it, and he did, for a long time.

Huckabee went nuts over his pardons and commutations, while most governors around the country knew it would jeopardize their careers if the public found out they were freeing rapists and killers.

He had hoped Arkansans wouldn’t catch on.

A Huckabee-friendly Arkansas Democrat-Gazette downplayed his pardons. The national media fawned over him. It took journalists like Max Brantley of the Arkansas Times, Ernie Dumas, Gene Lyons and a couple of others — we’d do an occasional expose ourselves — to unmask this fraud.

Dumas says there were some pretty bad crooks and mossbacks as governors in the 19th Century and a couple of cretins in the 20th, such as Tom Terral and the right-wing J. Marion Futrell, but they didn’t leave a trail of blood.

Huckabee’s pardons have raised the death count to six, which is why he’s our choice for Arkansas’ worst governor ever.

There’s really no competition: Isn’t it time he retired from public life and devoted his life to prayer and reflection?