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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Mike Huckabee has a problem- Wayne Dumond

Don't know who Dumond is? Let Byron York at The National Review Online fill you in.

It began in September 1984, when Dumond, a 35-year-old handyman, kidnapped and raped a 17-year-old high-school cheerleader in the small eastern-Arkansas town of Forrest City. Dumond was allowed to remain free on bond while awaiting trial, and in March 1985 two masked men entered his house, tied him up with fishing line, and castrated him. People were stunned; the case, already notorious, became much more so. And that was before the local sheriff, a rather colorful man named Coolidge Conlee, displayed Dumond's severed testicles in a jar of formaldehyde on his desk in the St. Francis County building. Amid tons of publicity, Dumond was found guilty and sentenced to life plus 20 years.

The case took on a political coloring when it became known that the victim was a distant cousin of Bill Clinton. After conviction, Dumond, who claimed he was innocent, asked Clinton for clemency. Clinton declined.

Dumond also argued that even if he were guilty his sentence was excessive, and his position won him some sympathy, not least on the grounds that he had suffered terribly at the hands of those unknown assailants. In April 1992, when Dumond had served just seven years, Lt. Gov. Tucker, acting as governor while Clinton was out of state campaigning for president, commuted Dumond's sentence to a level where he would be eligible for parole. That didn't mean Dumond would go free, only that the state parole board would consider the question. The board declined to free Dumond.

That's where things stood when Huckabee took office on July 15, 1996. Last August, Huckabee told me he had his doubts about Dumond's guilt, and also felt sorry for him over the castration attack. On September 20, just weeks after taking office, Huckabee announced that he intended to set Dumond free, saying that there were "serious questions as to the legitimacy of his guilt." On October 31, Huckabee met with the parole board. Not long after, the board voted to free Dumond, but on the condition he move to another state. Huckabee was pleased, in part because -- given that the board had voted to free Dumond -- there was no need for Huckabee to commute the sentence or pardon him. So Huckabee denied Dumond's now-irrelevant pardon application while at the same time congratulating him on his soon-to-come freedom. "Dear Wayne," Huckabee wrote in a letter to Dumond. "My desire is that you be released from prison. I feel that parole is the best way for your reintroduction to society to take place."

But no state would take Dumond. He remained behind bars for two and a half more years, until the board voted to free him in Arkansas. He was released in October 1999 and returned home. The next year, Dumond left the state, moving to a small town near Kansas City, Mo. Within weeks of arriving, he sexually assaulted and murdered a 39-year-old woman at an apartment complex near his home. The day that happened, everyone knew that freeing Wayne Dumond had been a very, very bad idea.
Let's clear all the politics out of this. Helping to get a convicted rapist who was sentenced to life in prison a pardon, and that rapist then going out and raping and mudering someone, is one hell of a mistake/error in judgement or whatever you want to call it. Huckabee deserves to take any hits on the Dummond case that comes his way. Read it, it was Huckabee's desire that this sicko get released from prison!

Byron York went on to say-

I asked about the "Dear Wayne" letter. Didn't Huckabee want Dumond to go free? "I thought he would, you know, be clean," Huckabee told me. "And he had a job, he had sponsors lined up, so at the time, I did not have this apprehension that something horrible like that would happen. I did want him to report in [to parole authorities], because I just didn't know -- you never know about a guy like that."
Huckabee could have have admitted his mistake, but apparently doesn't see it as worthy of that.

I'll also cite Huckabee's interview on CBS evening news last night. When Huckabee was asked what his biggest mistake, he answered.

KATIE COURIC: What is the biggest mistake you've ever made? How did you recognize it? And what did you do to change course?

GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: I've made so many, there's a catalogue. And when (NOISE) I ever forget them, I just, you know, look at all the things that my critics have said, and I find that they-- there's some I didn't even know.

I made a mist[ake]. I've made a lot of mistakes sometimes, particularly in maybe giving people too much benefit of the doubt, keeping people in positions that should have been let go. And sometimes you pay a big price for that. I think what I had to do is to learn that if you've got, particularly, a personnel issue, the best thing to do? Deal with it. Deal with it as quickly as possible, suffer the loss, try to clean up as much of the mess as you can and accept that you can't make it all right.

KATIE COURIC: Give me an example. This is, that's sort of vague.

GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: Yeah, it is vague 'cause I don't want to, you know, put anybody's name out here. There was a case in which I had a cabinet member that just simply did not mesh, not only with me, but with the rest of the cabinet [and] with his own agency. And we realized we had a problem, and I thought we could fix it. I thought we could get this worked out, give him some time. Well, it turned out we couldn't. I finally ended up terminating him, he ended up suing me, suing the state. It became very ugly, very unfortunate. We ended up winning the case, but it was a long, protracted, expensive and embarrassing situation that wouldn't have happened had I been a little bit more forceful at the very beginning. And I learned a lot from that.

KATIE COURIC: Any other mistake?



GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: How long you got? (LAUGHS) You got all day? You know, I think I made a lot of mistakes as a parent, not intentionally. You know, I don't think any parent makes intentional mistakes. But I was probably too lenient on my daughter and maybe too tough on my two sons. Maybe that's a dad's natural tendency. My daughter would say that I wasn't, but, you know, I may have let her get away with some things that I would never have let my son get away with, either of my two sons. Again, just in a general way, I think that I look back and realize there were times when I should have been maybe more stern with her, less stern with the boys, but the boys were older. And so, by the time she came along, I was pretty mellowed out.
Huckabee had two chances to come clean on national television, and failed. BTW I think the cabinet story is weak even as a political mistake. That's the best he can do?

Expect bloggers or supporters to start making excuses for Huckabee. Ed at Captain's Quarters already has.

Huckabee told Byron York that he hated what happened "like crazy", and it's one of the risks of clemency actions in any case. No one wants to be the person who released a prisoner, only to have them harm someone else. It calls into question Huckabee's judgment, and it certainly reflects on his views of crime and punishment -- and perhaps his credulity, as well.

However, that also applies to all of the Clinton-haters who assumed Dumond had to have been a victim of a bizarre conspiracy. The fringe minority on the Right who passed along Dumond's case in e-mails as evidence of the Clinton capacity for mayhem may be among those who now castigate Huckabee for his naivete and poor judgment. It's a better reminder of what happens when people let their hatred get ahead of their reason and reject rational thought for conspiracy thinking. Sometimes, it has real-world consequences.
Blame an adult man's life sentence for raping a teenager on Bill Clinton isn't rational thought, rather it sounds like people with a political agenda. Dumond commited the crime, he deserved whatever he got. Huckabee should have seen this. Note- I find it funny but Ed is drumming up an idea of a conspiracy by saying 'The fringe minority on the Right who passed along Dumond's case in e-mails as evidence of the Clinton capacity for mayhem may be among those who now castigate Huckabee for his naivete and poor judgment.' Wow there can be people out there who can do such a turnaround? I suppose anything is possible, though it seems terribly unlikely.

It seems a decision was made because people, deranged or otherwise, exerted influence on a elected official. The elected official listening to these people, made a decision that has since come back to bite him on the rear. Worse than that, A convicted rapist was set free to commit more rape and murder. We shouldn't be feeling sorry for Huckabee getting called out on this but for the family of Dumond's victims after he was let out of prison.

Bottom line- The Dumond episode calls Huckabee's judgment into question. He's running for President after all, and he'll have the capacity to make bad decisions with even greater consequences than that of setting a convicted rapist free.

Linked to- Adam, Bright & Early, Leaning Straight Up, Morewhat, Pirate's Cove, Populist, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Rosemary, The World According to Carl, Yankee Sailor,

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