Rev. Huckabee; or, The Pardoner’s Tale

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The quality of Gov. Mike Huckabee’s mercy was not strained. It dropped like a gentle rain from heaven, upon just about any convicted felon who claimed to have found his way to Jesus. This was well known among the incarcerated class in Arkansas and so, it seems, more than the usual number of felons included Jesus in their commutation pleas. That’s the well attested old story recapitulated by WaPo religion editor David Waters over on Under God.

Meanwhile, on the schadenfreude front, NYT on-line columnist Timothy Egan lays into Huckabee and his current employer, Roger Ailes, who gleefully hung Michael Dukakis out to dry for once having pardoned a rapist named Willie Horton. On Mr. Ailes’ news network, Huck’s exoneration by Bill ((“you’re a stand-up guy”) O’Reilly is, indeed, a wonder to behold: Huck innocent, Washington State judges, guilty. Mercy, mercy.

For all this, the Maurice Clemmons case (now brought to a bloody end) points to the fact that Mike Huckabee used to be a much more interesting public figure than he is now. Something like a bona fide compassionate conservative, he was, as governor of Arkansas, notably soft on illegal immigrants, did not scruple to needle the Club for Growth as the “Club for Greed,” and, well, acted on the belief that criminals could actually be rehabilitated. For his pains he was, briefly, lionized by the liberal media–and ran into the buzz saw of the Conservative Elite. The kicker to today’s NYT story by Kate Zernike pretty much says it all:

On Sunday, before the shooting, Mr. Huckabee sounded ambivalent on Fox
News about running for president, saying he liked his role at the
network and wanted to be sure that, unlike in 2008, he would receive
support from the Republican establishment.

Good luck with that now, Mike.