Thursday, February 24, 2011

Huckabee's Honesty

Here at SR we have a proud history of "reporting" on the most egregious abuses of Race Cards (available at your local CVS pharmacy) in politics, particularly by conservative politicians apparently so oblivious to differences in skin-color that the very idea of talking about race is seen as a cowardly concession to pigments. Yesterday, former Arkansas governor, probable GOP presidential candidate/current Fox News contributor (sames) and part-time rocker Mike Huckabee joined an elite group of said conservative politicians with his comments regarding his clemency of Maurice Clemmons. For those unfamiliar: Clemmons was convicted to 108 years in prison for unarmed, aggravated burglary committed at the age of 16. As governor, Huckabee exercised his office's constitutional authority and released Clemmons after he served 11 years of his sentence. Tragically, Clemmons went on to murder four people in Washington state. Hello Willie Horton moment.

"And most people wouldn't have served -- they wouldn't have even been sentenced to 11, much less served 11. It was clearly a disproportionate sentence, based on all the other cases like his," Huckabee said. "Quite honestly, I'd love to tell you this isn't true, but that kid was black. And if he'd been white, and upper-middle class and had a good attorney he wouldn't have served a day. He'd have had probation, he'd have gone to see a counselor, and he'd probably gone to college, and he'd probably be on Wall St. making a couple billion bucks a year."

Hold the phone, blow the whistle. Did that white Southern Republican governor just claim that a criminal received an unfairly harsh punishment simply because he was poor and black? Well ain't it something. Note the lengths to which Huck went to demonstrate his commitment to this claim; he even squeezed in a mention of conveniently unpopular Wall Street, what with their billion bucks a year would-be convicted felons and all.

"If I had the same file in front of me today that I had then, I would make the same decision, and I would like to think -- God help us when we get to the place when the only decisions we make are the ones that are in our own political self-interest," Huckabee said.

Exactly. Just like your decision to acknowledge the inherent racial inequalities in our criminal justice system (and offering a cursory shot at Wall Street), reversing course on your party's sharply honed messaging on these issues in order to staunchly defend a controversial decision, wasn't in your own political self-interest. Really, it wasn't. Winning this argument with conservative voters by playing the race card is an interesting strategy, if not ill-conceived. For the record, your clemency of Maurice Clemmons was not only justified but courageous. Your refusal to cower to those who place the death of those four Seattle slain on your hands by defending your decision is admirable. And your honesty in your appraisal of Clemmons' sentencing and circumstances is refreshing, especially coming from a conservative politician who would sooner accuse judges of being empathetic reverse-racists.

Article from Talking Points Memo.

Step into the rain:

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